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Overview

Between the snow-capped Pyrénées that form the Spanish border and the foothills of the Massif Central, Midi-Pyrénées includes both gentle agricultural and forest landscapes and rugged plateaus cut by deep gorges and caves, and studded with strange rock outcrops. Its protected position gives it a mild climate that favors farming and viniculture, which probably accounts for the region’s sterling reputation in food circles. This is the land that brings you Roquefort cheese, foie gras, black truffles, cassoulet and Armagnac. For foodies, that’s reason enough to book a trip. Its vineyards produce the little-known, but ...

Between the snow-capped Pyrénées that form the Spanish border and the foothills of the Massif Central, Midi-Pyrénées includes both gentle agricultural and forest landscapes and rugged plateaus cut by deep gorges and caves, and studded with strange rock outcrops. Its protected position gives it a mild climate that favors farming and viniculture, which probably accounts for the region’s sterling reputation in food circles. This is the land that brings you Roquefort cheese, foie gras, black truffles, cassoulet and Armagnac. For foodies, that’s reason enough to book a trip. Its vineyards produce the little-known, but excellent Cahors wines to match the local cuisine. But the deep cultural roots of the Midi-Pyrénées go beyond food. Dating from the dawn of Europe’s human habitation are prehistoric cave paintings at Pech Merle and Grotte de Niaux. Medieval villages crown rocky cliffs, filled with outstanding examples of Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. The art traditions continued with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who was born in Albi in 1864 – the museum there exhibits more than 1,000 of his original works. Toulouse, known as the Rose City for its predominantly brick buildings, has more Renaissance mansions than any other city in France. Perhaps the most relaxing way to visit the area is by cruising the Canal du Midi on a canal barge.

Juliette Rogers
About the Expert

Juliette Rogers is coauthor of the guidebooks Eating New England: A Food Lovers Guide to Eating Locally, Secret Providence and Newport, and two Thomas Cook guides on France.

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Juliette Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Midi-Pyrenees region is located in Southwestern France, with Toulouse as its capital.
  • Language: French, Occitan
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring through fall