On weekends, I explore countryside on my bike. There are lots of the beautiful villages/ town around Toulouse. Tourist offices in these towns are the best places to get all the information you need, right from sight seeing, exploring gastronomy, lodging and even to get some free passes for monuments and museums and local transport. On this page you will find brief information about these places and link to Tourist offices of these places.

Albi

A small beautiful town about 80 km from Toulouse. Its easily accessible by train. A beautiful village along the river Tarn.

Cahor

Another beautiful village situated in the midst of river Lot. Famous for it's very old bridge "Pont Valentre" built in AD 1000. Few attractions in Cahors are

  • Point Velentre 14th century old bridge
  • Cathédrale Saint-Étienne,known for its architecture
  • Croix Magne/Monte Saint Cyr: A small climb or walking circuit from Point Velentre along GR36 or GR65 can fetch you the panoramic view of river lot and the village situated around it
  • Visit and taste famous Cahor wine in wine caves/wine shops
  • Boat ride in river Lot
  • Saint-Cirq Lapopie: About 18.4km but worth seeing for its cave, boat ride
  • Cave of Pech Merle About 17 km from Cahors
  • In fact you can cover Cahor, Saint-Cirq Lapopie in one day if you start early in the day and plan to return little late in the night. The guidelines are here.
  • A private tour of Cahor, Saint-Cirq Lappopie and Rocamadour from Toulouse for 2 persons with English speaking driver cum guide can cost about 230 euros. (Ref). If you are not strict on a budget this can be a good option.
  • You can visit Rocamadour , a village famous for Christian pilgrimage and off course the Rocamadour cheese. Don't miss to visit the biggest limestone cave "Gouffre de Padirac" about 40 km from Cahors.

Carcassonne

The village of festivity. Must to visit on 14 July to witness the breathtaking fireworks on the backdrop of the medieval castle. Don't miss to taste "Cassoulet de Canard" the famous dish of this place. There are frequent trains from Toulouse to Carcassonne and even a very late night train at 0015hrs to return to Toulouse. Do check SNCF timetable.

TIP: If you plan to visit Carcassonne by cycle trip I will recommend the book Le canal du Midi à vélo by Philippe Calas with detailed maps, places to visit around and lodging facilities , etc. Contact me if you need maps.

Couilloure

A small but beautiful beach along the Mediterranean sea, a favorite tourist spot of the summer just 2 hours by train from Toulouse. One can enjoy a boat ride in Mediterranean sea, walking trails along the Spanish border through wine fields and off course a old castle just next to the sea shore and the ancient eglise de "Notre Dam". A picturesque beach and jubilant crowd on Sunday. A perfect place to spend a summer weekend.

Foix

The beautiful village situated in the valley of Pyrenees mountain range close to Spain, Andora and just one hour by train from Toulouse. Nice place to go on mountain biking, cannoying in river Arieage and treking along GR10 path. The place is also known for longest underground river of the Europe "La Bouiche" and medivial castle.

Lauragais

( Cycle trip along Canal du Midi): The beautiful village of maize and sunflower fields. One must cycle along the Canal du Midi to see this beautiful village. Its just 35km from Toulouse and if you start in the morning (say at 0800hr) will reach this village by afternoon. There is old Chateau and very old church. At pont Lauragis one can enjoy the lunch or cafe. There is a good cafeteria/restaurant where one can get the full course lunch (about 11 euros) or sandwiches and bugette. A place must explore!!

TIP: If you plan to visit Lauragais by cycle trip I will recommend the book Le canal du Midi à vélo by Philippe Calas with detailed maps, places to visit around and lodging facilities , etc. Contact me if you need maps.

Lourdes

Another town famous for pilgrimage..but if you are ready to explore can go further for trekking or hiking in Pyrenees. You will get more information at Tourist office.

Limoux

Just 25km from Carcassonne, 50 km from Toulouse, and surrounded by Pyrenees mountain range, this wine growing country land is must to visit for wine lovers. This picturesque town is not to be missed especially in harvest season. This is the birth place of sparkling wine. World famous Crémant de Limoux and Blanquette de Limoux are produced here. With prior arrangement tourists can visit these wine yards and also enjoy wine tasting sessions.

Luchon

At the foot of the Pyrenees mountain range, the village of hot streams with medicinal properties...A place loved by sportsmen as it allows multiple sporting activities..right from mountain biking, hiking to para gliding and skiing. I just felled in love with this place. For more adventure one can venture into small trek to Lac d'Oô or Lac d'espingo.

Pic du midi

The highest astronomical observatory in the Pyrenees. Must to visit in the winter to witness snow clad Pyrenees mountain range. And if you know skiing..then its a great place for winter sports.

Rhune

Actually, I have not visited this place but saw it on the way when I was visiting Anglet/Biaritz close to Atlantic. It seems to be a nice place for trekking.