In the southwest of France, in the heart of the Occitanie region, the Tarn-et-Garonne is a department with many assets: charming villages, sumptuous monuments and a beautiful gastronomy are waiting for you!

So what to do in Tarn-et-Garonne? What are the essential visits and good addresses? Here is a travel guide to help you prepare your stay!

The Tarn-et-Garonne in brief

Tarn-et-Garonne
  • How to get there ? The easiest way is to go to Montauban, the prefecture of Tarn-et-Garonne. From Paris, it takes a little less than 4 hours to get there by train. It is also a city that you can reach in less than 1h45 from Bordeaux. The other option is to go to Agen in the Lot-et-Garonne, a city located at the gateway to the Tarn-et-Garonne, accessible in less than 3 hours and 15 minutes from the capital.
  • How to get around? If you want to discover the (charming!) villages of the department, a car is almost essential. You can also choose to go by bike and cross the department by following the green way of the Canal des 2 Mers à Vélo.
  • When to go there ? The Tarn-et-Garonne is a very natural territory so it is better to go there in the summer. But the department is located in the middle of the land, halfway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, so there is little wind and it can be very hot in the height of summer. The best periods are therefore spring (April – June) and autumn (September – October).

Thank you Napoleon!

When the first departments were created in 1790, Tarn-et-Garonne did not yet exist and Montauban was only a district capital of the Lot. This situation was not to the liking of the Montauban notables who appealed to Napoleon to create a new department around the city.

On November 21, 1808, an imperial decree gave birth to Tarn-et-Garonne by taking pieces of territory from neighboring departments: Lot, Aveyron, Haute-Garonne, Gers and Lot-et-Garonne.


What to visit in Tarn-et-Garonne ?

Stroll through the Lauzerte village

This bastide created in the 12th century is perched above the valleys of the Quercy Blanc. Its geographical situation means that the streets are on a slope, so you will have to work your calves to explore this village! But it’s worth it: with its stone houses, its paved streets and its flowered houses, Lauzerte has obtained the label “Most beautiful villages of France”.

Lauzerte is a beautiful village but it is also a place full of life! On the central square you will find several busy shops, where it is pleasant to sit and have a drink in the sun.

Visit the french region of Tarn-et-Garonne

Once you reach the top of Lauzerte, enjoy the view of the surroundings, where a nice show awaits you!

Travel guide

Admire the cloister of Moissac

In the Tarn-et-Garonne, Moissac is a must-see, especially because of its abbey founded – according to the legend – by Clovis in the Vie century.

Have the curiosity to push the door of the abbey church (free access) and then go to discover the cloister. This last one is not free but you absolutely have to go and see this wonderful testimony of the 12th century architecture with its 76 sculpted capitals.

Moissac abbey

In the past, a hundred monks lived here. A few monk scribes copied religious texts here, of which nearly 120 manuscripts are still preserved today at the French National Library. Religious life came to an end during the French Revolution and the buildings were sold before being registered on the first list of historical monuments in 1840, which allowed their preservation.

Moissac Abbey
Free access to the church
Entrance to the cloister : 6,5 € / 4,5 € for under 18 years old and job seekers / 1€ for 7-12 years old / Free for under 7 years old
Schedules vary according to the season, consult the official website

Visit the Firmin Bouisset space

Not far from Moissac, in Castelsarrasin, a small museum pays tribute to Firmin Bouisset (1859-1925). If you don’t know his name, it is likely that you know some of his creations. It is indeed to him that we owe the posters of the small butter LU or the chocolate miller.

This designer and poster artist from the region was one of the first to use the image of the child in an advertisement and to make it a prescriber. The Firmin Bouisset space presents, in addition to the posters made by the local child, many advertisements where the child plays the leading role.

The Firmin Bouisset space is a fascinating place that I highly recommend. The visit is fun, not too long and will please both children and adults.

Espace Firmin Bouisset
10 rue du Collège, Castelsarrasin
Price : 5 € / reduced price 3,5 € / free for children under 12
Schedules vary according to the season, consult the official website

Discover the city of Montauban

The prefecture of Tarn-et-Garonne, sometimes called “the pinkest of pink cities” is not to be missed. It owes its nickname to the brick, the main material used in its buildings.

Visit Montauban

Crossed by the Tarn river, it is a pleasant and warm city where you will find many shops, bars and restaurants. In case of hot weather, you can also go and cool off on the main square, the Place Nationale, where a water mirror has just been installed.

As far as culture is concerned, Montauban is not to be outdone! I encourage you to visit the Ingres-Bourdelle museum installed in the former 17th century episcopal palace and which, as its name indicates, pays tribute to two local children: Ingres and Bourdelle. However, the display does not stop at these two artists, since many other artists are present in the collections.

Ingres Bourdelle Museum
19 rue de l'Hôtel de Ville, Montauban
Full price: 10 € / reduced price: 5 € / free for children under 18
Opening hours vary according to the season, consult the official website

Did you know that?

At the beginning of the 17th century, Montauban was a Protestant city, which was not to the liking of Louis XIII, the Catholic king, who launched a siege of the city in 1621. This was without counting on the pugnacity of the people of Montauban who offered a remarkable resistance, so to make the city yield and discourage the inhabitants, it is said that 400 cannon shots were fired. Unfortunately for Louis XIII, this was not enough to destabilize the city and the king had no choice but to capitulate. It is thus in Montauban that the expression “Faire les 400 coups” was born!

Visit the Beaulieu-en-Rouergue abbey and its contemporary art collection

The Beaulieu-en-Rouergue abbey is an atypical space which shelters a collection of contemporary art (Dubuffet, Hantaï, Hartung…). This place, like no other, is due to the couple of collectors Geneviève Bonnefoi and Pierre Brache who bought and restored the abbey to make it an art center.

Upon their death, they bequeathed the abbey and their collection to the Centre des Monuments Nationaux, which has just completed a major restoration project to present this art collection to the public. Reopened since June, it is a “three-in-one” place where you can discover a superb monument, a rich art collection and a charming garden. In short, it is a place of contemplation in the middle of old stones!

TO KNOW MORE : The Beaulieu-en-Rouergue Abbey, when heritage meets contemporary art

Beaulieu-en-Rouergue abbey
Beaulieu-en-Rouergue abbey
Beaulieu en Rouergue Abbey
Lieu-dit de Beaulieu, Ginals
Price : 6€ / free for children under 26 years old
Schedules vary according to the season, consult the official website

Stroll in the village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val

A few steps from the Beaulieu en Rouergue abbey, go and see the village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. This medieval village is dominated by the Roc d’Anglars, an impressive limestone wall, and promises a total change of scenery in the middle of its narrow streets where you can take your time.

If possible, go there on Sunday morning (between 8 and 1 pm) to take advantage of its impressive market (reputed to be one of the most beautiful in France) where you can discover the regional products: cheeses, cooked pork meats, fruits and vegetables, wines… Be careful, this market being very crowded, especially in the nice days, it is preferable to go before 10 am.

Admire the panorama from the Cirque de Bône

On the heights of Saint-Antonin, the Cirque de Bône offers a breathtaking view on a green landscape and on the laces drawn by the Aveyron. If you are by car, a small parking lot allows you to park there.

Going to the Bruniquel village

Bruniquel is a place full of history! In addition to a cave that was used by the Neanderthals 176,000 years ago, there are also two castles that dominate the town: the “young” castle and the “old” castle built on ancient walls from the Middle Ages. From the top of these impressive monuments, one can contemplate a superb view on the Gorges of the Aveyron. These two castles hosted in the early 70’s the shooting of the movie “Le vieux fusil” with Philippe Noiret and Romy Schneider. An exhibition of photographs allows to discover the backstage of this shooting.

To go further…

Find other ideas for visits in the Tarn et Garonne on the website tourisme-tarnetgaronne.fr


Best places in the Tarn-et-Garonne

Where to eat ? Some restaurants

In Moissac, Le Moulin de Moissac

Located, as its name indicates, in an old mill, this restaurant offers a breathtaking view of the Tarn, either from the dining room or the terrace.

On the menu, you will find a sublimated version of brasserie dishes: the plates are excellent, made from fresh products and superbly presented. Do not resist the temptation of a dessert, they are divine!

Le Moulin de Moissac
1 promenade Sancert, Moissac
lemoulindemoissac.com

In Montauban, Les 5 bouchons for a tasty lunch

On the main square of Moissac (Place Nationale), the restaurant “Les 5 bouchons” proposes a lunch formula dish-dessert at 19 €.

Here too, they only work with fresh products and you can feel it in the plate. It’s a treat, go there with your eyes closed.

Les 5 bouchons
24 place Nationale, Montauban

In Montauban, Chez Antoine the omnivorous restaurant for the gourmets

Even if the menu contains some vegetarian dishes, here you will find mostly meats cooked on wood fire. The plates are generous and should delight the gourmets.

Count 38 € for the menu composed of a starter, a dish or a grill, and a dessert.

Antoine the omnivore
10 rue d'Auriol, Montauban
https://antoine-omnivore.fr/

In Montauban, the Saint-Jacques for tapas to share

This is a perfect address if you go there with friends. You can order tasty tapas to share among all the table. The house is also famous for its cocktails.

Le Saint-Jacques
3 place Victor Hugo, Montauban

In Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, the Auberge des Sens

In the charming village of Saint-Antonin, the Auberge des Sens offers a land-sea cuisine with seasonal products.

In good weather, the shaded terrace allows you to have lunch outside without getting sunburned!

L'auberge des Sens
6 boulevard des Thermes, Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val
http://www.aubergedessens.fr/

Where to stay ?

If you are coming from Agen, you can stop in Valence-d’Agen at the hotel “Le tout va bien”. The rooms are clean and comfortable, the breakfast is made of fresh products, it is a very relaxing place.

In Montauban, I recommend the Hotel du Commerce, ideally located next to the cathedral, in the heart of the city.

You can also find a hotel by entering the dates of your stay below:

Booking.com

The map !

Find all the addresses mentioned in this article on this map:


Article realized in partnership with Tarn et Garonne Tourisme

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