St Antonin as a medieval town remains largely intact with secluded squares, ornate doorways and alluring stone carvings that delight our visitors.
A great way to soak up the peaceful atmosphere of St Antonin and to
reimagine its history is to stroll around the labyrinthine medieval alleys, overlooked by the towering white cliffs of the Roc d’Anglars.
Discover the many restaurants in the region, from gastronomical
restaurants, to brasseries and pizzeria's, too many to mention here.
We are happy to reserve a table for you.
The market square with its covered halle (market hall) is the setting for a lively year round Sunday market. The colourful stalls selling local produce and craft stretch out along the narrow streets from one end of town to the other in summer.
For the more energetic, Gorges l’Averyon provides an opportunity to
walk, cycle, canoe, climb or paraglide. There are plenty of walks (randonnées) in the area, either on the surrounding hills or along the river and experiencing the magnificent flora and fauna is a real treat.
Horse riding is available just outside the town and the area is renowned for fantastic fishing too. Golf at Albi is only 50 minutes away.
For the movie enthusiasts, you will know that St Antonin Noble Val was used for the set of Charlotte Gray, adapted from Sebastian Faulks novel. The town was also the setting for the 2013 film The Hundred Foot Journey starring Helen Mirren.
If you would like to know more about our fantastic local food and markets, why not consider a market tour and picnic with My French Pass here
As for St Antonin’s fascinating history, the town is named after Antoninus of Pamiers, who brought Christianity to the area. His
remains are believed to have been kept here on the site of the town where an abbey was founded during the 8th century and expanded by the Benedictines in the 11th century.
Catharism, a Christian movement popular in southern Europe during the 11th and 12th century thrived in St Antonin and in 1209 on the orders of Pope Innocent III, the town was captured and Catharism eliminated.
Resistance to Catholicism continued and St Antonin was captured again in 1211 on the orders of the Pope when the town was besieged by Simon de Montfort, with many people killed and religious and civil buildings torn down.
Later, during the Hundred Years War between the Plantagenets (English Royal household) and the of House of Valois (French Royal household), St Antonin Noble Val was first seized by the Plantagenets in about 1345 and changed hands a further three times before the final siege in 1388.
Overall the English occupied St Antonin for two periods in 1344 and then between 1352-54 when the king ordered the tearing down of the ramparts to be sure it was not occupied again. These wars and a plague meant that about one third of the population of St Antonin died.
St Antonin had a history of religious and royal resistance, but is now a peaceful and relaxing place to stay.
Around 1560, religious fanaticism between the Calvin’s and Luther’s lead to the War of Religion and St Antonin Noble Val was one of the first towns to declare itself Protestant. The monastery was destroyed in 1570 and St Antonin's relics burnt when the church was burned down and St Antonin Noble Val became one of the strongholds of the reformists.
What followed was approximately 60 years of violent and bloody conflict ending in St Antonin Noble Val paying Louis XIII, to avoid being pillaged by his troops.
The French revolution and other events from the history of France left their mark on St Antonin. You may want to know more by attending the Tourist Office guided tour in English on Thursdays at 10.30am during July and August.
Once you’ve explored St Antonin and the Gorge l’Averyon, there are plenty of easy day trips, including to Cordes Sur Ciel, Saint Cirq Lapopie, Cahors, Villefrance de Rouge and the UNESCO World Heritage Listed city of Albi.
Lisa and Richard can help plan your days out, however you're travelling.