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Quaint French villages to visit in South West France

Spring is coming and it’s an exciting time for us. As the weather starts to get a little warmer, we look forward to those glimpses of warm sun that mean we can work in the garden, take a walk or just have a coffee outside one of the many cafes in St Antonin Noble Val without layering lots of clothes.

 

For us it’s also a chance to get out and explore more of the region. Once our guests start to arrive, we lose the chance to spend long days out exploring, so our challenge is to find those fabulous restaurants and gorgeous locations now to enjoy ourselves and recommend to guests. We have included as many as we can in our exclusive La Résidence guidebook, but there are always changes and we see it as our obligation to try them out before we send our guests there!

 

Visiting St Antonin Noble Val in the spring is a lovely time to slow down, relax and take a close look at the area without too much traffic on the roads or too frenetic a pace at the tourist attractions.

 

In St Antonin Noble Val the restaurants will be opening soon and there are great choices for all budgets and diets.  We have some adorable gift shops showcasing locally made gifts and of course the local markets which can get a little busy in the summer, are packed with tasty local foods but without the crowds.

 

If you want to spend some time exploring the area but not drive too far, there are also some enchanting villages to visit.

 

Bruniquel

Just 23 km from St Antonin Noble Val, this is a pleasant village to visit for a morning or afternoon. Designated by Les Plus Beaux Villages de France, Bruniquel is one of the most beautiful villages in France and a peaceful place to stroll around before visiting the imposing castle above the village.

 

The original prosperity of the village came from the trade of linen, hemp and saffron and whose wealth is reflected in the architecture of many of the buildings, keep an eye out for the stone doorways and mullioned windows.

 

The castle is definitely worth a visit. The views of the Aveyron gorge are magnificent and it’s easy to understand the military significance of its position atop the hill. There is a small permanent exhibition about the pre-history of the area, regular art exhibitions and the restoration work taking place is an architectural and artistic feat.

 

Penne

This is a small village, perfect for a visit of an hour or two and about 16 Km from St Antonin Noble Val. The village is built along a rocky outcrop in the Aveyron valley with its gravity defying castle perched at the end of the outcrop.  The castle opens from Spring to Autumn has been under restoration since 2006. In the summer months you can take a self-guided or guided tour.

 

Parts of the countryside surrounding Penne is designated as a Natural Area of Ecological Interest and in the Spring an excellent place to see wild Orchids. We have walking maps of the area that guests are welcome to borrow.

 

Najac

Another of the most beautiful villages in France, Najac is about a 30-minute drive from La Residence. Comprising one very photogenic main street with stunning views of the castle in the distance and a few cafes and bars, perfect for a relaxing lunch. Some of the cafes have a terrace at the back to give you views of the surrounding countryside.

 

Najac castle was built in the 13th century as a strategic defence of the nearby town, Villefranche-de-Rouergue and is for those of you interested in military strategy there are some very interesting displays inside the castle. The views of the surrounding area are extraordinary although it’s a fairly steep climb to the top.

 

Belcastel

This is a little further away, just over an hours drive from La Residence but well worth the effort of a slightly longer drive.

 

Belcastel is a beautifully restored village and Chateau on the bank of the Aveyron river. The chateau was originally built in the 9th century by the Belcastel family but eventually fell into disrepair.

 

It was declared a historic monument in 1928 but it was not until 1974 when the French architect Fernand Pouillon bought it, that the chateau and the village were restored to their former glory. The chateau is now open to the public and showcases some fascinating modern art as well as medieval artefacts.

 

Throughout the year there are many festivals and exhibitions in the area. If you book directly with us www.laresidence-france.com  you will pay 15% less than if you book through an online travel agent and receive a link to access our exclusive electronic guidebook containing more places to visits, local restaurants and amenities, markets information and much more.

 

See you soon         

                                                                            

Best wishes

 

Lisa and Richard

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Lisa Wills and Richard Lane, La Résidence, 37 rue Droite, 82140 St Antonin Noble Val, France

Tel: +33 (0) 5 63 67 37 56

email: info@laresidence-france.com