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Explore the countryside north of the Tarn Valley, a timeless landscape of unspoiled medieval 'bastides', or fortified villages, largely dating from the turbulent 12th-century when the English sought to dominate this land on this self guided walk.


From £698 per person (from £930pp inc rail) based on 2 people sharing

Duration: 7 nights, 6 days
Departures: Various departures from April-July & August-October
Start point: Puycelci
End point: Cordes-sur-Ciel

Greentraveller's Top Tips: If you've extra time to explore Albi before catching the train, this charming village plays host to plenty of interesting markets worth visiting. These include a vegetable market every morning except Mondays and an arts and crafts fair on Saturdays. Alternatively, Parc Rochegude is very close to the train station and an excellent place to enjoy the great outdoors. 

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If you’re looking for peace and quiet, enjoy wildlife and star gazing and want it in a truly beautiful setting away from it all, this is definitely the place to come.

The Lot Valley is one of France's best kept secrets. All the fine cuisine, rustic villages, markets and general French charm of the Dordogne, but without the crowds. One of the most striking things about the region is the varied landscape: in one day you can go from rocky, heath covered highlands through thick ancient forest to vast uninhabited lakes. With this variety comes some fantastic outdoor activities. Here's our top five.

A week of hurtling through the French countryside visiting some fabulous accommodations listed on the Greentraveller website, eating well and meeting some amazing owners.

Details of Walking Holiday in the Land of the Crusades

Despite a turbulent past, today, all is calm and you can now enjoy a leisurely exploration of the tiny, arcaded squares and crumbling fortifications before walking along inviting footpaths to discover one of France’s most alluring corners. Combine leisurely walking through landscapes reminiscent of Tuscany, a spot of history, chambres d’hôtes (guesthouses) of great character and flavoursome regional cuisine, and you have all the ingredients for a delightful walking holiday. The route takes you through the rolling countryside just north of one France’s greatest rivers - the Tarn - ending at the remarkable village of Cordes-sur-Ciel. Along the way, you stay in some of the typical medieval fortified hill-top villages that make this region so special.


Chez Delphine, Puycelci You will receive a warm welcome from Delphine de Laveleye to her beautiful 17th-century house which has just five stylish rooms and a swimming pool in the pretty gardens. Dinner is included at a local restaurant.

La Croix du Sud, Castelnau-de-Montmiral While at this beautiful chambres d’hôtes (with a pool) just below the village, we include taxis to and from a local restaurant (pay locally for dinner).

Les Vents Bleus, Donnazac This much-praised chambres d’hôtes, with pool, has been exquisitely converted from an 18th-century farmhouse.

La Maison Bakéa, Cordes-sur-Ciel A charming 18th-century building in the heart of this beautiful town, offering just five rooms, exposed stone walls and wooden galleries built around a cobbled courtyard. Here, you will feel you are really stepping back in time.

What our customers say:

Mr Carter of Somerset
The highlight was the varied walking across a most beautiful area of France, meeting other walkers and we both thought Les Vents Bleus at Donnazac was delightful and perfect for relaxing after a long walk on a very hot day.

Mrs Birks of Sussex
The different character and charm of the accommodation and warm welcome from all the proprietors and taxi drivers was a highlight. We especially enjoyed out stay at Chez Delphine, where the proprietor was really friendly and it was really helpful to have somewhere to dry our muddy boots.

Ms Segal of Kent
We were very impressed with all places on this walk. All fabulous houses, great rooms, breakfasts lovely and picnics had a lot of thought put into them. Never heard of "chambre d'hotes" before, but will look out for them in future. Delphine was a great hostess. Interesting about the region - and interesting life!  Les Vents Bleus was the only one where we also had an evening meal and that was terrific. Lovely people, very attentive service.

For more reviews of this trip, see: Reviews of Walking in the Land of the Crusades

What price includes

  • four chambres d'hôtes
  • 3 dinners, 7 breakfasts, 3 picnics
  • self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking
  • Route notes and maps
  • 3 guesthouses have pools
  • Luggage transported



Plan your journey by train

Meeting point:
Chez Delphine, Puycelci

Nearest train station to meeting point:

Transfer to meeting point:
Guests make their own way to meeting point
Taxis to the hotel can be prebooked and prepaid through Inntravel

How to get there:
Train from London to Montauban (via Paris)

Plan your journey by train to Toulouse

Plan your journey by train

Finish point:
La Maison Bakéa, Cordes-sur-Ciel

Nearest train station to finish point:

Transfer to finish point:
Guests make their own way to station
Taxis to the railway station can be prebooked and prepaid through Inntravel

How to get back:
Train from Albi to London (via Toulouse & Paris)

Plan your return train journey from Albi