Thursday, July 28, 2011


(does not include Toulouse)

Le Manoir de Raynaudes – Monesties; 011-33-05-6336-9190;; built in mid-19th Century on in lush, undulating countryside of Tarn; surrounded by 13 acres gardens, lake, meadow, and woodland; main house contains 4 very large, luxurious, en-suite bedrooms available as chambres d’hotes (bed & breakfast); barn converted into 4 immaculate double-height apartments, with their own sitting rooms, kitchens and bathrooms, for guests who prefer little more independence; Raynaudes, on other side lake, is of forgotten France; near medieval cathedral town, Albi, with Toulouse-Lautrec museum.

Sights & Sites
Thermes de Luchon (Thermal Baths) – Parc des Quinconces; 011-33-05-6194-5252;; hot springs known since ancient Rome.

GERS (does not include Toulouse)
Chateau Monastere de Saint-Mont – Le Monastère D946 (Saint-Mont); 011-33-05-6209-5301;; castle.
Hotel Lous Grits – au village (Marsolan); 011-33-05-6228-3710;; daughter-mother team runs this hilltop countryside manor.

Chez Vous – Place de la Halle (St.-Puy); 011-33-05-6268-9852; relaxed; regional dishes.
Le Florida – 2 Rue du Lac (Castera-Verduzan); 011-33-05-6268-1322;; open since 1936; try duck and foie gras pie.
Hotel de Bastard – Rue Lagrange (Lectoure); 011-33-05-6268-8244;; traditional cooking.
Maison Vidou – 11 Avenue d’Etigny (Mirande); 011-33-05-6267-6879; best croustade.
Le Rive Droite – 1 Chemin Saint Jacques (Villecomtal-sur-Arros); 011-33-05-6264-8308;; for le coq vierge.

Sights & Sites
Bleus Pastel de Lectoure – Ancienne Tannerie, Pont de Pile (Lectoure); 011-33-05-6268-7830;; woad manufactory.
Domaine d’Arton – Arton (Lectoure); 011-33-05-6268-8433;; wine tastings.
Le Musee de la Vigne et du Vin – Route de Cassaigne (Mouchan); 011-33-6-8450-4941;; wine museum.

Gascony Cookery School – Le Petit Feuillant; 011-33-56-329-1104;; accommodations in renovated, 17th Century chambres d’hotes, in which David and Vikki Chance are hosts and teachers; time shared between David’s purpose-built teaching kitchen and professional kitchen in village restaurant.

Relais Royal – 8 Rue Maréchal Clauzel; 011-33-05-6160-1919;; more like fantastic restaurant with rooms, but rooms are pretty fantastic, as well; 18th Century building extensively renovated by master craftsmen to former glory (terracotta tiled floors, wooden French style ceilings, marble and natural stone fireplaces, and Louis XIV nut wood doors); inner courtyard, garden with swimming pool, and ivy climbing stone walls.

Le Ciel d’Or – 8 Rue Maréchal Clauzel (at Relais Royal); 011-33-05-6160-1919;; traditional French accompanied by fantastic service; arched wine cellar.

Sights & Sites
La Grotte de Niaux – Niaux; 011-33-05-6105-8837;; prehistoric caves; only 11 visits per day allowed so call ahead.

Les Charrettes – 504-406-0446; converted 19th Century barn with 4 bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen, and pool.

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