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Gorges du Tarn mentioned in RS France Book

On RS"s recommendation we are going to go drive to the Gorges Du Tarn 2 hrs. East of Albi. Has anyone every been there or in that area? We will be driving from Perpignon to the town of La Malene and staying at the Manoir de Montesquiou. Has anyone been in this area, has driven the roads, seen the Gorge or stayed at this town or Manoir? Looking for any information as to time to drive there, is it worth it , how are the roads, the towns and etc.

Posted by
126 posts

Hi there,
Last September we stayed in Cordes sur Ciel which is approximately 30 minutes north of Albi.

One of our day trips was to visit the Millau viaduct that spans the River Tarn. Millau is about 50 minutes west of La Malene. Make sure you take the time to drive both across the viaduct and also under it and along the river Tarn – there are some beautiful villages with the houses cut into the side of the gorge.

The Millau viaduct holds the record for the World’s tallest bridge. The best viewing point for the bridge is the Service Area on the northern side of the bridge off the A75 motorway. There’s a display about the building of the bridge at both the service centre and under the bridge

I don’t know your time constraints regarding your trip from Perpignan to La Malene so have a suggestion if you have the time.
From Perpignan head north then west to Carcassonne – the most beautiful walled city you’ve ever seen, from there keep going west towards Toulouse, bypass Toulouse and head north east to Albi, visit the cathedral and Toulouse Lautrec museum then head north towards Rodez. Before getting to Rodez take the D911 to join the A75 motorway near the viewing area of the Millau bridge.

Perpignan to La Malene direct via the A75 is about 3 hours
Going via Carcassone, Albi etc is about 5 – 6 hours plus stops for sight seeing etc

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you, Baz. This was very helpful. I see we should have allotted more than one day in the area. We have already been to Carcassone by then and we'll be heading to Arles from La Malene.

Posted by
784 posts

I stayed overnight in La Malene and drove around the Gorges du Tarn in 2005. IMO it is well worth it. We were there in April when the trees hadn't completely leafed out, so we had good views and minimal traffic. The scenery is beautiful and the road is good. You didn't say when you are going, but if you are going in the summer there will probably be quite a lot of traffic as it is a popular destination for the French. Be sure to see the Millau Viaduct as it is a sight to behold. There is a visitors center under it that is worth a stop for the view.

Posted by
1020 posts

The Millau Viaduc is spectacular. Just to clarify, the viewpoint is located away from the visitor center. The trail goes up a hill which is mildly strenuous but not difficult unless there are mobility issues. The views of the bridge and the gorge, which is really a valley there, are fantastic. I wanted to do some driving up the gorge but the rest of my group only wanted to get back to the house and pool. So we had lunch in Millau and headed back.

Posted by
11 posts

Lee: thank you. I wasn't sure if it would be worth the drive. from your description, it will be beautiful and worth it. I will look forward to the hike you mentioned.

Posted by
149 posts

If you're driving from Perpignon, you might consider stopping in La Couvertoirade, one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France. My wife and I spent several hours there this past May on our way to Belcastel, which I'd also recommend, though it might be a bit out of the way. La Couvertoirade apparently didn't get indoor plumbing until relatively late in the 20th century, and we really enjoyed exploring the village and walking the ramparts. There's also a cemetery with interesting round tombstones, and a windmill.