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Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

Bethesda, MD
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Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

We have been in touch w a French family living outside of Toulouse about a possible home exchange this summer, & we're feeling amivalent. We adore Paris, love Provence, Bretagne & Normandie, & are wondering how this region compares. We do love to vist medieval towns & other historic sites of which the Midi-Pyrenees seems to have an abundance of (awa beautiful nature areas), but we're not coming for a pilgrimage & just wonder if there's enough cultural things, good food, cafes, charm--whatever input from 'experts' would be very much appreciated.

Thanks. Barbara

Essex
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1. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

Good food, cafes and charm are everywhere in France....

Paris, France
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2. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

It's got all you're looking for. The countryside around Toulouse is pleasant (rolling hills), but you also have the Massif central mountains to the north east and the Pyrenees to the south which have both spectacular scenery and "bijou" villages. And for food & nightlife, Toulouse isn't bad at all.

I was first there 30 years ago, and spent my (too short) summer holidays there this year. I always enjoy it.

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

I'm another fan. Since you know and love other areas of France perhaps it's time to spend somewhere new?

Pick up a copy of Michelin's Green Guide for Midi-Pyrenees and you'll find more things to see and do than you'll have time for. ;^)

Bethesda, MD
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4. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

Thanks so much for honest, encouraging replies--much appreciated. Any places/activities/sites/bijoux u feel are must see/do's, would much appreciate heading about. We love 'local', charming, cultural, food-related...

Paris, France
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5. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

The Michelin Green Guide will help you with this last question. Or The "Things to Do" tab here on TA.

Paris, France
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6. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

I agree with parisamsterdam in that you can do a lot worse than by starting with the Michelin green guide for Midi-Pyrenees. It also depends on how far you want to travel as Midi-Pyrenees is a big region. For example, Rocamadour is just one "must-see" place, but it's not right next to Toulouse.

Off the top of my head, Albi & Carcassonne fortress are worth a visit, maybe going to Carcassonne off the motorway via Revel and its market square, and maybe stopping off at St Ferréol to bathe in the lake if you're feeling too hot.

This summer I was staying with friends east of Toulouse so we only visited Toulouse, Revel & St Ferréol locally, and also stopped off in the Lot department to visit one of the many hilltop villages - Lauzerte in our case. Toulouse itself is worth a few visits, both for site-seeing and just walking around the old streets, plus eating out in the evening.

You will not be short of places to visit and things to eat.

Le Bugue, France
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7. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

I'm not sure what you mean by you're not coming for a pilgrimage - most people aren't, either - but it's a wonderful area, far more interesting IMO than Provence, which I think is overrated and overtouristed these days, though of course it's still charming. The Midi-Pyrénées is very pleasantly off most people's radar.

Toowoomba, Australia
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8. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

The Midi Pyrenees is a large region. We spent a week each in the Gers and Aveyron departments as well as week in nearby Aude [ Languedoc- Roussillon ] and really enjoyed our time there. Some beautiful scenery and gorgeous villages.

If you are house swapping with no accommodation costs, you could easily do some wonderful two or more night trips away to nearby regions. I would jump at the chance if I were you.

www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/en

http://www.villagesdefrance.free.fr/index.htm

http://www.france-voyage.com/en/

http://www.francethisway.com/

Have a look at these sites for the relevant areas. They are great for browsing and seeing photos of beautiful places.

Boston...
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9. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

Thank you lifecoachdoc for asking the exact question that I have begun researching. We, too, have visited and rented villas/gites in all the ares you mentioned and are interested in the Midis for next May. We are leaning toward Lourdes which seems to be centrally located with access to Toulouse and Carcassone. A couple of questions for you.

Are you arriving in Paris? TGV to Nimes? SCNF to Toulouse? Picking up a car?

Thanks and good luck. Please keeep us informed

Toowoomba, Australia
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10. Re: Midi-Pyrenees as compared to Provence/other popular areas?

#9, you might be better posting your own question with details of your trip. The midi Pyrenees is a big area and Lourdes is not well placed to visit departments such as the Aveyron or Gers. It is quite a drive from Toulouse and Carcassonne. And yes, you need a car to really explore this region. Here is my trip report on our trip from 2012 where week 1 was in the Gers, week 2 in the Aude [ near Carcassonne ], and week 3 in the Aveyron.

fodors.com/community/europe/our-own-country-…

And have a look at these sites for browsing for photos of the relevant regions.

http://www.france-voyage.com/en/

www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org/en

http://www.villagesdefrance.free.fr/index.htm

http://www.francethisway.com/