CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to France Magazines today CLICK HERE

Tarn-et-Garonne guide

PUBLISHED: 09:49 01 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:26 08 November 2016

The pretty town of Moissac  © Dominique VIET - CRT Midi-Pyrénées

The pretty town of Moissac © Dominique VIET - CRT Midi-Pyrénées

Archant

An insider’s guide to Tarn-et-Garonne in Occitanie, including the main attractions to visit on holiday, the best towns and villages to live in, the major festivals and events, and buying property in Tarn-et-Garonne

Once a prosperous area known for its woollen and silk industry, Tarn-et-Garonne is one of the smallest and youngest departments in France and is based in the Occitanie region (formerly Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées).

It was created in 1808 by decree from Napoleon I, with land being taken from the surrounding departments of Lot, Haute-Garonne, Lot-et-Garonne, Gers and Aveyron. It may be small, but it boasts an impressive variety of landscapes, from fertile plains to steep gorges, and takes its name from the two great rivers – the Tarn and the Garonne – that flow through it.

As it boasts a pleasant climate, an unspoilt nature, a rich cultural heritage and interesting history, its hardly surprising holidaymakers and expats looking for a second home head to Tarn-et-Garonne.

Tarn-et-Garonne, Map of France © Ministere de l'InterieurTarn-et-Garonne, Map of France © Ministere de l'Interieur

Getting here

By plane: There are flights from the UK to Toulouse and Rodez

By train: Eurostar to Paris and jump aboard the TGV to Montauban

By road: Montauban is 914km from Calais

Montauban © Oder Zsolt / ShutterstockMontauban © Oder Zsolt / Shutterstock

Places to visit in Tarn-et-Garonne

The capital of Tarn-et-Garonne is Montauban, one of the oldest bastides in southern France with impressive religious buildings including the Saint-Jacques church and the Cathédrale Notre Dame de l’Assomption. Standing on the right bank of the River Tarn and just 31km from Toulouse, it was originally called Mont Alba (Mount Willow in Occitan) and willow trees are still a common sight here. Thousands flock to the town centre for the week-long festival of Les Quatre-Cent Coups in early September with concerts, balls and street parties commemorating the failed attempt Louis XIII made to try to besiege the town.

The pretty town of Moissac sits at the confluence of the Garonne and Tarn rivers, and is well-known for its artistic heritage preserved in the St. Pierre Abbey of Moissac. With a turbulent history, visitors can wander round the parts of the complex that remain today and soak in the beautiful cloisters surrounding the church’s pretty courtyard and Romanesque art on display.

Moissac © Dominique VIET - CRT Midi-PyrénéesMoissac © Dominique VIET - CRT Midi-Pyrénées

Tarn-et-Garonne is home to three Plus Beaux Villages: Auvillar, Lauzerte and Bruniquel. The latter became famous for, and wealthy from, the production of saffron in the 14th century, which continues today. The vibrant yellow spice is the star of the show at local markets, alongside saffron-based products including jams, syrups and cakes. It is clear to see why Bruniquel has been listed as one of the prettiest villages in France with cobbled walkways, honey coloured stone cottages and two stunning castles sitting higher than the homes that surround it.

Bruniquel © bjul / ShutterstockBruniquel © bjul / Shutterstock

Things to do in Tarn-et-Garonne

The department has plenty of green spaces; it boasts the Causses du Quercy regional national park with limestone cliffs, small areas of lush green woodland and rivers running throughout the landscape. The department’s hills lead up to the Pyrénées mountains where the snow-covered peaks can be spotted in the distance when the skies are clear.

The Gorges de l’Aveyron, known as the ‘lungs of Tarn-et-Garonne’, is an ideal place for nature lovers to visit with the opportunity to go canoeing, walking and rock climbing in the truly breathtaking scenery. Take a trip to Grotte du Bosc in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, a cave resting in the heart of the Gorges de l’Aveyron, where a guided tour will introduce you to a long galley full of colourful concretions.

Valley of the Tarn River, Gorges de l’Aveyron © Claudio Giovanni ColomboValley of the Tarn River, Gorges de l’Aveyron © Claudio Giovanni Colombo

Tarn-et-Garonne produces high-quality fruit, foie gras, duck, garlic and truffles with plenty of these local treats being sold in numerous markets throughout the department. There are six wine appellations, with the Chasseles grape from Moissac being the first fruit to obtain the AOC label in 1971.

Buying property in Tarn-et-Garonne

For those that seek a more relaxed pace of life, and adore idyll medieval villages exuding charm, Tarn-et-Garonne is the perfect choice for a second home. There’s a wide range of property styles and prices; from stone Terrefort houses, Bas-Quercy houses where residents live primarily in the building’s upstairs and charming rustic cottages with visible stone brickwork and wooden beams. A lot of properties will have been built using local resources, taking advantage of the department’s assets.

The average property price in this department is around €141,000, a fair amount less than the average property price in France (€157,600). It is one of the more expensive departments in the region, however, property prices do vary greatly throughout the department.

The most expensive area is the department’s capital of Montauban with an average property price of €169,000 while the charming riverside town of Castelsarrasin has an average property price of €130,000.

You can find properties in Tarn-et-Garonne for sale on the France Property Shop website.

France’s new regions and capitals

Beautiful B&Bs set up by expats in France

12 ways to live a sustainable

Living green in Tarn-et-Garonne

French property; small but perfectly formed

A tour of Tarn-et-Garonne

More from Travel

Friday, December 7, 2018

These welcoming and wonderful Christmas markets are just a short trip across the Channel away, so what are you waiting for?

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

When it’s cold outside, indulge your love of French food and drink at one of these stylish pop-ups and events closer to home

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Discover the Christmas delights of northern France with our top five Christmas markets in the region

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

From lakeside jazz festivals to chestnut fairs, get stuck in with these events taking place across France in December 2018

Read more
Thursday, November 22, 2018

You can ditch the airport queues and long drives, and hit the rails instead, says Daniel Elkan. The French Alps has an abundance of ski resorts that suit families, easily accessed by train.

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Budget travellers can pay nothing to stay at bed and breakfasts around the world during Barter Week in exchange for manual, creative or teaching activities

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Find out when your favourite French ski resort opens and closes this year and start planning your ski trip to France

Read more
Winter trips
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Find out what events are taking place in France to commemorate the Armistice centenary.

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

The full route of the 2019 Tour de France was announced in Paris on 25 October

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

From hot air balloon gatherings to scallop festivals, there’s always something fun and unique going on in France in November

Read more
Subscribe for

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now