The 14th century bastide city of Revel is known for the wonderful weekly market.
The Saturday market in Revel is one of the best in Occitanie, actually in all of France. Located in la Haute Garonne, on the border of both the Tarn and Aude departments, it is known as one of the “plus beau marché de France”(most beautiful markets in France). From 7am things start to stir around this handsome square in Revel, at the place Philippe de Valois.
This market has been around for 700 years; the savoir faire and local products are top notch. From fresh produce and local wines to bakery goods and delicate patries you will find everything you could possible need or want here. The vibe is friendly and authentic. You will find small production vignerons and agriculteurs of all kinds. There is a food truck ambience of late and lots to see smell and taste at this fabulous market.
The XIV century Hall is surmounted by a belfry looking out over the city. This is how it looks on a Sunday when nothing is open!
The city was founded in 1342. There are pretty houses of ‘colombage’ (half timber) and various manor houses (hotel particuliers) leading to the place du marché.
Around the vibrant market there are arcaded cafés and restaurants, typical of this region. The Tourism Office is conveniently located below the roof of the market hall.
The church of Notre Dame was built in the Neo roman style around the end of the 19th century replacing previous constructions notably in 1736 and 1830.
Revel is a city labelled “ville et métiers d’art”, which means that the locality endeavours to appreciate artisans, here particularly cabinet makers and marqueteurs (artisans of wood inlay) but also upholsterers, ceramicists, painters, decorators and furniture restauraters. Ville et Métiers d’art is actually an association which recognises the importance of French savoir faire and facilitates the liaison between art and economics in the community. There is a showroom, Ebénistes et Créateurs (wood workers and creators) showing local artists works. There is a museum of Wood and Marquetry just around the corner from the market, the Musée du Bois.
Lac St Ferréol
Slightly south of Revel is the St Ferréol Lake.
The St Ferréol reservoir has been used to provide sufficient water supply to the Canal du Midi, allowing the locks to operate throughout the year, including the dry summer months. The dam was started in 1667 and took four years to complete. It was the first dam built specifically to supply water to a navigable canal and was certainly the most important single work of civil engineering undertaken during the building of the Canal du Midi.
Nowadays it is an escape for the people of Revel and neighbouring cities as far away as Toulouse to enjoy during the summer months and whenever the weather is pleasant. There are a couple of restaurants around the lake. Restaurant le 20, at 20 avenue Pierre Paul Riquet is lovely, with views of the lake. You can enjoy a walk around the lake before or after lunch and get lost in the park and feel like you are a million miles away. Visit https://www.facebook.com/le20revel for reservations and information.
Le Resevoir is a discovery area all about the Canal du Midi, installed in the former Maison de l’Ingénieur at the foot of the dike of the Saint-Ferréol dam.
Visit https://lereservoir-canaldumidi.fr/ for details.
It is closed to the public during the months of January February and March. At other times of the year you can visit this interesting and informative centre located in the pretty park at the lake. Note that every ten years or so the lake is drained and refilled. The next time will be in 2026.
Revel along with the lac St Ferréol is a perfect weekend day trip destination from Toulouse, a great stopping off point on the way to or from the seaside (albeit with a slight detour) and also a nice alternative route to or from Carcassonne via the Pink city (again with a slight detour). The surrounding countryside is lovely and there are places to visit nearby of interest, notable Sorèze with its abbey and a selection of hiking trails.
I hope that you have enjoyed this post about Revel and the wonderful Saturday market. I would go myself but I am still testing positive for Covid, and viewing this lovely autumn weather through the window.
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A bientôt……………………….. Christina.