Toulouse day trips- Cordes sur Ciel

This beautiful village is about one hour’s drive from Toulouse. Perched on top of a hill with gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside, Cordes sur Ciel is worth the climb. It is one of the very well preserved bastides of the area which was once known for leather and wool and other textiles.

Cordes sur Ciel

The village was founded by Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse in 1222 in the time of the Albigensian Crusade. As one of the original bastides in the area, Cordes grew rich during a period of wealth which lasted from 1280 to 1350. These boom times saw the construction of the lovely, elaborate gothic buildings.

Later on, during the religious wars in the XVI century and after the construction of the Canal du Midi, Cordes sur Ciel was cut off from the trade route through South West France. The inhabitants were able to protect the magnificent patrimony and architectural marvels despite the economic turndown.

village snapshots of Cordes sur Ciel

During the Second World War, a groupe of artists led by the painter Yves Brayer helped to revive Cordes and inspire a sort of renaissance. In 1993 Cordes officially became Cordes sur Ciel and is to this day one of the most significant medieval cities in France, classed as a “Grands Site Occitanie”.

There are a number of artists and artisans living in Cordes sur Ciel nowadays, many of whom have shops and ateliers for you to visit.

Cordes sur Ciel is located in an area nicknamed the Tuscany of Occitanie. It’s less than half an hour from the episcopal city of Albi, which can easily be included in your day trip from Toulouse. If you plan to spend more time in the area you will find that there are other hilltop villages, in the Tarn. It is also very close to Gaillac, another wonderful day trip from Toulouse.

Myself, enjoying the spring sunshine

As it was a Monday in March there were few restaurants open so we opted to venture on to Albi and lunch at Alchimy, and were not disappointed. It’s a 4* hotel and restaurant with great service and great food, and most importantly for us vegetarian fare.

Albi, always a delight.

I hope that you have enjoyed this post about day tripping from Toulouse and that you will be able to visit Cordes sur Ciel and Albi on your visit to the South West of France.

Follow me to keep up with me on my travels around beautiful Occitanie………….à bientôt Christina.

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