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Guide to Midi-Pyrenees France

Mid Pyrenees is a district introduced by the French authorities in recent times to provide a hinterland for it’s capital Toulouse, it sweeps north from the rugged snow capped mountains of the Pyrenees at the Basque borderland with Spain to the foothills of the Massif Central. This region is the largest in France and yet it is also the least populated. This is a region of beautiful hills, river valleys, red stone, old fortified villages, castles and towns with picturesque narrow cobbled streets and a seemingly endless list of history. Located in the South West corner of France between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, it is often referred to as the land where the living is good. There are approximately 2.5 million residents of Mid Pyrenees with over 40 % of them living in Haute Garonne. Toulouse the capital city boasts a population of 650,0000.

The climate of this area is variable, summers can be very hot and winters extremely cold. The autumn months are noted for heavy rainfall.

Holiday home ownership in this region is very high, in fact in a recent survey, it was discovered that as much as 50% of the property in the department of Lot was actually being used as holiday homes. Prices have risen in recent years and Lot is more expensive that the other departments but surprisingly, prices are still below the national average and there are plenty of bargains to be had. Parcels of land, some with planning permission are also readily available should you desire to build your own home. As well as the influx of holiday home owners, this region plays host to as many as 6 million religious pilgrims each year, Lourdes is a very important religious shrine where in 1858 a 14 year old school girl, Bernadette Soubirous had a serious of religious visions. A basilica has been built on the site to accommodate the sheer volume of visitors and property rental around the village of Lourdes is very popular.

The region is predominantly rural in appearance and has a landscape that is dotted with romantic villages situated on rocky cliffs. It has been the birthplace and has provided inspiration to a number of famous French artists such as Ingres & Toulouse- Latrec. It has many fine art museums and can still boast preserved pieces of architecture from the Roman Gothic & Renaissance periods. Midi Pyrenees has a wide range of natural sites from the Pyrenees to the valley of the Dordogne and from such well known names as Gascony through to Gorges du Tarn. When moving to or visiting this area you will notice how friendly the local people are, the region has a sense of spontaneity and fun about it. They say this is the land where the living is good and certainly the food and wine are good This area is famous for it’s gastronomic delights and the quality of produce is unquestionable, until recently small amounts of food being produced by small individual firms was seen as a major handicap,, now it is considered desirable as quality can be assured. Here you will sample foie gras, cassoulet, roquefort and be able to wash it all down with the splendid local wines; Fronton,Gaillic, Cahors and of course Armagnac,

Although this is an area is mainly given over to agriculture, Toulouse is an important centre for the aeronautics and space industries and many thousands of jobs are provided by these concerns and their location in this area is of paramount importance to the local economy. Airbus the aeroplane manufacture has it’s global headquarters in Toulouse and this area has witnessed not just the maiden flights of Concorde but more recently the A380 Airbus super jet. Toulouse has a reputation as being a young dynamic city, certainly the population are younger and better educated. a short drive in to the country from this city and you could be stepping back centuries, gone is the fast paced city life and you are in hilly country side of Gascony or Lauragais and the sleepy villages that the region is famous for.

Midi-Pyrenees is bordered in both the north and south by mountains and the Pyrenees form a natural barrier with Spain. These mountains stretch for 270 miles from the bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean sea. Located within this area is the Pyrenees national park which covers 460000 hectares. The region also boasts three national parks which provide plenty of out door activities for the holiday home owner. There are approximately 30 ski resorts in the Pyrenees including the well known Superbagneres and Mourtis. Generally speaking they are quieter and cheaper than the Alpine resorts but never the less, they are very popular. The Pyrenees offers fantastic opportunities for walking and relaxing, the scenery is hard to beat anywhere and there are plenty of towns and villages dotted around if you are in need of refreshment.

Guide to Midi-Pyrenees France- Departments

09 Ariege

12 Aveyon

31 Haute-Garonne

32 Gers

46 Lot

65 Hautes- Pyrenees

81 Tarn

82 Tarn et Garonne

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