Discover the Natural Parks of Midi-Pyrénées

Outstanding ! This is the word that comes to mind when you walk through the great regional parks of the Midi-Pyrénées region.

Open, alive, forward-looking, our regional natural parks are neither reserves nor ivory towers. They are essentially mountainous or rural areas, which natural and cultural heritage has been recognized as both exceptional and fragile.

A vast portion of the Midi-Pyrénées region is occupied by its four regional natural parks : Les Grands Causses, le Haut-Languedoc, les Pyrénées Ariégeoises and les Causses du Quercy.

 

Les Grands Causses (“canyons”)

Created in 1995, this natural park includes the Pays de Millau (famous for its Viaduct), the Larzac Plateau, the Causse Noir, the Canyons of La Dourbie, the Pays de Roquefort, the Tarn valley, the Causse de Séverac and the Lévézou region with the largest lakes in France.

The potential for excursions is incredible. You can visit the cellars of Roquefort, ride the crystal-clear waters of the Tarn river on a canoe, try paragliding over the Millau Viaduct, explore the mysteries of the Templars in Larzac or be surprised by Micropolis, the City of Insects ! But the list also includes a visit to vineyards (Côtes de Millau) and serious bird-watching (vultures have been reintroduced in the canyons of the Jonte river)

 

Haut-Languedoc

The Haut-Languedoc natural park is at the crossroads of the Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon regions (which have recently been gathered into a super-region called Occitanie) laying on the Tran and Herault departments.

The Park offers an incredible geographic diversity, from arrid areas to moors, dense forests of beechwood and oak trees, granite formations, canyons and plateaus. It is home to an exceptional fauna and flora including 170 animal species, 250 species of birds and 2,500 species of flowers

To discover this kingdom, go hiking on the hollow trails of the Montagne Noire or climb the Peak of Nore, the highest point of the massif, at 1211 m altitude. The view is breathtaking !

 

Pyrénées Ariégeoises

In the heart of the Pyrénées, south of Toulouse, this natural park spreads over 250 000 hectares around Foix and Saint-Girons, in the Ariège department.

Created in 2009, the perimeter of the Regional Natural Park of the Pyrénées Ariégeoises borders Andorra and Spain to the South, with peaks that reach 3000 meters of altitude such as Mont Valier, Montcalm, Pique d’Estats …

This vast domain of hills, plateaus and mountains will make the happiness of the good walkers who will go towards Mount Valier or the ponds of Bassiès. However, the park’s beautiful valleys and forests are also accessible to all types of public. 38 remarkable sites are a 20-minute walk from the road, including the Col de la Core, the Balacet orientation table and the Lauradou Orus Rock near Auzat.

The natural park of the Pyrénées Ariégeoises also includes a very important prehistoric heritage in numerous caves, some of which are open to the public, such as Niaux and Mas d’Azil.

 

The Causses du Quercy

Created in 1999, the Causses du Quercy natural park (176,000 hectares) signed in 2007 the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas.

From the abyss of Padirac to the village of Lalbenque, capital of the black truffle of Quercy, you will evolve in landscapes beautifully shaped by water: surface water of the Lot and Célé rivers as well as underground streams circulating in the cracks of the Limestone which created the canyons.

On the surface, it is an array of cliffs, canyons and vast expanses of pasture bordered by woods of small oaks. Under your feet lay countless springs. Not surprisingly this natural park is renowned for canoeing, climbing and caving.

Finally, some of the best sites of Midi-Pyrénées are here to visit : the city of Rocamadour, the village of Saint-Cirq-Lapopie and the cave of Pech Merle, as well as the cities of Cahors and Figeac, located at the outskirts of the Park.

Complete your discovery of Midi-Pyrénées with an incredible and unusual stay in a French Chateau.

Château de Saint-Martory is located south of Toulouse, 20 minutes away from the Pyrénées Ariégeoises and its mountainous wonders. It is one of the best South France holiday destinations.

This 500-year old early French Renaissance castle offers a spectacular setting for your family reunion and a unique combination of gastronomy, culture, elegant living spaces and gorgeous historical suites. Lifestyle at its best.

Learn more about Saint-Martory here.