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Fiona Hilliard

1. Limoux-Scene
The pretty town of Limoux is within a one-hour’s drive of Toulouse. Limoux is a market town, situated on the River Aude.

The town is perhaps most famous for its winter festival (known as Fécos), which takes place between January and Easter each year. At any time of the year, visitors to Limoux will find a wide range of restaurants and eateries to suit every budget and taste. Locals here spend many hours lounging around at cafés in and around the Place de la Republique in the town square. The town’s thriving café culture comes to life during the Fécos, when colourful clowns duck in and out of establishments, followed by bands of cheery musicians. Meanwhile, Place dela Republique hosts a weekly market, where it’s possible to purchase cheap local produce such as cheese and wine.

2. Albi Back
Albi is the capital of the Tarn departément and is situated 80 kilometres to the northeast of Toulouse. The medieval town is famous as being the birthplace of artist Toulouse Lautrec and today is known as the home of the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum. The museum houses more than 1000 pieces of the artist’s works, including 31 of his famous commercial posters.

A walk through the city offers the chance to check out the city’s distinctive pinkish- coloured Languedoc style brickwork. Buildings of particular interest include: Sainte Cécile Cathedrale, which pertains to be the world’s largest single brickwork construction.

Golfers will enjoy a round at Golf d’Albi Lasbordes, which is the longest 18-hole golf course in the Tarn departément.

3. Pretty Penne
La Penne’s appeal is its simple setting amongst rolling hills and patchwork fields. The village has an interesting history, dating back to medieval times. A walk around the town is one way to while away a few hours. Attractions include Saint-Roch church and its charming chiming bell tower which dates back to the 13th century. The impressive donjon tower which looms above the village is also worth a look.

Lunch at L’Auberge de la Penne is a special treat which offers low cost local organic fare, as well as panoramic views of Gorge d’Aveyron.

4. Heavenly St Antonin
The picturesque village of St Antonin is situated on the banks of the Aveyron and is ideally suited to a range of sporting activities including angling, fishing and walking. The peaceful town can be reached by hire car, within a one-hour drive of Toulouse. A colourful market is held on Sunday mornings in the town, where market traders offer the best of local produce like Couer Fidéle de St Antonin gourmet cheese at a discount price.

Fiona Hilliard is a freelance journalist and writer who specialises in writing travel features for print and on-line media. Car Hire Toulouse

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