Maison Lavande |
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Useful links for
for information on bed and breakfasts (chambres d'hotes) in France.
Maison Lavande a luxury bed and breakfast in the South of
France. A family-run chambres d'hotes in south west France, we
cater for up to two couples. bed and breakfast ideal for
de-stressing, relaxing and pampering. Great for property hunting
airports: Rodez: Rodez -Marcillac Airport Tel.:
+33 (0)5 65 76 02 00
airport is the main aerial platform in Sud Massif-Central with
over 145,800 passengers in 2004.
Shuttle to Paris-Orly (BritAir/Air France): schedules
3 dailies (flight time: 60 minutes)
Shuttle to Lyon-St Exupéry (Hex'Air): 2 dailies (flight time: 40
minutes) : schedules
Shuttle to London/Stansted (Ryanair):
1 daily (flight time: 135 minutes): schedules
Airport - +33 1 70 46 74 74 from abroad or 0 825 380 000 (€0,15
MIN/INC. VAT) from France
About.com: Your French Lodging is chambres d'hotes.
You like to feel at home, even when on the road. The chambres
d'hotes, much like the American bed and breakfast, is lodging in
which the proprietor has a few rooms in his or her home. You
usually dine at night with the owner and fellow guests. It is a
wonderful way to truly get to know the French people and have a
more authentic experience.
When you visit France it
is useful knowing that a bed and breakfast holiday location is
called a chambres d'hotes. Chambres d'hotes literally translates
as 'room and breakfast'. You may also come across maison d'hotes.
Table d'hotes means breakfast table.
A "chambres d'hôtes"
is a room in a house almost always with breakfast and often with
the possibilithy of having other meals, so comes closest to "bed
Words you might search for: "Maison lavande,
chambres d'hotes, Holiday, bed and
breakfast, Bnb, French, France, South France, st
antonin noble val, St antonin noble val, rural, retreat, tarn
et garonne, tarn et garrone, Aveyron"
with thanks to www.midi-maisons.com
Tarn 81 –Tarn et Garonne 82 – Aveyron 12 – Lot 46
Situated in the Northern half of the Tarn département, Cordes is
perhaps the best known of the bastides (fortified medieval
towns), built dramatically on a hill in the Cérou valley. It is
fascinating to wander round; in fact it is one of the region’s
prime tourist attractions, and is well served with shops,
facilities and cultural activities. It is near here that our
Tarn office is located.
The Gaillacois, the wine-producing area around the town of
Gaillac, consists of rolling countryside largely given over to
vineyards, pretty villages, and fine rural properties built of
limestone. With its proximity to Toulouse, and its popularity
with the wealthier classes, this is premium price territory,
especially the so-called ‘golden triangle’ between Cordes,
Gaillac and Albi.
Albi is the main town of the Tarn where the prefecture is
located. It is also a pleasant town to visit, with its famous
cathedral built entirely of local bricks, and the surrounding
old town being well supplied with shops, boutiques, and
To the south west of Albi, is an area of rolling agricultural
land with the Black Mountains as a southern backdrop. Lautrec is
probably this area’s Cordes, a medieval town in a scenic
setting. To the east of here is higher ground with wooded hills
and steep valleys, known as the Sidobre. It is probably the
wildest part of the Tarn, an area of lakes and woods popular
with walkers and canoers.
East of Cordes in the area around St Antonin-Noble-Val (Tarn et
Garonne) the scenery becomes more dramatic with the Gorges of
the Aveyron, and the thickly wooded hills bordering the Aveyron
valley. Again this is prized territory with some finely restored
properties. The scenery between here and Najac (Aveyron) is more
open and wild with fine views. Here you will find villages like
Verfeil and Parisot.
Where the Aveyron and Viaur rivers meet is the village of
Laguépie, a local communications centre with a weekly market, a
good range of shops and a train station.
To the north and east of Cordes you come into an area known as
the Ségala, with rolling farmland, mainly used as pasture for
cattle. This area covers the northern reaches of the Tarn and
into the Aveyron, and is known for its veal and for its
chestnuts. It is criss-crossed by steep wooded valleys, notably
the Viaur valley, where time almost seems to have stopped. Here
you will find ruined castles clinging to the valley sides. It’s
a more rustic area where your money will go further, but you are
still not far from the urban attractions of Albi.
Apart from its magnificent scenery, the highlights of our part
of the Aveyron département are Najac, a fine medieval village
and castle set on a saddle of land, Sauveterre-de-Rouergue with
its magnificent colonnaded market square, and
Villefranche-de-Rouergue, known for its excellent weekly market,
which fills its streets every Thursday.
It’s hard not to get distracted by the scenery, in a region
where the next bend might reveal a fortified chateau topped with
turrets looking like witches’ hats, or perhaps a flock of
Lacaune sheep – source of the world-famous Roquefort cheese. But
Aveyron is no longer quite as isolated as it once was with
direct flights from London Stansted to Rodez, Aveyron’s chief
town with Ryanair. What better way of arriving in la France
My normal route into Aveyron takes me across the River Viaur, a
steeply wooded valley that feels almost untouched by the passage
of time. This was once the front line in the religious war
between the true Catholics in Rouergue (the old name for this
part of Aveyron) and the heretic Cathar Albigeois. Romantic
ruined castles, like that of Roumégous, stand silent witness to
seven centuries of rivalry, fortunately now limited to
grievances about the Albigeois invading on sunny autumn Sundays
to pick mushrooms and forest fruits. The Viaur valley has few
roads either along or across it, so preserving its ‘out of the
way’ feel. You can walk the randonnées, or canoe down the river,
appreciating its beauty in peace.
Najac, an exquisite village dominating the Aveyron valley, has
had its share of strife in times gone by. It’s no accident that
the castle dominates the village, for it was built in medieval
times by the nascent French crown to intimidate and subjugate
the wild people of Rouergue. Now it looks out over a tranquil
valley well appreciated by French and foreigners alike. It’s a
place on the summer tourist trail, with excellent restaurants,
and a large open-air swimming pool – making it a perfect staging
post for walkers following the grande randonnée running north
from Cordes, or for travellers aboard the picturesque rail line
that runs between Toulouse and Brive.
Following the railway and the Aveyron valley north, you come to
Villefranche-de-Rouergue, an ancient fortified town with narrow
cobbled streets and a wonderful arcaded square, all of which
become crowded every Thursday morning by one of the largest
street markets in France. There are treats on the stalls to whet
your appetite, or maybe even to turn your stomach – depending on
The land to the east of Villefranche is known as the Ségala, an
area that transcends departmental boundaries extending from
North Tarn to Southern Lot. It is named after seigle (rye), the
only crop – apart from chestnuts – that would grow in its acid
soil before the use of lime. Nowadays it’s an area famed for its
beef and veal, with pastureland crossed by steep wooded valleys,
and wide open vistas that, on exceptionally clear days, stretch
from the volcanoes of the Cantal to the Pyrenees – a distance of
250 miles. The English have been here before – the last time
burning churches in the 13th century, but all that
seems to have
North of Rodez you come to the Marcillac valley, a climatically
favoured place where vineyards cling to the steep slopes above
bustling villages with sandstone houses matching the colour of
the soil. Where there’s wine, there’s wealth, and fine manor
houses and chateaux show that this was once an economically
favoured part of an otherwise poor département. Again this area
provides good walking and sightseeing. Its sights include the
abbey town of Conques, one of the architectural treasures of
France, which lies on a pilgrimage route to Santiago de
Property values remain reasonable compared to other better-known
areas of France, but you may have to be prepared to do some work
on the cheaper properties, as their condition is often quite
With its new transport links, its natural beauty and its
traditions, Aveyron is a département with immense appeal –
particularly for British Francophiles in search of their share
of rural peace. For practical information on the département,
including areas not covered in this article, why not take a look
We also get properties in the southern part of the Lot
département around the Lot valley and the charming little town
of Figeac on the river Célé. Away from the river valleys, this
is primarily limestone causse country with oakwoods – great for
wildflowers in springtime – and good for typical limestone
Lotois houses with pigeonniers.
A final word of advice: it's impossible to convey the diversity
of this rich part of France. It's a good idea to visit and get
an idea for yourself of what it's like, and where you might wish
to be before visiting properties. It's perhaps the most
enjoyable part of your research!
Existing from at least the 5th
century BC, Rodez was founded by the
(fortified place) was renamed Segodunum, while in
late Imperial times it was known as Civitas Rutenorum,
whence the modern name. After the fall of the
Western Roman Empire,
it was captured by the
and then by the
being also ravaged by the Arabs in 725. Later it was
occupied by the armies of the
Dukes of Aquitaine
and of the
Counts of Toulouse.
English troops occupied Rodez during the
Hundred Years War.
However, in medieval times the
city's history was marked by strong rivalry between the
Bishops of Rodez,
who exerted their authorities in different sectors of the
city, divided by a wall. The counts were able to defy the
royal French authority until the submission of count
by the future King
in the 15th century. In the following century bishop
The last count of Rodez, Henry VI
of Rodez, who became
Henry IV of France,
sold his title to Royal Crown in 1589. The city remained a
flourishing merchant centre up to the 18th century, but it
lost much of its importance when
was made prefecture capital in the wake of the
Guide to Aveyron
With thanks to www.travelandleisure.com
Almost forgotten for centuries, this sparsely populated
département in the south of France stretches over a wildly
varied landscape of medieval villages, adventurous terrain, and
fairy tale– worthy hotels.
From September 2007
By Marcelle Clements
Clearly, it is always a mistake to arrive in a French provincial
capital on a Sunday, unless you are looking to understand why
Madame Bovary felt she had to have some action or die. There is
no slower clock in all of space and time than that which ticks
and tocks in the south of France on the day of rest, and no bell
tolls with less urgency than that of the cathedral in Rodez.
Mind you, this bell tower, rising up nearly 300 feet and
surmounted by a Virgin, is a sumptuous gem of late Gothic
Flamboyant style, surging out of a colossal red sandstone
edifice begun in the 13th century and finished in the 16th.
Three hundred years! Why the hurry? But then, that's one of the
attractions of medieval architecture, created by people who
didn't even have a word for the future or a concept of progress.
The only escape from the present was eternity.
In the shadow of the Rodez cathedral, the Place d'Armes is
deserted. I am the sole customer in the one open café. Luckily,
I order a traditional Aveyron dish called aligot, for which an
astonishingly elastic local cheese is slowly stirred into
garlicky mashed potatoes, producing a dense, instantly addictive
purée. It's comforting enough to push aside thoughts of eternity
and even my anxiety about the immediate future: figuring out a
trajectory for the next few weeks with a guidebook that fails to
tell me much of anything about most of the points on the map,
not to mention the wide spaces between.
It's very quiet here.
Aveyron, with Rodez at its center, is perhaps the least-known
département in France, one of the biggest and most sparsely
populated. "Even in the summer," local people say, "there are
still more cows here than tourists." Few Americans have heard of
it unless they remember that François Truffaut's film The Wild
Child was based on the true story of Victor of Aveyron, a young
boy who was found in 1798 in the forest, hirsute and mute. I
myself knew next to nothing about it, although I often travel in
France, where I was born. This is la France profonde, the
heartland, which Parisians seldom visit and cannot fathom, where
there is some of the world's most stunning, geologically diverse
countryside—much of it unspoiled. Aveyron is in the rugged Midi-Pyrénées
region in the south, and part of the Massif Central, a huge
elevation formed by fire and ice. Peaceful lakeside resorts are
an hour's drive from vertiginous peaks, waterfalls, and
mind-blowing chasms, under which flow subterranean rivers. Deep
valleys alternate with eerie and vast limestone plateaus, or
segue into undulating meadows, peat bogs, and hot springs. Some
of Aveyron's caves are big enough to shelter the Rodez
Aveyron has five bastides—planned walled towns that
were the first urban experiments, built in the 13th century—and
304 communes (more or less equivalent to counties), some a mere
handful of houses hanging on to a cliff, others nestled among
the caves where prehistoric people lived, still others clustered
near thermal baths or scattered downhill from a 12th-century
fortress. Ten villages in Aveyron (the highest concentration in
any department) meet the 30-odd criteria required to be
officially included among the "Most Beautiful Villages of
When to Go
Fall and spring in Aveyron have heavenly weather and few crowds.
But in summer, the water sports and hiking are just as enticing.
Fly to London or Paris and catch one of the daily connecting
flights or the train to Rodez. Or take the high-speed train (TGV)
from Paris to Montpellier, and rent a car for the 1 1/2-hour
drive to Millau, which takes you over the Millau Viaduct.
Plan to drive, bike, or hike between villages; in the more
bucolic areas there is little in the way of bus or taxi service.
What to Do
There is no good guidebook to Aveyron, so you'll want to rely on
tourism offices for both advance and on-the-ground planning, not
just for additional sights and hotels but also for sports
outfitters of all kinds. They can show you how to follow the
pilgrims' road to St Jacques de Compostelle, for example, a
route that includes the magnificent abbey in Conques. Many
castles and fortresses offer tours. In Paris, contact Maison de
l'Aveyron (33-1/42-36-84-63; maison-aveyron.org). If you're
researching online, try the Comité Départemental du Tourisme de
l'Aveyron (tourisme-aveyron.com); their site will also provide a
list and interactive map of the region's Most Beautiful Villages
of France (a designation made by a historical preservation
association of the same name). The two biggest centers for
outdoor sports are Millau and Najac.
Caves of Roquefort
Micropolis City of Insects
St.-Léons; 33-5/65-58-50-50; micropolis.biz.
Office du Tourisme de Millau, 1 Place du Beffroi, Millau;
14 Place Raynaldi, Rodez; 33-5/65-73-84-30; musee-fenaille.com.
Site Archéologique de la Graufesenque
Where to Shop
Aveyron's famous Laguiole knives can be bought at the new
factory, designed by Philippe Starck,
Information about bed and breakfasts and Guest Houses
house is a kind of lodging. In some parts of the world a guest
house is similar to a chambres d'hotes or bed and breakfast. In other
parts of the world bed and breakfasts are the only kind of
accommodation available for visitors with no local relatives.
Among the distinguishing features that distinguish a guest house
from a hotel or bed and breakfast is the lack of full time
staff. Bed and breakfasts are usually family owned, with the
family living on the premises. Hotels maintain a staff presence
24x7. A bed and breakfast on the other hand will have limited
staff presence. Because of the limited staff presence checkin is
often by appointment.
Specialized courses in how to run bed and breakfast are
In Japan a tenant in a bed and breakfast has to pay a
substantial damage deposit, and has to pay a cleaning fee when
Bed & breakfast is commonly known to be a stay in a private home
when travelling abroad. It predates hotels, inns, guesthouses,
etc. There are several origins of bed and breakfast depending on
geography and culture.
In America and Europe, bed and breakfast was usually provided by
the local minister. There was, in the minister's home, the
"Bishop's room." It was a room reserved for the Bishop or other
important dignitary of the ministers denomination. It was nicer
than the rest of the home because of its expected occupants.
Whenever the Bishop visited the area he stayed in the Bishop's
room. When it was not so occupied the minister was free to use
the room for other occupants. Some did, others kept the room for
its intended use.
Ministers' made very little money, but usually had very nice
homes - mostly provided by their Church. One way they earned
money was to accept people travelling through their town,
village, etc. who needed a place to stay. The usual way this
happened was - the traveller wrote a letter to the minister
telling of their intended trip, the dates of their stay and
something about their background, occupation and references. It
was always good to have a reference from someone who could vouch
for the persons' character.
The minister wrote back and invited the traveller to stay in his
home, if he thought this was someone he could house for a very
short term stay. The traveller would write back to accept. There
was no fixed fee for the stay. When the traveller left the
ministers home, they usually left a sum of money discreetly on a
bureau in the bedroom where they stayed - which was the Bishop's
room. On many occasions money did not change hands, but the
traveller would have something to offer in trade - a farmer
could offer produce, animals, etc.
A boarding house is different from and has a different history
than a bed and breakfast. The boarding house was for longer term
stays, bed and breakfast was for people travelling through the
area on short stays.
One advantage of the bed and breakfast, which doesn't exist today
because of the prevalence of hotels was that it provided a
source of income for the home owner and the money stayed in the
Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with
private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite
bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which
is shared with another guest or sometimes more than one other
guest. Breakfast is served in the morning - either in the
bedroom or, more commonly, in a dining room, on a terrace or sun
porch or the host's kitchen.
B&B, chambres d'hotes, bed and breakfasts and guesthouses may be operated either as a secondary
source of income or a primary occupation. Staff can consist of
the home's owners and members of the family or you may find some
bed and breakfasts where the home's owners have hired cleaning,
cooking and other help to make a smooth operation if they are
otherwise employed or not able to do those chores. A property
which hires professional management is no longer a bed and
breakfast, but enters the category of Inn, Guest House or Small
Staying at a B&B can sometimes offer better access to locations
"off the beaten path" which may not be convenient to the city
center or other heavily travelled locations. B&B properties can
be located where larger lodging competitors may not place a
guest accommodation because of market conditions.
Because bed and breakfast has become such a popular concept and
the industry has grown so rapidly, hotels, inns and other
lodging possibilities adopt the generic "bed and breakfast" to
trade on the concept and to attract travellers, who want to
experience bed & breakfast, but are not ready to try other than
the hotel way of travel. That can result in a disappointment to
the traveller because it is misleading advertising. Often, in
such cases, breakfast is juice, coffee and a Danish pastry,
while in a private home breakfast is usually a substantial meal.
One major difference between bed and breakfasts and hotels has
to do with privacy and anonymity. Both offer and insure your
privacy. Hotels offer anonymity, while bed and breakfasts are
for people who want to interact with others or who, while
maintaining their privacy, are willing to give up anonymity for
the additional comforts offered in a home setting.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Coordinates: 44°09′10″N 1°45′21″E / 44.1527777778,
Commune of St-Antonin-Noble-Val
Old street in St-Antonin-Noble-Val
110 m–395 m
(avg. 300 m)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds,
glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: single count of residents of
multiple communes (e.g. students and military personnel).
St-Antonin-Noble-Val is a commune of the Tarn-et-Garonne
département, in south France.
Anciently known by its Celtic name of Condate (confluence),
legend recounts that the abbey of St-Antonin (Occitan: Sant
Antoní) was founded in the 9th century in honour of the St
who brought Christianity to the province of Rouergue, on the
western edge of which the town now stands. Successful in this,
he decided to convert Pamiers, his hometown in the Pyrenees. But
resistance there resulted in his beheading, following which his
body was thrown into the Ariège River.
Legend recounts that angels then descended from Heaven to
collect the pieces and place them in a boat which, miraculously,
floated downstream into the Garonne and on to where the Tarn
flows into it; then up the Tarn to its confluence with the
Aveyron and up through the Vallis Nobilis of the Aveyron Gorges
to the confluence of the little Bonnette river at a point where
the ancient lands and bishroprics of Rouergue, the Albigeois,
and Quercy meet. There the corpse was retrieved and reassembled
by Festus, the Count of Noble-Val, who placed the relics in a
reliquary-shrine, now lost.
The Benedictines started rebuilding the abbey in the 11th
century, and it was finished around 1150 or later. By the end of
the 12th century it passed into the control of Augustinian
Canons Regular. It must have been a very fine and prestigious
building, perhaps - to judge from the quality of the carving and
the stone of the surviving fragments - one to mention in the
same breath as Moissac to the south of the same département. The
old town hall (even as controversially restored by
Viollet-le-Duc) is also of very high quality - as shown by this
exquisite carving of Adam, Eve, the Serpent and the Tree of
The troubadour Raimon Jordan was the viscount of St-Antonin
in the late twelfth century, on the eve of the Albigensian
Crusade. The town, however, was taken by Simon de Montfort in
1212 during the Crusade. The Albigensian castle of Penne a few
kilometres downstream was burned by de Montfort and survives now
only as a romantic ruin overlooking the river Aveyron. In 1227
St Louis occupied St-Antonin which at this point enjoyed
great wealth. The town was besieged and taken by the English in
the 14th century, and subsequently suffered considerable damage
in the Wars of Religion in the late 16th and again in the early
17th century (former Cathar lands tending towards a
Protestantism which survives to this day, for there is a
Protestant 'temple' in St-Antonin), when the collegiate
church and the Stly relics were destroyed by anti-Catholic
mobs. It was presumably after the restoration of Catholicism in
the town that the corbels were placed on houses without risk of
destruction. It was at this time that Louis XIV renamed the town
St-Antonin-Noble-Val and financed important improvements.
The town was used as a location for the 2001 movie Charlotte
Gray, starring Cate Blanchett.
Maison Lavande offers luxury accomodation for your holiday in
both the Tarne et Garonne and Aveyron region, south france. Ideally located
near beautiful historical towns such as St Antonin Noble Val
and Corde it is the perfect place to relax and unwind Maison
Lavande: a most exemplary chambre d'hotes offering the very
best bed and breakfast in South France! Come and enjoy French
history and lifestyle and the most spectacular views in France!
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