Drive around the gaillacois vineyard in a 2cv
A day of pure happiness
- AOC Gaillac, one of Occitania's great vineyards
- A "Vignobles & Découvertes"-certified destination
- Castelnau-de-Montmiral and Puycelsi, two of the "most beautiful villages of France"
1ST STOP: THE DOMAINE SARRABELLE
A treat for the eyes and the taste buds
Departing from Albi, head towards L'Isle-sur-Tarn; the first stop is 30 km along the way. The blue ribbon of the Tarn is in the foreground. Behind it are the hills draped with vines and crowned by a chapel built on the ruins of a castle fort. Nearby, right there, is the Sarrabelle spring... it's a magnificent scene. This is the idyllic setting for a very beautiful wine estate: the Domaine Sarrabelle owned by Laurent and Fabien Caussé.
The brothers are the 8th generation of winegrowers on this estate. They will be delighted to introduce you to the three ranges of wine that they make in the purest Tarn tradition. Their wine is aged in casks, but that's not all... part of their output is vinified in amphorae. Once you've packed a few bottles of this delicious nectar into the car boot, you can hit the road again!
Without Gaillac, there would be no champagne! The Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint-Michel in Gaillac invented the world's first sparkling wines. On his way through the region, Dom Pérignon learned the process and later used it to develop Champagne wines.
2ND STOP: CASTELNAU-DE-MONTMIRAL
The 2CV shakes about a bit on the road and sways on the bends, wavers for a moment, then returns to its straight course towards Castelnau-de-Montmiral. This is a typical Occitan bastide or fortified town, which has stood at the top of a modest mountain since the 13th century.
Modest but marvellous, as Montmirail means "marvellous mountain". The perfect place to stop and enjoy the delicious local specialities in store for us.
STOP FOR LUNCH IN CASTELNAU-DE-MONTMIRAL
Head to Le Ménagier
This table on a terrace in the arcades of Castelnau-de-Montmiral's charming town square looks like the perfect place to satisfy our appetite. This is Le Ménagier, a very fine local restaurant. The inside of the restaurant is just as welcoming, if the weather isn't so good.
Gérard Garrigues, the owner and a real cordon bleu chef, brilliantly prepares local cuisine with deep roots in the South-West. For a perfect food and wine pairing, ask for advice and let him guide you!
The menu when we visited:
- Girolle mushroom cream soup
- Foie gras shavings and toasted hazelnuts
- Fig shortbread and verbena ice cream
A real treat!
In Castelnau-de-Montmiral, the restaurant Le Ménagier is celebrating the season by offering a gastronomic autumn menu featuring the best products from the market: chestnuts, scallops "jubilatoires", hare, pears... all the ingredients promise a great culinary experience.
3RD STOP: PUYCELSI
The enchanted village
The uphill road to Puycelsi doesn't scare our old 2CV, which seems to sprout wings. Perched on its rocky overhang above the vineyards, surrounded by ramparts, one of the "most beautiful villages of France" (Puycelsi is "plus beaux villages de France"-certified) certainly knows how to inspire admiration. And when it finally reveals its charms, what a delight it is to discover its 14th and 15th-century stone houses. Why not drop everything and move here? We dare you!
Where to sleep and eat, what to do?
Here is all the practical information about hiring your own vintage 2CV, and contact details for the Tourist Office. They will be able to give you information and a selection of places that will make your experience unforgettable, picked just for you!
Where to rent your 2CV ?
La Vadrouille Albigeoise
173 avenue François Verdier – 81000 Albi
Tél. : 07 82 31 27 65