Cordes sur Ciel and medieval towns: holidays in the fortified villages of Occitania | Tourism in Occitania

Tourism in Occitania: Holidays in the South of France

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Hilltop bastides

Cordes et Cités médiévales (Tarn)

Why visit Cordes sur Ciel?

  • The Gothic architecture of a bastide packed with legends.
  • Its honesty and craftsmen.
  • Its Fêtes du Grand Fauconnier Festival in July.
  • Neighbouring medieval towns: Castelnau-de-Montmiral, Puycelsi, Penne, Bruniquel.
  • Close to Albi (30 mins).

« Travellers watching the summer night sky from the Cordes terrace realise they don't need to go any further and that, if they want, the beauty here will lift them out of their solitude day after day » - Albert Camus.

Cordes sur Ciel
Cordes sur Ciel


Get to grips with Cordes sur Ciel

Explore Cordes sur Ciel on foot. Take your time climbing up its steep cobbled lanes with your head in the clouds. Soak up every inch of the colourful medieval setting with elaborate Gothic buildings.

25km from Albi in the Tarn, this is one of the oldest bastides in Occitania, founded in 1222 by Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse. Nestled on the rocky Puech de Mordagne ridge, Cordes brings you unforgettable views of Cérou Valley from the top of its ramparts.

Maison du Grand Fauconnier
Maison du Grand Fauconnier


You'll be amazed by their details

Cordes sur Ciel is a gem carved into stone. Admire the sculpted walls of the Maison du Grand Fauconnier, Maison du Grand Ecuyer and Maison du Grand Veneur. It is famous for the hunting scene sculpted on the 2nd floor. Be sure to stop at the Maison Prunet on Place de la Bride and its staggering panorama.

As a town for wealthy traders, Cordes has inherited their luxury houses. Every period of Gothic architecture appears here: from primitive and 13th century to the dawn of the 14th century and the flamboyant 15th century.


Cordes is famous for its legends that are literally written in stone: sculpted creatures, St James signs, alchemist symbols and Cathar references. Open your eyes!

Les Fêtes du Grand Fauconnier
Les Fêtes du Grand Fauconnier


This is the good life!

Cordes-sur-Ciel has always attracted artists and artisans to its magical setting. Step into workshops home to potters, painters and jewellery makers. Quiz the artisans about wood and leather. There are also art galleries and museums in the town. Visit the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art or the Sugar and Chocolate Art Museum by Yves Thuriès! Be sure not to miss the Medieval Festivals: you'll join the rest of the village and its locals in the Middle Ages!

Our favourite

Try a Croquant de Cordes, the ultimate local speciality made from flour, egg white, sugar, almonds and a dash of mystery to make it unique!

Le village de Penne


Go on a medieval town road trip

There are countless medieval towns in Cordes Country, often on the hilltops. The fortified town of Puycelsi is listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France alongside the bastide of Castelnau-de-Montmiral.

Two gems lie 40 mins from Cordes sur Ciel in the Gorges de l’Aveyron: Penne and its 10th century château (under renovation) and Bruniquel. Sitting on the top of a cliff, Bruniquel châteaus, where The Old Gun was filmed, are the first things that grab your attention. The magic continues as you wander around the medieval town built in stages. Absolutely unmissable!

Did you know?

In 2017, structures dating back 176,500 years were discovered in Bruniquel Cave making them the oldest in the history of mankind to date! The cave isn't open to visitors but there's a room devoted to it at the Bruniquel châteaus.

Travel back in time

Join Margot from the youMAKEfashion blog and Romain Costa as they visit Cordes sur Ciel, named France's Favourite Village in 2014 during a famous TV show. Video 1:03 © TarnTourisme.

Worth the detour

The AOC Gaillac vineyards span from the Tarn's banks to the foot of Cordes sur Ciel. There are vineyards and wineries where it's a joy to stop and heighten the pleasure of exploring the town and its surrounding villages.

Find out more

Cordes et Cités médiévales
Cordes et Cités médiévales
Cordes et Cités médiévales
Cordes et Cités médiévales
Cordes et Cités médiévales
Cordes et Cités médiévales
Cordes et Cités médiévales
Cordes et Cités médiévales

Our selection

Rental accommodation

Le Secret du Chat - chambre d'hôtes


Charming guesthouses are nestled against the southern ramparts. Wine tasting sessions, electric bike hire, massages.

Rental accommodation

Gîte "Le Pigeonnier de Joanny"


Gîte "Le Pigeonnier de Joanny" with swimming pool located in nature, on the plateau of Causse in the...

Latitude: 44.063602000000
Longitude: 1.950363000000
How to get there

Cordes sur Ciel is 85km north-east of Toulouse in the Tarn.

  • By car : from Toulouse, take the A68 to Gaillac then the D922 to Cordes. Take the A20 from Paris and exit at Caussade. It's a 3 hr drive from Montpellier via Rodez and Carmaux.
  • By plane : from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (approximately 90km). Rodez-Marcillac Airport is 75 mins away on the main road.
  • By train : Cordes-Vindrac station is 5km from the old town with daily TER regional train connections from Toulouse, Albi and Brive.