THE BEST VIEWS OF MONTAUBAN
From the Tarn
Head to the Pont Vieux bridge in Montauban. Its arches have spanned the Tarn since the Middle Ages. This is where the town looks its best and shows off its orange brick architecture.
Right bank: the former bishop's palace housing the Ingres Museum, Natural History Museum, Saint-Jacques Church and former convents along the docks.
Left bank: mansions. They serve as a reminder that Montauban was home to wealthy traders despite its past as a Protestant safe zone which earned it the wrath of Louis XIII.
Montauban rebelled against Catholic authority and was besieged in 1621 by the royal army which it resisted gloriously. You can see the traces of cannonballs on Saint-Jacques Church at the bottom of the belltower!
Soak up the local lifestyle
Get the feel of Montauban at Place Nationale. Surrounded by double arcades, this splendid square with an Italian feel is still the beating heart of the town. A century before the bastide's heyday, the town was built on a checkerboard layout around this square in 1144.
The pedestrian streets around it lead you to little boutiques and food shops taking you past ornate entrances to luxury mansions teeming with architectural details that reflect Montauban's rich heritage.
The Heritage Centre has a fantastic permanent exhibition (“Montauban, portrait of a town”) as well as guided tours and countless activities for children and adults.
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A museum outside town
The Ingres Museum is one of the biggest in the Occitania region and housed in Montauban's former bishop's palace. It is currently under renovation. Ingres was born in Montauban in 1780 and is a master of French Classicism.
The sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, one of Rodin's students, was also born here in 1861. Until the museum reopens, explore the artworks in the Ancien Collège Chapel. Montauban Cathedral also has an Ingres masterpiece, "The Vow of Louis XIII".
Vist the Saturday market in the Allées du Consul Dupuy. Stock up on local produce in the shade of the plane trees in a land bursting with apples, cherries, Chasselas de Moissac AOC grapes, Quercy melons and more.
THE TOWN ON THE WATER'S EDGE
Port side and canal side
A 20 min walk from the town centre takes you to the Canal Port, Montauban's marina: a haven of peace where locals and tourists get together to enjoy nature. Read a book under the trees, walk along the banks, have a drink as you watch the boats come and go... The Tarn on one side... and the Montech Canal on the other linking to the Canal des Deux Mers in 11km and 11 locks! A lovely bike ride (bike hire at the port) along a green path on the former towpath.
A refreshing break in town with the Ingréo aquatic centre. Fun-filled indoor and outdoor aquatic areas, gyms, spas, pools (including an Olympic-sized one) and even a diving pit: it's great!
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See Montauban through fresh eyes
Take a guided cruise or permit-free boat trip through Ingres' town, duck under its 6 bridges then head off to experience the untamed Tarn and its biodiversity. The Tarn is teeming with fish and attracts countless bird species. Open your eyes! You may meet grey herons, egrets and kingfishers on your way.
Montauban is the capital of the Tarn-et-Garonne 45km north of Toulouse.
- By car: on the A62 (Bordeaux – Toulouse) or the A20 (Paris – Toulouse).
- By plane: from Toulouse Blagnac International Airport. Montauban/Blagnac shuttle buses take you to and from the airport.
- By train: Montauban is in the middle of railway lines for Bordeaux / Nice and Paris / Toulouse / Spain. There are countless connections from Montauban to Toulouse every day. It takes 4 hrs 45 mins to reach Paris by TGV train.
- By boat: from the Canal des Deux Mers take the Montech Canal to Montauban Port.