25 km from Albi, in the Tarn, the fortified village or bastide of Cordes-sur-Ciel winds its rocky outcrop like a ball of stone.
Dominating the Albigenses, Cordes-sur-Ciel lives in a privileged environment. The village is located at the crossroads of the AOC Gaillac vineyard and the immense primary forest of Grésigne (4000 hectares).
It is also at the center of a historic painting where stand out other small wonders such as the medieval villages of Puycelsi, Castelnau-de-Montmiral, Penne or Bruniquel in the gorges of Aveyron
Cordes-sur-Ciel is one of the oldest bastides of Occitanie / Pyrenees-Mediterranean and marked the region during the Middle Ages. It was founded in 1222 by Raimond VII, count of Toulouse. The latter wanted to erect, with this new city, a stronghold against the advance of troops from the north of France to eliminate the Cathars.
Quickly, Cordes-sur-Ciel, tax-free, enjoyed great prosperity through the trade of sheets, silks and leathers. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, merchants and nobles built luxurious mansions and other Gothic palaces protected by the formidable system of fortifications that the city wrapped up.
This Albigensian bastide is endowed, in its high part, of an exceptional built inheritance with superb gothic houses among which the house of Grand Fauconnier, the house Prunet and the house of the Grand Veneur.
Strolling along the steep streets, we can see the sculptures of the houses of Cordes-sur-Ciel. They are exceptional in their expressiveness and abundance. On the façades of ocher sandstone animate dragons, animals and strange characters: a language whose meaning, mysterious, makes prevail here a climate of legend.
The walk in the medieval city is a real delight, especially as the streets are lined with stalls artisans and artists’ galleries.
A place not to be missed! To browse Cordes is to discover a fabulous book of art and history inlaid in stone … Great authors, like Camus, have even fallen in love!
Voted “Village favorite of the French 2014”, this city of the thirteenth century, protected by a formidable system of fortifications, fascinates.
It is one of the most significant medieval towns in France and one of the most important European heritage sites.
It is today ranked among the Great Sites of Midi-Pyrenees!
Feel free to visit the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the Charles Portal Museum of Art and History, the Museum of Sugar and Chocolate Art (Yves Thuriès), and the Jardin des Paradis.
For children, do not miss the Historama Museum.