Rabastens, cathar and wine country the Tarn

We are in the area of the south west or Sud Ouest of my belle France, waving our way thru wonderful country.  Here again wine and cathar history mingle, the cathars are gone but the wine remains in the appellation of Gaillac. This is a repost from 2015 , the birth region of my dear late wife Martine, late father Pierre.

Lets talk a bit about Rabastens, yes, it is in the Tarn department no 81 in the region of Occitanie.  It sits half way between Toulouse and Gaillac on the D988 or old N88 road, easily done and parking by the long promenade in city center close to Hotel de Ville.  You can use the fast A68 to the village of Coufouleux ,exit or sortie 7 on road D12 ,where the train station is before entering Rabastens, only 800 meters (2640 ft) from city center.  The train station is at gare de Rabastens-Coufouleux , which is a close village of Rabastens.  The webpage for the TER Occitanie  https://www.ter.sncf.com/occitanie/gares/87615328/Rabastens-Couffouleux/prochains-departs . The bus system is the TarnBus, and it covers the town bus No 702 from Albi or Gaillac, with webpage  http://tarnbus.tarn.fr/

It is an old town as such in the area, been inhabited by Visigoths from which it takes its “ens”. The Cathar or Albigeois was big here as the city was considered a center of heresy!  By the treaty of Paris of 1229 the city is forced to destroyed its religious buildings. The war of the Hundred years by 1337 does a lot of damage and many perished under it force, by 1450 the end of the war, the new discovery of pastel or the teint in textiles gave the city a new birth, but then again the war of Religion of 1561 the city is a center of protestanism and suffer heavy damages.  The peace in 1563 does not stop here what is started in Paris with the massacre of St Barthelomy.  Finally the cave or cellars of wine in 1953 gives the wine back to the city and its a source of prosperous times still today.


Some of the things to see and do here are the Hôtel de Ville or mayors’ office an old prayer house and tower of the 16C; and the Museum or musée du pays Rabastinois house in the mansion or hôtel particulier of the 17C, it contains collections of archeology, art and local history, and exhibitions of ancient and contemporary art, the webpage in the region’s webpage in French https://musees-occitanie.fr/musees/musee-du-pays-rabastinois/  info Hôtel de la Fite, 2 rue Amédée Clausade . Open tuesdays to fridays from 10h -12h and 14h-18h, saturdays,sundays and holidays from 15h -18h. Closed in December and January.


The must church in town and listed on the route to Santiago or the road to St James de Compostela is Notre Dame du Bourg, it has wonderful stained glass paintings showing the religious life real or legendary of  James the Mayor or St James. The oldest part dates from the 13C completely done in red brick.  There is the official site here: http://rabastens-notredamedubourg.fr/


You have a wonderful district or quartier du Bourg with old quaint medieval streets looking into the river Tarn,especially rue Gouzy, a lovely red brick bridge, and the gorgeous ramparts that show the fortifications of old at quai des remparts, and the district or quartier du Chateau; the oldest in town, limits of the quai des rempartsquai de la Libération ,and quai du descargadou. This is a great town to walk its ramparts and medieval streets especially in spring time. Lovely.

rabastens hotel particulier rue du pont de Plo cc

For shopping the best is the winery at 33 rue d’Albi, its actually a cooperative where many small winegrowers (about 150) pull their resources to make a delicious wine, well known in France. The Cave de Rabastens, lovely appellation Gaillac from indigenous grapes of the region like the Mauzac for whites. See the webpage of the union of cooperatives Vinovalie here: http://www.vinovalie.com/caves


The tourist page for the town of Rabastens is at https://www.tourisme-vignoble-bastides.com/en/towns-villages/rabastens

Again the tourist office for the department 81 Tarn is at https://www.tourisme-tarn.com/uk/things-to-do/unmissable-attractions/towns-villages-bastides/

And the region Occitanie tourist office is at  https://www.tourism-occitanie.co.uk/eglise-notre-dame-du-bourg/rabastens

Have a wonderful trip in a gorgeous country of the Tarn, and of course pretty Rabastens!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!


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