Cordes sur Ciel or is it heavens on Cordes!

And going back updating my older posts in my blog to take you again to beautiful Cordes sur Ciel. The story goes that met a native in the French consulat of Miami FL USA , while we were living there and members of Miami Accueil, and got the idea of one day visiting her town of which she spoked well of course. Well time came in my road warrior ways in the region to stop by Cordes sur Ciel or is it heavens on Cordes! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

The town of Cordes sur Ciel is very popular because it is beautiful.  Of course, I love it too. Let me tell you on the wonderful incredible little town of Cordes sur Ciel. This is an area of my dear late wife Martine father’s side family ,the Tarn! The city is in the department of Tarn No. 81 in the region of Occitanie. It was built in the year 1222 by Count Raymond VII of Toulouse as a place of Cathars ( The idea of two Gods or principles, one being good and the other evil, was central to Cathar beliefs opposed by the Catholic Church,) on a medieval layout of narrow and steep streets from which high above it , you can see the wonderful valley of the Cérou. It is a grand site of the region on the route to Saint James/Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage.

Cordes sur ciel grand rue PF MF jul10

On the road N122 on the left bank of the Cérou river tributary of the Aveyron you are in about 1h15 from Toulouse. The local roads are good but a bit narrow, on the D600 by Vindrac to Albi, and the D922 links the town with Gaillac and connects with the A680 to Toulouse, the one we like to take. There is a train station at Vindrac at about 5 km and local taxis make the run to Cordes, but never taken it.

A bit of history I like. As mentioned, in 1222, the Count Raymond VII gives the chapter of a town to the place called Peuch de Mordagne and by 1229 the treaty of Paris already mentioned Cordes as a stronghold of the Albigeois (proche of Albi another name for the Cathars). During this treaty of Paris of 1229, Jeanne daughter of Raymond VII of Toulouse married in 1241 Alphonse de Poitiers ,brother of king Louis IX. The Count of Toulouse up to them autonomous is attached to the crown of France on the death of Alphonse II and Jeanne in 1271. Cordes never conquered becomes land of the kingdom of France in 1370.

Follow by a golden age period and the construction of many mansions in the gothic style,from the end of the 13C to the middle of the 14C ,with an architectural unity to the bastide allowing to be called the city of the hundreds gothic arches or the Cité aux Cent Ogives with another splendid period from the 14C to the 16C. Hardly touch in the following wars the city has kept its architectural and medieval ambiance of always. During the French revolution, the city was named Cordes-la-Montagne to take away the Ciel or heaven part of the name! Albert Camus after visiting the city in the 1950’s said of it « At Cordes all is beautiful even the disappointments “ or  À Cordes, tout est beau, même le regret.  The city is officially named Cordes-sur-Ciel in 1993.


Briefly on the things to see in Cordes sur Ciel and with many already told in previous posts in my blog:

The city is surrounded by four ramparts and many gates such as the porte des Ormeaux, porte de la Jane or the porte de l’Horloge. It has a well on the market that is about 114 meters deep. The house of the great hunter or the maison du Grand Veneur is a big house in  sandstone with a façade in three levels , been one of the most sculpture of the city. The mairie or city hall is at the house or maison Fonpeyrouse. The Chapelle du Saint Crucifix , and the Cross or Croix de Cordes sur Ciel. The most important Church is that of Saint Michael or Saint Michel in a meridional gothic style done mostly in the 13C and some renovations in the 15C. The bell tower is from the 14C , the interior has renaissance frescoes and several paintings. You can drive to the village of Pied Haut where you can see the bastide town and a great view of the town emerging from the clouds.  Others are the Convent of the Capucins of Gaillac, done in 1600 located in the chemin des Capucins ,rue La Peyrade. Since 1826 is given to the community of Sisters of Saint Joseph d’Oulias (Rhône). Since 1975 is the principal home of the community of Bliss or the Communauté des Béatitudes , the old community of the Lion of Juda and the Sacrificial Lamb. The paradise garden or Jardin du Paradis is on the first fortified terraces of the city with water pumps, flower carpets and exotic essences on the oriental influence ; each year there is something different for the visitor.


There is a sugar and chocolate museum or musée du sucre et du chocolat. Inside you will see several creations of art done with the sugar on different themes going from the middle ages to the technologies. It is right in front of the big covered market. In the Maison du Grand Fauconnier (Falconer), it houses the museum of modern and contemporary art or the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, offering a unique contrast with the historical architectural heritage and the artistic creation  showing the styles of different movements with collections from the 20C.  An unique museum we like very much is the Charles Portal history and architecture museum or the Musée Charles Portal Histoire et Architecture that is house in the gate of the porte des Ormeaux, a medieval  building. The Cordes architecture is explained by showing historical items such as sculpture falcons, the former gate of the city hall from the 16C, locks etc of the period; there is a film showing the depths of the market well, and the collections of Cordes are shown as well as the region from pre history to the 16C with pretty items from the gallo roman, merovingians, and medieval periods. From the terrace you have nice views over the fields and the old streets of Cordes.


Some further webpages to help you in your planning to this unique town are:

The Cordes sur Ciel tourist office in English:

The city of Cordes sur Ciel on things to see in French:

The Tarn dept 81 tourist office on Cordes sur Ciel

The Occitanie region tourist board on Cordes sur Ciel

There you have it, Cordes sur Ciel or is it heavens on Cordes! A wonderful cloud perch town that is worth any detour you can take while in the region or even go directly there! We came back again and looking forward when possible to see it again.

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

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