A portrait of pastoral life in France's Central Pyrenees

A week in the Central Pyrenees, tucked in the south west corner of France’s Occitania region, reveals a pastoral life little changed in centuries. Here, among medieval market towns and lush valleys, the past’s thread snakes its way through the present.

France: Take me to the river

The rural landscape around southwest France's River Tarn is ideal for hiking and biking, with ultra affordable places to eat and sleep, plus lakes and rivers begging to be explored by kayak

France: The waterless wonder

The Bassin de Saint-Ferréol was part of one of the most remarkable engineering achievements of pre-revolution France — but time your visit carelessly and you may find a surprise in store.

Rooms: Toulouse

Eschew the conventional options and stay in a barge, wooden cabin, farmhouse or even an 'urban B&B' in the capital of France's southern Midi-Pyrénées region

Ask the experts: European weekend breaks

Our panel comes up with ideas for cheap and easy European weekend breaks

Toulouse: Occitan

I'm travelling on an underground train in Toulouse when I notice something unusual. Every approaching station is being announced over the PA system in two different languages.

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