France
Tarn

Here you’ll find travel reports about Tarn. Discover travel destinations in France of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

10 travelers at this place:

  • Day15

    French frenzy

    July 12, 2017 in France

    It's midnight, we have finally located the hire car, piled the kids and bags in and tried to get out of the airport. Tom turned the keys once, twice, nothing. He started asking me to decipher the warning that had popped up on the display. I'm tired. My French is not up to scratch with regular vocabulary, let alone automobile vocabulary! We try everything we can think of and I'm getting desperate. The hire place has closed and we aren't even sure our hotel has 24 hour concierge. Tom wanted me to call them but if they don't speak English i don't think my French will be good enough.
    Google translate comes to our rescue and we learn that you must have your foot on the clutch to start the car. Why oh why did Tom hire a manual car in a right handed drive country?!?!
    Next is navigating how to get to our hotel. We don't have a map or data to use our phone. We all know how this is going to play out don't we.
    We drive past some women of questionable virtue on the side of the road and I immediately think of the TAKEN movie, and want to go home!
    We were very quickly lost. Tom pulled over in frustration to work out where we are and how to get to the train station. Apparently our hotel is near there.
    Once at the station he sent me out looking for the hotel. This part of town seems dodgy but thankfully I find it, I ask if the concierge if he can speak English and I'm sure he says "no" so I stumble through, too tired to know what I'm staying, all of a sudden he began in perfect English!
    I direct Tom and the kids over, and at check in Tom informs me that we are only staying one night!!! By this point it is 1:30am, it hardly seems worth it!
    I rush the kids into bed, so tonight of all nights they are sticklers for the rules and want to brush their teeth!
    Tom set the alarm for 9am, but must have sub consciously turned it off, as we awake at 9:30, thankfully.
    After the hotel breakfast and some hurried packing we check out of the hotel and go in search of a sports bar so tom could watch the state of origin.
    We walked through dirty city streets, fruit markets and cheese markets to bird poo stained town monuments, with no sports bars in sight. Only on our way home did we stumble upon the pub tom originally had in mind.
    One step inside and the hot stale smell of old cigarettes and alcohol seeped into our pores. I was hoping we wouldn't need to stay, that they wouldn't have the right channel. But the irish girl happily changed the tv from the
    Tennis to the footy and tom was alarmed with the half time score. His didn't get much chance to celebrate in the second half either.
    On the way back to the hotel we purchased some croissants, eclairs and baguettes for lunch and tom was impressed with my ordering skills. There are some things I can do in French... We then began the two hour drive to our next destination- Lourdes. Thankfully, even wothout any internet or wifi, google maps somehow still works if u set the course while still in wifi. This didnt relax me too much though, I was still in charge of navigating. The tolls were a bit stressful too. We were thankful (at the time) that the kids quickly fell asleep.

    Lourdes is a strange town. People make their pilgrimage to St Bernadette's for miracles, so literally every second shop is a catholic souvenir shop selling holy water and rosary beads. The hotels all look run down or closed and half the shops are empty. We tried to find somewhere for an early dinner after checking into our hotel. (The staff don't speak English so that was fun for me) Initially we thought that all the restaurants were closed but discovered that cafes and patisseries close at 7pm and the restaurants open then too. So no early dinner for us. We decided to have dessert first, ice cream, then ate at an Italian restaurant outside our hotel.

    Bed time ended up being much later than planned at 9:30pm, and Adalia didn't sleep until 10:30 as she slept in the car!!
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  • Day16

    Our pilgrimage experience

    July 13, 2017 in France

    Samuel would not wake up! Everyone else was showered and dressed while he slept on. Tom bought chocolate and butter croissants and a baguette but couldn't find any take away coffee so we filled our tummy with pastry ready for the day's adventure.
    We set off through the Pyrenees to pay homage to Le Tour de France. This would be the second time Tom and I had been to the tour and I had fond memories from last time.
    I was navigating through beautiful albeit wet country side, and we pointed out cows with horns, eagles perched in trees and chateaus atop hills.
    With only a couple of wrong turns and a brief moment of driving on the wrong side of the road, we made it to the point where the riders would come through and tried to negotiate a good view. While Tom was scoping out a vantage point Adalia decided it was a good idea to swing on a chain. I heard her head hit the concrete and anticipated the screaming. She didn't disappoint.
    Tom decided that we would stand on the side of the road that had a steep drop off into a sewage stream. My worst nightmare. I continually repeated to Adalia that she was not to step foot on the grass as I did not want to pluck her out of the sewer.
    We waited in the drizzle for about an hour, watching as the team cars came through. No one was ready when the first breakaway came past. They were much faster than anticipated. A few minutes later and the helicopter came past indicating the peleton was near. We waved our Australian flag and cheered for the twelve seconds it took for it to all be over. Immediately after everyone packed up and left. We zigzagged through crowds and traffic back to our car and slowly made our way back to Lourdes, stopping along the way at a chateau.
    For lunch we had the very best quiche I have ever tasted and two crepes- Nutella and salted caramel butter. Divine. We will return tomorrow for sure.
    After lunch we wanted to check out the massive basilica we saw yesterday. Little did we know we were about to make our "Lourdes Pilgrimage". From my limited research I have discovered that the basilica is at the sight where the Virgin Mary revealed herself in a vision to St Bernadette as many as 17 times. And of course it is a place of miracles thanks to a pure water source that Bernadette discovered.
    What a crazy experience, there were thousands of people doing their pilgrimage; nuns, priests, elderly and ill, groups of children, all buying candles, (we saw one candle that was 50kg, as tall as me and €210- and people were buying it) filling up canisters with holy water and rubbing their hands over a sacred stone. We thought there must be a special event going on, but it is just an ordinary pilgrimage day.
    The Rosary Basilica was a sight to behold with amazing mosaics picturing Jesus' life. The Basilica of Immaculate conception atop the rosary basilica was dark and stuffy and I wanted to leave. Masses were gathering with expensive candles for a service so we decided to have a drink of holy water since we were thirst, and leave quickly.
    We stopped to buy some ice cream, then home for a little rest before we dined at a French restaurant for dinner. Poor Adalia chose steak and chips and was given a lump of mince. Sammy enjoyed his cheese omelet. I suffered from poor ordering having what tasted like duck jerky for entree, lamb stew that was fatty then for desert I ordered tiramisu but for got raspberry mousse! Oh well, you win some you lose some...
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  • Day416

    Day 417: Roquefort & Albi

    April 7 in France

    Up and out again, and heading west across the countryside. First stop was the town of Roquefort, home of the strong blue cheese! It's not a regionally protected name, like champagne is, but a lot of Roquefort cheese is still made in the area and as soon as I got out of the car I could smell it!

    We had a look in a couple of shops and the underground caves where the mould is grown on the cheese, then had some samples and ended up buying a cheese of course. It was probably a bit strong for my liking but will see how we go!

    Another hour or so in the car and we arrived at the Episcopal City of Albi, today's world heritage site. This was at the centre of a religious controversy in the 14th century, when some locals decided that their brand of Christianity was different to the standard Catholic doctrine (the major difference AFAICT is that they considered God in the Old Testament to be "evil God", while in the New Testament he was "good God", rather than the Holy Trinity). A minor crusade and some stake burnings later, Albi was once again under the thumb of the Catholic church.

    To show off their power, a massive fortress style cathedral was built, and next to it a large palace for the local bishop. Both of these still exist, largely unchanged since the 14th century and very impressive. They're excellent examples of what medieval fortifications were like, so we spent some time wandering around and filming. These days the palace houses a museum dedicated to Henri de Toulouse-Latrec, the early modern artist who was born in the area.

    There's also an impressive old bridge that's one of the oldest road bridges still in use in France. Filming done by mid-afternoon, I headed to our hotel on the edge of town while Shandos went to the Toulouse-Latrec museum. We'd again chosen a budget hotel but this one was much newer and quite a bit nicer. Still fairly bare-bones, but again completely fine for one night. Had dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant across the road, nice to have some variety of cuisine for a change!

    It's funny, I'd said to Shandos that unlike say Italian, where you can easily rattle off several distinct styles, or even Spanish or German cooking where you can do the same. French cooking is just so associated with various types of gastronomy that I find it difficult to separate it out from other types of cooking. But the bread is uniformly excellent - we've eaten a lot of baguettes so far!
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  • Day25

    Albi

    August 20, 2016 in France

    We are spending the night in Albi. This is a larger town that is known for a majestic cathedral and a big massive stone bridge over the river Tarn. You can almost smell Spain from here or maybe that is just a restaurant next door. Btw we ate too much. Dont go to France on a diet.

  • Day17

    The LONG train south

    June 5, 2015 in France

    So, we left our amazing friend Ingrid on Friday morning at the butt crack of dawn ? and we took a train due south down to the town of Albi. The train ride was supposed to be 7 hours long...but 1hour into it, the train stops because if "technical difficulties" at least that's what the people in the train cabin with us translated for us. They were very nice, Polynesian people from a place near Australia called Wallis and Futuna. A French colony apparently. But anyway so the train gets delayed for 2 hours. Not too mention it was like a sauna ?? so hot! They ended up giving us free food boxes cuz of the extended time. Eventually we finally made it, I think I had to peel myself off the seat since I was glued with sweat lol. Adventures adventures, gotta take them as they come. Cest La Vie!Read more

  • Day18

    Albi!

    June 6, 2015 in France

    So we have been here 2 days and its been non stop fun! We got off the train and Jeanna (our friend we just met, who is related to Ruthie duke) took us over to this brother and sisters house in their hall to go swimming with her 3 daughters. After we finished swimming we were fed a 6 COURSE meal :-O complete with wine of course. It was absolutely delicious and the friends were so nice and it was lots of fun. I didn't really understand most of what was said but the food was great and the weather was perfect. The pictures of the house and view is from where we are staying with the friend. After that on Saturday we went to another brother and sisters house who had a viewing of the June broadcast in French ?? thankfully I watched it in English before hand LOL. afterwards it was a regular old goodie night with lots of food and laughing and then games afterward. Even got to show the brother there on google earth where we lived. Was funny seeing my house and kingdom hall from France ?? oh and all the face cards n the deck are different letters...kinda threw me off big time LOLRead more

  • Day22

    Lunch with friends b4 touring

    June 10, 2015 in France

    So before we visited downtown Albi we were invited over to some friends house for a full family 5 COURSE lunch! It was delicious. And of course u tell ppl u play guitar they wanna hear u play haha? good times with new friends...only in france can u drink 54% proof whiskey at 1pm and its totally cool! ??? btw...best whiskey ever. Period.

  • Day21

    Tuesday we went and did the circuit of all the old ruins and old towns near albi and Toulouse. They call it the midi pyreenes I think haha. There were some really cool looking sites and such beautiful countryside. We even got to go into this castle they were restoring and what a beautiful view!

  • Day21

    Southern France pt 3

    June 9, 2015 in France

    They put me in the stocks ??? and we saw other cool stuff in a different town. We even saw a bunch of rocks from this guy who went to different places and brought back a rock from each one. As u can see, he had been to a LOT of places and the oldest one we found was Tunisia in 1952!!! SOO cool!

You might also know this place by the following names:

Département du Tarn, Departement du Tarn, Tarn

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