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Sorèze - Revel - Saint-Ferréol

 
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Midi-Pyrénées invites you to experience the most beautiful of adventures: a journey of knowledge, learning and imagination. To do so, you need to travel 60 km south-east of Toulouse to the abbey-school of Sorèze and the lake of Saint-Ferréol, near Revel. Here man has shown his genius, starting with Pierre-Paul Riquet, the inventor of the Canal du Midi.

The fi rst stop is at Sorèze, in the south of Tarn. At the foot of the forested massif of the Montagne Noire, this charming village grew up around its Benedictine abbey. Under Louis XVI, the abbey became the Royal Military School. In the 19th century, Sorèze became known as one of the great centres of knowledge in France, thanks to bold teachers such as Père Lacordaire. Literature, mathematics and science were taught, as well as architecture, singing and theatre.

When you visit the abbey-school of Sorèze, you will be able to imagine the daily life of this very special place, renowned for its innovative education that attracted students from around the world. A museum circuit will take you from the Cour des Rouges to the Salle des Illustres, from the classrooms to the student dormitories, and on to the centenary park, which highlights the monumental architecture of this prestigious abbey-school.

Now you are ready to go to Revel! A few kilometres from Sorèze, this charming walled town in Haute-Garonne holds one of France’s most beautiful markets every Saturday. In the central square is the house where Pierre-Paul Riquet (1609-1680), inventor of the Canal du Midi, lived.

Now you are very close to the source of the Canal du Midi. This exceptional structure links Toulouse and Sète along the Mediterranean shore. In 1996, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an example of human creative genius.

The lake of Saint-Ferréol comes into view some 6 km from Revel. Here you are well and truly at the source of the Canal du Midi. The lake of Saint-Ferréol is an idyllic spot, perfect for bathing and just lounging around. Created in the 17th century, this 67-hectare basin is at the very heart of the inspirational venture of constructing the Canal du Midi. It is the centrepiece of the canal’s water supply mechanism; a complex and remarkable system executed by Pierre-Paul Riquet.

To find out all about this structure, unique in the world, a visit to the Musée et Jardins du Canal du Midi (Museum and Gardens of the Canal du Midi) is a must. Opened in 2008, the museum, located at the foot of the lake embankment, is organised into 6 themed rooms. It is a pleasure to explore them, to see how they use models, audiovisual equipment, original documents, etc. to bring to life the epic creation of the Canal du Midi and the unique personality of its founder. Built in the shade, beside waterfalls and a fountain in an opulent, romantic 19th century park, the museum and lake of Saint-Ferréol are part of a landscape and heritage of remarkable quality. An absolute must-see!

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