Les Plus Beaux Détours de France
If you have already visited France, you must be familiar with the Plus Beaux Villages de France label. And if you stayed at la Villa de Mazamet, we certainly pointed you towards our local gems Lautrec and Cordes-sur-Ciel. We had already published an article on this label, but today we wanted to tell you about the new kid on the block: Les plus beaux détours de France (The Most Beautiful Detours in France)
So, what does it mean?
Les Plus Beaux Détours de France are small tourist towns where you are always sure to find a rich heritage, an artisanal and gastronomic identity, quality accommodation and a warm welcome. These are towns where it feels good to wander about. It all started in 1998 with 32 towns coming together and creating a network whose goal was to promote the diversity of the French territory. You see, France has much more to offer than touristy Mont-Saint-Michel and Nice!
Nowadays, 107 towns herald the Plus Beaux Détours de France brand. They must, similarly to the Plus Beaux Villages de France, adhere to and follow strict specifications. It can be seen as a sort of appellation contrôlée for tourism. And Mazamet is a proud member of this small circle.
A detour by Mazamet
Mazamet is the only town in the Tarn to sport the Plus Beaux Détours de France logo.
Located in the heart of the Montagne Noire, one hour from the beaches of the Mediterranean and 40km from UNESCO World Heritage sites Albi and Carcassonne, Mazamet boasts an exciting natural environment as well as extraordinary history.
Mazamet was once known as the world center of wool. Its trade and the production of leather brought considerable riches to the town. Our Villa and many others disseminated across town are testimony to this glorious industrial and architectural past. Mazamet is now turning to the development of green tourism. In 2018, the town built a Himalayan footbridge unique in Occitanie: la passerelle de Mazamet. This 140m long aerial path crosses the Arnette Gorge at a height of 70m, offering a dizzying experience and an exceptional view of the valley. After crossing, you can now make your way to the perched medieval village of Hautpoul. Its picturesque streets and local craft stores will take you back in time.
In addition, Mazamet offers many more outdoor activities. Cool down with supervised swimming, water games and tree climbing at the Montagnès lake. Hit a few balls at the wonderful La Barouge 18-hole golf course. Discover the Montagne Noire on foot, horseback or mountain bike. Take a leisurely ride on the Passa Païs cycling path also known as “la voie verte“.
In terms of culture, the Museum of Catharism positions Mazamet as a center of discovery of the history of Catharism in Occitanie. The Maison du Bois et du Jouet (the wood and toy museum), located at the foot of the medieval village of Hautpoul, offers a playful discovery of wood in all its forms and attracts more than 18,000 visitors each year.
Mazamet has much to offer, whether it is around town or further afield. For more information, please browse the Plus Beaux Détours de France guide book in our library.