It's impossible to visit this region without trying the famous cassoulet! It is the best known speciality from the small town of Castelnaudary. But it's not the only one! You will also discover the pastries which the French call 'bricks', specialities from Toulouse, and wines and cooked meats that are sure to satisfy even the most demanding of palates.
The Midi-Pyrenees region is the largest in France in terms of surface area and nature occupies a very large part of it. Apart from the city of Toulouse and its surroundings, the rest of the territory is rural. The fauna and flora is exceptionally diverse. Dozens of protected species can be seen in the Pyrenees National Park in the south of the region. Here you will find hundreds of different varieties of flowers and all sorts of mountain animals, like vultures, marmots and izards. It is also in this area where you will find the only bears in France. Keepers continue to watch over this park that covers an area of 178 mi².
The Midi-Pyrenees region is a land of sports, and not just rugby! Although rugby plays an important role in the region, there are many other sports that can also be practised. Let's not forget that the south of the region is bordered by the Pyrenees. Not only are there many hiking trails but those who would like a few more thrills can also do some rock climbing or whitewater rafting. The terrain here will not leave you disappointed! In fact, the most daring can even jump off the top of a cliff, attached to a paraglider of course! In short, there is a wide range of choices for thrill-seekers!
The region is rich with castles. The majority of them date from the Middle Ages. This is the case of the Château de Foix, which was built in the 7th and 8th centuries on a rocky plateau. Apart from this defensive zone protecting the region, let's not forget about the sanctuaries dedicated to the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, which sees millions of visitors every year. Finally, Toulouse also abounds in important monuments like the Place du Capitol, the Basilica of St. Sernin and the bridges spanning the Garonne.
There are many museums retracing the history of life in the Pyrenees mountains. The Toulouse Museum of Fine Arts was founded in 1795; it is the oldest one in France after the Louvre in Paris. You should also know that the cultural life in the Midi-Pyrenees is very vibrant, with many festivals held throughout the year. One of the most exceptional is the Rio Loco Festival, which takes place in Toulouse in June. Another interesting event is the Prix d'Ecriture Claude Nougaro, a writing competition for young writers between 15 and 25 years old. In short, the Midi-Pyrénées region has a rich cultural life.
The Midi-Pyrénées is a region where you can easily let your spirit roam free. Being mainly rural and mountainous, nature rules this territory. The activities are numerous. Hiking is especially popular, given the majestic panoramas that can be seen from the top of the peaks. In winter it is skiing in the high mountain resorts that becomes the most popular. The rest of the year, fishermen rejoice in the rivers criss-crossing the glens while those who like a little more thrills opt for some zip-lining in the forests. In short, the choices are endless for enjoying some quality leisure time.