Gaillac, Midi-Pyrenees: tourism & sightseeing
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Gaillac is a historical town on the Tarn River 25 kilometres west of Albi and 50 kilometres north-east of Toulouse, in the Tarn department of the Midi-Pyrenees.
The town originally developed more than 1000 years ago around a benedictine monastery that was constructed here. More recently the fame of Gaillac has been built on the fame of the vineyards that surround the town - Gaillac wines are internationally held in very high regard, and you will have ample opportunity to sample and buy them on a visit to the town and the region.
Most of the places of interest in Gaillac are concentrated in a small area, along the banks of the Tarn River and around the abbey: the Tourist Office (with an excellent leaflet suggesting a route around the town centre), the Abbey Museum and the Maisons des Vins are all in the vicinity...
...But there are other interesting sights as well - museums, historical houses, parks - so allow time to explore elsewhere in the town. The historic centre is approximately delimited by the ring of boulevards that surround the old town.
The most important monument in Gaillac is the Abbey Saint-Michael, with its origins in the 10th century, although it was substantially enhanced in the 13th and 16th centuries and renovated at the end of the 20th century. Adjacent to the abbey you can see some remnants of the buildings that were once associated with the abbey itself.
Among other notable buildings in Gaillac:
- the 19th century town hall, in a neo-classical style;
- the 15th century Hotel de Pierre de Brens, a grand townhouse built in the characteristic 'toulouse red brick';
- the 13th century Church of Saint Peter, with its ornately carved entry portal and the substantial hexagonal tower;
- several imposing townhouses from the 16th to 18th centuries such as the Hotel de Paulo, the Hotel Druilhet d'Yversen and the Hotel Fos de Laborde;
- the 17th century Chateau de Foucaud and its parkland of meticulously maintained gardens is just east of the town centre
There are interesting red-brick buildings and arcades around the Place du Griffoul, and many other properties constructed in the same red-brick as Toulouse and Albi around the city centre, often with interesting architectural highlights: among our favourites was the small carving of a horse on the wall of the 'Hostellerie du Cheval Blanc', reminding us that this was once a stopping point for the post riders.
Lastly, be sure to cross the bridge for the view back across the river and rooftops of Gaillac.
Maisons des Vins
The wine house is a great introduction to the Gaillac wines - we found the staff very helpful for us novices, and there is a very wide range of local wines for sale.
Apart from the Museum of the Abbey mentioned above, other museums to visit include the Museum of Fine Arts in the Chateau de Foucaud and a Museum of Natural History.
Things to see near Gaillac
The Chateau de Mauriac is close by and has been fully renovated by an artist called Bernard Bistes who now uses the large open spaces to good effect in displaying his works of art. See more about the castle and artist at bistes.com.
To the north-east of Gaillac you can visit several lovely villages including Puycelsi, Bruniquel and Castelnau-de-Montmiral and the town of Albi to the east of here is one of our favourite historic towns in France.
If you head south east from Gaillac towards Toulouse, at Giroussens (about 40 km) is an extensive English style garden spread over 7 acres and with a wide and interesting range of plants and arrangements - the Jardins des Martels. Nearby you can also take a boat trip along the Tarn River, a lovely way to appreciate the scenery.
Photos of Gaillac
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Map of Gaillac and places to visit
Visit near Gaillac with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Tarn
Gaillac is classified as a recommended detour town (plus beau detour)
Address: Gaillac, Albi, Tarn, Midi-Pyrenees, 81600, France || GPS: latitude 43.901, longitude 1.8992
Plan your visit to Gaillac, Midi-Pyrenees
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Rabastens église Notre-Dame-du-Bourg (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (17km)
- Jardin des Martels: remarkable garden (18km)
- Jardin de Paradis: remarkable garden (19km)
- Jardin du palais de la Berbie: remarkable garden (20km)
- Episcopal City, Albi: heritage site (20km)
- Parc Rochegude: remarkable garden (20km)
- Albi: secteur sauvegarde (20km)
- Bruniquel: most beautiful village (25km)
Market days in Gaillac, France
Regular market(s) are held in Gaillac each Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Gaillac (Francais)