Lisle-sur-Tarn, Tarn: tourism & sightseeing
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Lisle-sur-Tarn is a lovely village situated between Albi and Toulouse in the Tarn department. The village is a bastide laid out in a grid pattern with a central square and was created by Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse in the 13th century.
When you visit Lisle-sur-Tarn start by walking to the other side of the bridge over the Tarn river. From here you get lovely views of the pink brickwork of the arched terrasses rising up from the river and with the village and church steeple above. This is very reminiscent of the rivers edge at both Gaillac and Albi. Although the terrasses are gardened they are sadly private and closed to the public.
Close to the bridge is the church of the Notre Dame de la Jonquière built in the 13-14th century and with an attractive hexagonal steeple. Nearby is the beautiful central square, the 'Place Paul Saissac', at the heart of the town. The square is surrounded by arcades on all sides with buildings built in the local pink brick or of colombage (wattle and daub) and a ring of plane trees around the open central area which will provide shade in years to come. The square is one of the largest arcaded squares in all the bastides of the south-west.
The town hall is one of the notable buildings on the square with its triangular-topped facade. It was originally a private residence owned by the Boissett family who owned the port and lived in the house in the 17th and 18th centuries. The facade was remodelled in the 18th century.
All round the edges of the square are a number of bars and restaurants so that you can sit and soak up the peaceful atmosphere. In the centre is a stone fountain, the 'Griffoul fountain', which was offered to the inhabitants of the town in the 13th century by Alphonse de Poitiers and Jeanne de Toulouse (though it was taken to Albi for a period and brought back in 2000!).
The bastide has been laid out in four sections each with its own fortified gate to enter. Walking round the streets there are loads of beautiful buildings to grab your attention. A few cross the streets at the upper level like the pretty one on the Rue du Hirondelle.
Lisle sur Tarn also has some very attractive flower displays worthy of its award of 2 flowers in the national "ville fleuri" or "floral town" awards.
The town built up and became an important trading town due to its production of pastel and of wine. The local Gaillac wines of the area are delicious and the whites are some of our favourites from the SW of France. One of the local wine chateaux, the Chateau de Saurs also has a lovely garden which is open occasionally for guided visits.
While in Lisle-sur-Tarn you can visit the Raymond Lafage museum. Raymond Lafage is a famous artist 17th century artist who was born in the village and the museum holds a number of his works. It also houses archeological finds from the area and works by other artists of the area. Also to visit is the chocolate museum with many sculptures in chocolate. The chocolate museum is on the main square.
Fans of Tracey Chevalier will find mention of Isle sur Tarn in her first book, 'The Virgin Blue'.
Places to Visit Nearby
The nearby village of Giroussens is pretty and is home to an important pottery centre and to the lovely gardens of the 'Jardin des Martels'.
If you enjoy the red-brick architecture in Lisle-sur-Tarn you will love visiting both Gaillac and Albi, upstream to the north-east of Lisle-sur-Tarn, and of course no visit to this area would be complete without a day to explore the beautiful city of Toulouse.
Map of Lisle-sur-Tarn and places nearby
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Address: Lisle-sur-Tarn, Albi, Midi-Pyrenees, 81310, France || GPS: latitude 43.8544, longitude 1.8117
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Rabastens église Notre-Dame-du-Bourg (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (8 km)
- Gaillac: recommended detour (9 km)
- Jardin des Martels: remarkable garden (11 km)
- Bruniquel: most beautiful village (25 km)
- Jardin de Paradis: remarkable garden (26 km)
- Parc Rochegude: remarkable garden (28 km)
- Episcopal City, Albi: heritage site (28 km)
- Jardin du palais de la Berbie: remarkable garden (28 km)
- Albi: secteur sauvegarde (28 km)
- Toulouse basilique St Sernin (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (40 km)
- Toulouse: town of art and history (41 km)
- Jardin japonais de Toulouse: remarkable garden (41 km)
Market days in Lisle-sur-Tarn, France
Regular market(s) are held in Lisle-sur-Tarn each Sunday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Lisle-sur-Tarn (Francais)