The Lauragais
Simply stunning
Welcome to the Lauragais
A hidden gem in the South of France, the Lauragais reaches from the south east of Toulouse, down towards the north west of Carcassonne.  The Lauragais is also referred to as the Pays du Pastel as it was used for growing Woad (or Pastel as it is known in French) Due to the richness of the limestone soil the pastel plant flourished in the region, and in the early 16th century that the trade flourished, creating many wealthy merchants, who in turn constructed some of the magnificent  private mansions that can still be seen in and around Toulouse. Pastel fell out of fashion with the arrival of indigo from India .The term Pays de Cocagne, refers to the cakes of pastel that were sold. It is also know as the original Land of Plenty.

Another name is the Pays des Cathare - The land of the Cathar Crusaders, as it was in St Felix Lauragais that the first council of the Cathar Church was held. The Lauragais also features on the famous walking routes to Compostella.  It is also likened to Tuscany, with its' rolling countryside and fields full of sunflowers.

The Lauragais is also home to excellent artisans creating  wonderful reproduction furniture, particularly using Marquetry. The relocation of the  workshop or atelier of Alexandre Monoury , from Versailles to Revel  in 1889 led to Revel  becoming known as the Cite du Meubles d'Art. There are currently 45 workshops and showrooms.

It is an area used for farming due to the richness and fertility of the soil.Gastronomy is a major interest in the region, renowned for the Cassoulet from Castelnaudary. It is possible to buy a wide range of quality foods produced in the Lauragais from goats cheese to foie gras.

The Lauragais is also home to the infamous Vent d'Autan  - the Autan wind, it arrives from the South West, bringing heat from Africa. and staving off the rain. It is said in the Lauragais that when you can see the Pyrenees, the Autan is coming. It will usually last for 3, 6 or 9 days and comes to a very abrupt end.. It is then that the Cers arrives from the North East occasionally bringing with it the rain. However, there is always a breeze in the Lauragais, with Villefranche du Lauragais officially having only average 68 days without wind. .
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