This mystical Midi-Pyrenees region of France sits just inside the nation's border with Spain. Sparsely populated, the region is noted for its majestic peaks, deep river canyons, and quiet plateaus. Taking an early morning hike to catch the sunrise over the effervescent mountain sides or canoeing down Tarn River to witness the sublime beauty of rural France are among the many ways you can appreciate this unique corner of the country. Also, looking past the vast expanses of pristine nature, the Midi-Pyrenees region is home to some of the most unique cities in France.
Some of the region's most popular attractions and activities include:
-Toulouse: A stark contrast of old-world charm and new-world flair, Toulouse is among the most unique cities in France and is home to the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, which many consider the best non-Parisian art gallery in the country.
-Lourdes: Five million Catholic pilgrims visit the famous Lourdes grotto each year, but even if you're not Catholic or religious, it's worth a visit just to take in the area's magical mystique.
-Mont Perdu: Consistently cited as one of the most beautiful places in Europe, a visit to Mount Perdu is a must for nature lovers and casual sightseers alike.
-Spas: Natural springs run throughout the region, and the Balnea Centre Thermoludique in Loudenvielle is considered one of the best in continental Europe.
-Winter sports: Come here to go skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing. People from all over the world come here to enjoy the spectacular scenery and some of the most famous alpine slopes in the world.
To take full advantage of the spectacular scenery and French hospitality, stay in a vacation rental like a cabin, chateau or apartment rather than a hotel. With styles and options to suit all budgets and tastes, the range of vacation rentals available in the Midi-Pyrenees region is bountiful, with plenty of properties available throughout the year.
Nearby Andorra offers a unique experience to visitors looking to explore the region further. This tiny nation, which straddles the border between Spain and France, is a quiet, out-of-the-way destination that boasts incredible natural beauty and a relaxed pace of life. You can also hop from Midi-Pyrenees to other French regions, including Aquitaine, Roussillon, and Languedoc.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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