Stop in Villefranche-de-Lauragais, a few kilometers from Toulouse. You will see few vestiges of the past there but the history is really rich and fascinating.
Villefranche-de Lauragais is located on the road to Saint-Jacques de Compostelle (Voie d'Arles) and near the Canal du Midi.
This bastide was founded in the 1800th century, in the middle of the forest of Saint-Rome, which was completely cleared around XNUMX.
Its geographical location was strategic: it was located on the route of the Via Aquitania, the Roman road connecting the Mediterranean Sea to Toulouse built in the XNUMXst century AD.
It was Alphonse de Poitiers, Count of Toulouse and the Lord of Gardouch who were at the origin of the founding of the village in 1252.
Many privileges ratified by Philippe le Bel in 1280 favored its development.
At the start of the Hundred Years War, in 1355, the bastide was set on fire; this is why there is no vestige of its ramparts today. The Ruelle des Prêtres has kept its covered passages, typical of the Middle Ages, and a few half-timbered or turreted houses still remain.
You can also admire the central hall with its high arcades which testifies to Villefranche's important commercial past. In the 7th century, there were up to XNUMX annual fairs for cattle, poultry, sheep, pigs ...
These fairs all stopped after World War II, but there is still a very large market on Friday mornings.
Finally, do not miss to enter the beautiful church of southern Gothic style in red bricks: built in the XNUMXth century, it has an imposing bell-tower with two Toulouse-type towers. Also admire the pretty mermaid carved in wood on the entrance gate.
Guided tour for groups, on request, all year round.
- Tea Room