Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Cordes sits in the sky and on the day we arrived it certainly gave that impression. It was a spring morning when we left Albi as we drove out along the bridge over the Tarn river. Sue wanted to visit Cordes after reading about it in our DK Eye Witness Guide of France. I have to say that our guide book has become a little tattered after four trips since 2006. Pages are highlighted in various colors of fluro pen and notes which remind us of the places we have been so fortunate to have experienced.

Cordes above the clouds. (from the Internet)
 Cordes-sur-Ciel is one of those places that will always remain in our memory as a special visit.
During the 13th century wars against the Cathars, Cordes was excommunicated. The plague devastated the existing population and the hilltop village fell into disrepair. It wasn't until the 1940s that restoration brought the village back to the wonderful experience that we had the good fortune to enjoy.

We rolled in at about mid-morning looking forward to a good strong espresso which we found in the village square. We were the only ones to enjoy the slightly chilly, yet sunny morning. Our waiter was chatty and while there were no other customers he took time to ask us about Australia and what it was like to live there. Happy to tell them about "Our Home on the Bay", but when travelling we prefer to hear the life of the locals.
Cordes has some wonderful architecture of the Gothic 14th century period . You almost feel you are back there, especially with no other tourists being there. You can imagine the fear that the inhabitants may have had during the Cathar persecution and the devastation of the plague. Our DK guide stated, "Everything is beautiful there, even regret" which was written by Albert Camus in the 1950s.

The only way to Cordes is through narrow ports - a truly protected fortress.

Sue enjoys the grand Le Halle of Cordes while we waited for our mid-morning espresso
The Port at the other end of the village. Check out the groove in the arch. A gate would drop down, blocking the entrance to the village.

I discovered this derelict building just outside the village walls.
I hope someone will bring it back to life someday. Maybe that will happen before we revisit one day.

Sue haggled over a purchase here, can't remember what it was but she made a connection with the lovely shop owner. I decided to wander off to take more photos while Sue chatted on.....

It's spring in France as I write this and it brings back the memory of Wisteria everywhere.

Spring in Cordes-sur-Ciel, the place to be as Sue looks down from the village in the sky.
Leaving Cordes-sur-Ciel was difficult as we could have spent a full day enjoying the atmosphere of this delightful village but we needed to make our next stop in daylight for a two night stay in Vers, not far from Cahor.


  1. Excellent post - it looks wonderful.

  2. Thanks Craig - it certainly was a highlight being there.

  3. Beautiful place but such a shame when you have to move on too soon.

  4. That's true LLM, but when you're on the way to somewhere, it's nice to stumble upon a village or a special place. Our Tom Tom has taken us to some wonderful off the highway spots because we asks him to keep us on the back roads.

  5. That village certainly hasn't stolen its name. Although I think that in this case 'ciel' doesn't mean 'sky' but the name of a nearby river or stream. Or does it?


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