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France
- info - Midi-Pyrenees -
Lourdes is one of the modern world's most famous pilgrim sights, due to a young girl, who in 1853, had visions of the Virgin Mary in a grotto holding a spring, whose water have been since credited with miraculous healing powers.

Rocamadour was built into the side of the cliffs in the 12th and 13th centuries. During this time these churches and shrines were one of the most popular places of pilgrimage, where the faithful would climb the 216 steps on their knees to a number of chapels. The site is still a holy shrine but is also a popular tourist destination.

Condom is the center for Armagnac trade. Armagnac is one of the world's most expensive brandies of which only a small portion ever leaves the country. It is for sale at many small independent producers in the town. St-Cirq-Lapopie. Considered one of France's prettiest villages it has a 15th century church and wooden framed houses built into the cliffs above the river Lot. Cahors is almost surrounded by the river Lot the town's landmark sight is the Pont Valentre. This fortified six arched bridge was built in the 14th century, took over 70 years to complete.

Toulouse is the center of the aircraft industry of France. Situated on the Canal-du-Midi it is the beginning of many HOLIDAY BARGING trips. The city's old Town is made of red brick, which is, as the French say, "Pink at Dawn, red at noon and mauve at dusk". Conques- is a small medieval town surrounding the Abbeye de St. Foy, which was a main stop on the pilgrim route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The treasury of St-Foy holds some of the most important and famous medieval and Renaissance gold work in Western Europe and is well worth a visit.



Climate - Gentle winters and mild summers. In the mountain region there is good skiing during the winter, but on the plains the average temp is 12 C. Spring and fall average temp 20 C and the summer 28 deg C.

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