5th March 2013 – For 2013, the Midi-Pyrénées region in South West France is introducing a host of new activities and accommodation. From museums and spas to restaurants and nature reserves, visitors can enjoy a selection of new activities, adding to the region’s already extensive list of things to enjoy.
New for this year, the ‘Pass Tourisme’ in Toulouse, entitles visitors to reduced-rate admission to 34 of the top tourist attractions and free use of the city’s public transport network, for one, two or three days. The pass, starting at just 18 Euros, is available for purchase at the Toulouse Tourist Office and provides a convenient way to explore everything the ‘pink city’ has to offer.
For a little extra guidance, ‘Toulouse Greeters’ will begin guiding foreigners round the city this year, with a new volunteer programme by the city residents, giving a unique local perspective and all of the inside tips!
Just ten minutes from the city of Toulouse, summer will see the opening of ‘Terre de Pastel’, the first museum and spa complex in the world. A swimming pool, solarium, steam bath and sauna will delight guests looking for a little relaxation and pampering, whilst a 400m2 museum about the history of the plant itself will satisfy those looking to learn a little more about the complex.
A brand new museum will be opening 2013 in the heart of Rodez (Aveyron) to house the exceptional gift that Pierre Soulages, famous French painter, sculptor and engraver gave to his birthplace. It will provide a contemporary setting for 514 exhibits, including his entire output of engravings, the preparatory work for the stained glass windows at Conques, paintings, documentation, books, films photographs and more. The press room for this great new tourist attraction will be opening 2013. It will open for the public in Spring 2014 – it will be accessible for the press from November 2013.
Midi-Pyrénées manufacturing giant Airbus is introducing ‘The Green Tour’, a new commentated coach tour highlighting the measures the aeroplane company goes to to preserve the environment, from the solar-powered air conditioning to the new assembly site, which save thousands of tonnes of CO2 and waste every year.
Another eco-tourism must visit, is the Dordogne Valley/Basin which was recently designated a World Biosphere Reserve by Unesco, in recognition if its remarkable natural heritage. The area features pretty villages and follows the River Dordogne crossing sixty kilometres of the Lot department, an area rich in unspoilt beauty. There are also added benefits of being a recognised Biosphere Reserve – they are designed to conserve natural and cultural diversity, along with social and economic development. There are currently 610 Biosphere Reserves in 117 countries across the world.
The Pyrenees Mountains are also set to regain one of their iconic animals – the Ibex. Found in the region in as early as the Middle Ages the animal was hunted for its horns and meat. Since 1987 the Pyrenees National Park has been working to reintroduce the animal, which will be brought over from Spain – an exciting development!
The reputation of the Midi-Pyrénées region for star gazing is known worldwide and this year will be more special than ever before. The Lot Black Triangle, is famous for seeing stars in the clear night skies, one location is particularly well known – Causses du Quercy Regional Nature Park in metropolitan France. This famous park has received more council backing in 2013, to protect the magnificent views. 2013 will see even more parts of the area installing efficient lighting and turning off street lighting at certain times of night, for people to admire the stars and beyond. The Pic du Midi, another world-famous spot for star-gazing has created a new scheme – the ‘International Dark Sky Reserve’. A first in Europe, this association is working harder and harder to protect the views which many come to enjoy. Visitors looking to learn more about space can visit the new exhibitions at the Cite de L’espace, with hands on exhibits, simulations, games and experiments for all the family to enjoy.
The region is famous for the most gruelling part of the Tour de France every year through the mountains in the Hautes Pyrénées. This year, the department is paying tribute to Miguel Indurain one of the great Tour de France champions in 1991 with the ‘Miguel Indurain Trail’ following the route of long 13th stage of the race from Jaca to Val Louron. The route will be formally opened by Miguel himself in summer 2013.
After all those activities, visitors to the region can enjoy some of France’s best cuisine, this year, renowned chef Michel Bras is coming to Toulouse and opening a new gastronomic ‘fast food’ establishment in Toulouse. The finest ingredients and local produce will make up a menu of twenty gourmet ‘capucins’ – an edible buckwheat pancake filled with a delicious sweet or savoury filling, inspired by a traditional metal version used in rural areas for melting lard!
For the full What’s New 2013 Press Kit please ask us for a copy and ‘What’s New – Accommodation’ is coming soon!
Note to editors: Whether you prefer to spend your time experiencing culture, pursuing an activity or enjoying typical French hospitality, the Midi-Pyrénées appeals to most tastes. Midi-Pyrénées is the largest region of south-west France. From Toulouse, The Pink City, to the banks of the Canal du Midi, the grandiose spectacle of the Cirque de Gavarnie or the Millau Viaduct, authentic villages oozing with character such as Saint-Cirque Lapopie and exuberant festivals like Jazz in Marciac, explore all the possibilities that Midi-Pyrénées offers. The region is easily accessible from the UK with direct flights from London, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle and Dublin. For more information, visit www.tourism-midi-pyrenees.co.uk.
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