Touffailles is a pretty little village set amongst the rolling hills between the larger villages of Lauzerte and Montaigu de Quercy. This striking agricultural area bordered by the River Lot (to the North) and the River Garonne (to the South) provides an ever changing backdrop of fruit trees, sunflowers, cereals, melons, vines and cattle.
Visitors staying at Las Razes can take the opportunity to visit many attractive places in the area. Amongst the favourites are Cahors, Agen, Montauban, Villeneurve-sur-Lot, Puy L’Eveque, Montcuq, Moissac, Auvillar, Valance, Tournon D’Agenais, Penne D’Agenais, Castlesarrasin, Cirq Lapopie, Lauzerte, Montjoi, Brassac, Beauville, Bourg de Visa, Montaigu de Quercy, Miramont de Quercy, Castlesagrat, St Nicholas de Grave, Fummel, Chateau de Bonaguil, Puymirol and further afield the Millau Bridge, Sarlat, Bergerac, Toulouse, and Albi.
It is very hard know where to start with this. We are trying to move away from simply relying on leaflets in the property. Firstly, these tend to vanish and also soon become out of date and do not allow for people to do any planning before they get here. The tourist offices will always have a supply of 'leaflets'. Our nearest Tourist Offices are at Montaigu de Quercy (at the back of the market place) and Lauzerte - up in the old medieval town square.
So we have made a few suggestions here and included (hopefully) links to websites that will help you. We have started with a few suggested routes for those visitors that wish to simply drive around and get a feel for the region and perhaps enjoy a meal or drink (or two).
Some suggested day trips. (please check opening hours and if you are planning on eating - book a table)
A small tour (a) - Lauzerte www.quercy-sud-ouest.com/fr is not very far - about 10 minutes. When you arrive follow the signs for the Medieval City - which means following the road up to the top of the town. You park the car just outside of the ramparts. Then have a wander in - it is worth walking around the small road that follows round the inside of the bastide to see all the different and very old architectural styles. The church is lovely for a visit and then the central square where you can reward yourself with a coffee.
Then we would suggest driving up the valley to Montcuq www.tourisme-quercy-blanc.com. On a Sunday (market day) parking is more difficult but provision is made (the market is worth visiting - maybe on a different trip to this little tour). There is some lovely old architecture to see here and a wander up the little back streets will take you to the church and a little further to the ancient tower that over looks the village. For lunch we would suggest Cafe de France (English spoken) which is in the centre of the village under an old chestnut tree.
Then you can either make your way back to Las Razes or follow over for a look around Castlenau Monratier (same tourism website as Montcuq) here you will find a lovely square,very old half-timbered houses and a lovely church with an extraordinary domed roof. There are also a couple of bars/cafes for an afternoon cup of coffee or small glass of wine.
A small tour (b) - Montjoi is a very pretty little village about 15/20 minutes drive down the beautiful valley at the far side of Touffailles. You park outside of the village in the car park and then walk in under the stone arch. There is currently no food or drink but the village is worth a visit. There is a nice little art gallery which can make an interesting stop (check website for open days).
Then back in the car for the short hop to Castelsegrat. Another pretty, quiet little village, here you could have lunch or stop for a drink www.cafe-du-siecle.com. Do as always check opening times (and call ahead if you are relying on anywhere for a meal).
Moving on from here you can head the short distance to St Maurin. Here you can park up and take a look at the ruins of the Cluniac Abbey that stand in the square in the middle of the village.
Then back in the car and along the road to Bourg de Visa. A quiet little village but it does have a small grocery store (for essentials) and there is also a cafe/restaurant, La Brasserie des Cornieres where you could enjoy something to eat or drink before making the short trip back to Las Razes.
A small tour (c) - First stop Montaigu de Quercy - the market is held here on a Saturday morning and that can be very busy. If you want to walk up to the top of the village, you can leave your car at the bottom in the market square (not on Saturday) and walk up the small (steep) street to the right of the hotel Midi.
Then you continue down the valley to Roquecor (market on a Sunday). There is a gallery and one or two small shops and places to eat (in season). Cafe du Centre in the middle of the village has a lovely terrace and would be a good place to stop for a drink or something to eat. Then the scenic route home - set the Sat Navs for Lacour de Visa (82190) and then Beauville - there are a couple of cafes in Beauville so you could have a glass of wine or cup of coffee before coming back through Bourg de Visa (see, small tour (b) above and then back to Las Razes.
Saint Cirq Lapopie. A beautiful much visited village. This is about 1 hr and 10 minutes from Las Razes, but is a worthy day trip if you are at all interested in medieval architecture and history in general. During the season there are plenty of places to eat and a number of lovely art and craft shops to browse. www.saint-cirqlapopie.co.uk/heritage/listed-mediaeval-village
Bonaguil Chateau is a wonderful example of early fortification. It takes about 30 minutes to get to Bonaguil from Las Razes. There are a number of options for food in the hamlet and the Chateau is a short walk up a hill past a few shops and cafes. It is possible to also take your car up to the top. The usual approach is to park at the bottom and walk up. There is an entrance fee to enter the Chateau itself. Please note it is not suitable for push-chairs or anyone with reduced mobility. www.chateau-bonaguil.com
Karting - For those that need a bit more than peace and serenity then about 30 minutes away you can find both indoor and outdoor carting. See www.K47.fr
Water lilies - if you would be interested in a wonderful water-lily park then this might be the ideal place for you. You can have your lunch amongst the lilies. If you want to eat in summer - do book. 47110 Le Temple-sur-Lot http://latour-marliac.com
Photo gallery of local area
Moissac - this lovely town is about 20 minutes drive. Visitors enjoy visiting the Abbey which is in the middle of town. The large market is held on Saturday and Sunday and limits the parking for visitors. However, for market lovers - you will find virtually everything on display here. Close to the Abbey there are a selection of restaurants. It is lovely to sit on the terrace and watch the comings and goings from the Abbey, including pilgrims making their way to Spain.
Also in Moissac you will find the river Tarn and the Canal de Midi. You can watch the canal boats go by and for the lovers of water based activities - the river is where you should head. http://tourisme.moissac.fr/en
Markets - which always take place in the morning. Here are some of the most popular. Tuesday, Puy L'Eveque & Valence d'Agen; Wednesday, Cahors; Thursday, Monsepron Libos; Friday, Prayssac; Saturday, Montaigu de Quercy, Cahors & Lauzerte; Sunday, Roquecor and Montcuq.
Visitors in July and August will also be able to enjoy the evening Marché Gourmands. Many local places hold them weekly. Lauzerte, Thursday; Beauville, Friday - these are the two most popular. If you have not been before - expect to find the square full of trellis tables and chairs. Music playing and lots of stalls around the square selling different food and drink options. Usually cutlery is available but you can always take some as well as plastic drinking glasses. You can buy everything from roast chicken, duck, wonderful salads and cheeses and of course local wines. These are very social fun events. You cannot book - just turn up and find your place alongside everyone else. For very large parties - try and get there a bit sooner - by 7pm.
Wine tasting - there are many possibilities but for ease we would suggest Chateau Chambert www.chambert.com which is about 25 minutes from Las Razes. You can either arrange to go on a tour and do some real learning or just do some tasting! You can also arrange to eat at this lovely Chateau as they have a Bistro. Or you may wish to travel a little further into the Lot valley and try one of our favourites Le Caillau. www.lecaillau.com . Alternatively you could lunch at La Terrace, Grezels (no website or Facebook - but see our page - 'Places to eat'.
AUVILLAR is a lovely village overlooking the River Garonne, it was once famous for its pottery production but is now an interesting place to visit with some picturesque, interesting buildings to see. There are a number of places to eat and drink within Auvillar or you could continue to the lovely smaller village of Bardigues where L'Auberge is a great find for food lovers. At your own risk if you have not booked! www.auvillar.fr and for the Auberge at Bardigues www.aubergedebardigues.com/
Puy L'Eveque (46700) www.tourisme-lot-vignoble.com - about 35 minutes from Las Razes. The market is on a Tuesday. Nestled close to the River Lot with twisting (sometimes steep) streets up to the market place where there is a great view down the valley. Restaurant: we suggest Le Medieval www.lemedieval-puyleveque.fr
Cahors (46000) www.tourisme-cahors.fr A larger town but well worth a visit. There is good underground parking (which can help keep the car cool) follow the signs for Parking Amphithéatre. The steps or lift should bring you to the ground close to the Villa Malbec which is where you will find the Tourist Office. Whilst in Cahors we recommend you visit Le Pont Valentré, the Cathedral and leave enough time to explore all the old streets. Market day - Wednesday and Saturday. There are many places to eat. If large groups want to book we would suggest Le Lamparo www.le-lamparo.fr
Bathing Lakes. A great change from the swimming pool is one the local bathing lakes. The nearest one to Las Razes is at Montaigu de Quercy (less than 10 minutes in the car) This has a lovely sandy beach as well as activities (canoes, pedalos etc) a cafe and restaurant. During July and August there are life-guards on duty and a small charge is made for entry. It is, however, a lovely place you could be on any beach in the world (almost). www.montaiguplage.com
A little further (about 20 mins in the car) and just outside Montcuq is Lac de St Sernin. Again in peak season there is a small charge for entry but the lake is stunning. www.montcuq.fr/fr/culture-loisirs-tourisme/plan-deau.html
Touffailles has its very own lavender farm where they grow and distil the flowers. There is also a lovely shop selling products made from the lavender oil and the wool from their sheep. Visitors who are here at the end of June can attend the open weekend and find out all about what is involved. But a visit to the shop is a great idea any time. www.lavande-quercy.fr/