The city is situated on the Aveyron river – don’t miss the beautiful bridge with its reflection in the river. Cate Blanchette rode across this in Charlotte Grey!
The centre of the city was the home of the town’s most wealthy residents. In medieval times a town was the safest place to live – and within it the safest place was the centre as anyone who wanted to invade would start with those on the edges!
Therefore the tallest and most decadent houses are in the middle of the city – and these are the streets where the famous St Antonin Sunday Market is held. This is a good place to start exploring Saint Antonin Noble Val.Check out The Boutique Adventurer Online Shop!
Things to do in Saint Antonin Noble Val
1. Look Up!
Don’t forget to look up when you explore this beautiful town. There is so much architectural detail in the buildings – carvings of faces and animals. One of my favourites was a carving of a medieval couple kissing. Kissing couples are rare from medieval times!
The reason for this is that the store above which the carving is located was the home of the local matchmaker who brought couples together. And it is still signed as the Maison de L’Amour!
Small medieval faces, animals, fruit – there are all sorts of figures carved into the stone buildings that tell stories of the past and are worth exploring.
2. Visit the Canals
Small picturesque canals run through the city. These canals are man-made. St Antonin was the home to several tanneries in medieval times. The tanneries needed water to wash their animal skins. So they dug canals. I do hate to think what the smell must have been!
These canals still run with water. They also have several charming signs that explain which fish are in which parts of the canal. The water levels are too low for any activity on the canal. But they are very instagrammable!
Another beautiful European town with canals is Riga in Latvia. Check out my post on 23 Instagrammable Things to do in Riga and Beyond.
3. Head for the River
If you are keen to get on the water the best option is to head for the Aveyron river and hop on a canoe and explore. This is also, to my mind, the most instagrammable spot in the town. The bridge is stunning and reflects beautifully into the river. Head to both sides of the bridge for shots. There are some beautiful and photogenic houses lining the river’s side.
4. Don’t Miss the Sunday Market!
The Sunday market runs every weekend from 9am-1pm all year round. In summer it is jam-packed so it is best to visit very early. In July and August night markets or local produce tastings are also held.
Discover more of the beautiful region that is home to this lovely city in my post on the 14 Best Things to do in Tarn et Garonne.
The heart of the market is a covered hall which is around the middle of the market. This area and the area and streets all around it hold all types of stalls. There is, of course, a lot of cheese, cured meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, handicrafts, honey and so many wonderful stalls – plus of course bread!
5. Eat some Duck
Duck is a speciality of the region. The market is the perfect place to buy foie gras or many different forms of the canard to take home. Try duck confit – duck legs usually, magrets de canard or duck breast which is usually cooked like a steak, duck liver, duck scratchings and even stuffed duck neck
6. Visit Art Galleries
There are several art galleries in the town. My favourite was the one owned by and featuring the work of local artist Claude Nicaud. He does stunning watercolours. Bazart is a community art space that includes a gallery, studios, outdoor exhibition and relaxation area, cafe and much more.
7. Have a coffee with the locals
There are several lovely cafes – particularly in the main square. They are perfect for sipping a drink and people watching! The nice thing about visiting a town like Saint Antonin Noble Val is you will actually be sitting with locals as well as tourists. It is very different from say a Venice.
I most enjoyed sitting in one of the cafes of the main square – it had red and white awning – and having a coffee whilst watching the locals setting the world to rights and knocking back oysters and aperitifs at 11am on a Sunday! My kind of people!
As you can see from my photos, I visited St Antonin Noble Val on a foggy December morning – and it was still so beautiful! I cannot imagine how stunning it must be in the summer.
Saint Antonin Noble Val – Restaurants
We had a lovely lunch at the quite new Citron Bleu cafe. The menu changes daily and uses only local ingredients.
Click here for the Top 10 Restaurants in Saint Antonin Noble Val
St Antonin Noble Val – Where to stay
My top tip is to stay in the lovely town of Parisot is only 25kms from St Antonin. This small village contains a beautifully restored building that is a boutique bed and breakfast called Le Couvent de Neuviale. This building was called a convent. However, it was actually a small school which was run by three nuns or sisters.
The name stuck – and today the owners have named each of their rooms after the three sisters. I stayed in Soeur Noelle!
Le Couvent de Neuviale is run by the most delightful Belgium couple Mark and Lieve. Mark was a successful photographer in Belgium. Renovating the convent was a 10-year project! The love and care can be seen everywhere. This is exactly the kind of place you come to country France to stay in – rustic chic, charming, picturesque and memorable.
My bedroom was quite large and furnished in such a stylish and rustic way – but with all the comforts like a hot and powerful shower!
There is a large living area on the ground floor with a huge open fireplace and the most stunning clock – ask Mark and Lieve to tell you the story of how they created this stunning piece.
There is a beautiful garden with a large table and covered area that makes you long for summer and wine! All of this facing the lovely village church.
Mark and Lieve will provide dinner 1 of every 2 evenings and what a treat! Their house wine is from the region and absolutely delicious. We started with 2 tasty amuse bouche options. Our starter then was beetroot carpaccio served with a local cheese rolled in nuts. Then on to the duck! The duck was roasted and so full of flavour – and served with local vegetables.
Dessert was a unique recipe developed by Lieve. I can only call it a dessert pizza but this does not do it justice. Imagine instead of pizza dough pastry dough. And ricotta cheese and berries. Wow wow!
And Lieve also put on a wonderful breakfast!Check Prices & Availability for Le Couvent de Neuviale
The other option is to stay in Saint Antonin Noble Val. For a rustic B&B experience within the old town check out Auberge Lion d’Or – this b&B also featured in The Hundred-Foot Journey movie. La Residence is another charming boutique b&b in Saint Antonin.Click here for the Top 10 B&Bs in Saint Antonin Noble Val
Get a better sense of Saint Antonin Noble Val by watching my video:
How to get to Saint Antonin Noble Val and getting around
The closest airports to Saint Antonin Noble Val are Rodez (just over 2 hours) and Toulouse (just over 2 1/2 hours away).
The best way to get around the region is to hire a car.Click here for Great Car Hire Deals in Tarn et Garonne
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Thanks very much to Tourisme Tarn et Garonne for hosting my stay in their beautiful region. The opinions in this post are my own.
This post contains affiliate links – if you click through on some of the links and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. Just wanted to make sure that you knew.
Also published on Medium.