2 days / 1 night
35€ + (98€)
This small trip to Mazamet for us was very personal. The thing is that Xavier’s father was born there and spent around 60 years of his life in this small town that once used to be famous for its developed industry, and still loves it with all his heart and soul. So three together we left for pilgrimage to the memorial places of the passed youth.
No surprising that there aren’t so many people who actually know about existence of this town – Mazamet has nothing to stand out for and we don’t recommend spending your holidays there either. It’s just another standard French town, one among thousands. Even more – Mazamet, on the contrary to the majority of similar towns, doesn’t have an old historical centre as it was founded relatively not so long time ago . It used to be an important commercial point famous for its wool pulling for the various clients from all over the world, as well as for its textile industry doomed to collapse under heavy pressure of Asian rivals. Mazamet knew better times, and everyone can feel it – there is something shadowy and sorrowful.
Our initial goal was to visit all aunts and uncles, have a tour around important places of personal history, as well as the history of the city and to immerge ourselves into the recent past, which feels to be too far. Miraculous moments. People at the sunset of their lives continue living in the past, refusing the slightest changes and this perfectly reflects the mentality of the locals. The signboards, shops, cafés – everything remained exactly as it always had been 20 years before – motionless town locked in itself.
Quite long introduction, but the journey in the past is also a journey.
Time to pass to pragmatic stuff. What to do if you voluntarily or not happen to be in Mazamet, department Tarn?
In this case we should start with the surroundings. And namely with a village Hautpoul lying on the ruins of Cathar castle in 5 km from Mazamet. Hautpoul offers a great view on Mazamet and its picturesque valley. Cute village with beautiful gardens, cliff stairs as it stands on the massif Montagne Noire and rich history.
In several kilometres further there is lake Montagnès and under such heat it was the most desirable oasis in the entire world! Agreeable beach, toilets, changing rooms – we blessed ourselves for taking the swimming suites with us!
Pic de Nore
Also by car we made a small trip to one of the summits of the massif – Pic de Nore, 1211 m. Though it’s only 20 km far from Mazamet, Pic de Nore is already situated in another department AND another region. Splendid view, one can see Narbonne, thin stripe of the Mediterranean Sea and even Carcassonne castle! We recommend taking binoculars if it’s possible. By the way, Pic de Nore is quite popular with sportive cyclists who are not afraid of 1000 m of ascension.
On the way back to Mazamet we made a stop on the Route des Usines – “Factory road”. It was more than impressive. Huge abandoned factories with broken windows, holes on the roofs, old hangers lying about on the floor. Industrial glory that faded away.
The most interesting impression of this short nostalgic trip was our accommodation – B&B in a gypsy caravan “La Hulotte”! The owners of this wonder were repeatedly told that it was pity that their gorgeous garden was “hidden” so they decided to create a small B&B and to make guests enjoy the beauty around. So for them it’s more like hobby than real income since Mazamet is not overcrowded with tourists. Where comes the idea of gypsy caravan from – we didn’t find out, but according to Monique et Christian, they wanted to add a touch of freshness to their town. The caravan was ordered and produced in Romania by people who know the value of thing and who advised on the interior decoration. The result is absolutely stunning, and the garden with swimming pool is great indeed! One of the rare cases when we really wanted to stay more just to enjoy the place.
The next day after another session of relatives, we finally took some time to explore Mazamet. Tidy, neat and pleasant. There are some more abandoned factories in the town itself, though some part was put in order.
Nothing more to add; time to come back to Toulouse. Though we’d arrived by car, our third member left the day before, so we had to take a train.
Even though Mazamet could give impression to be a boring place, it has quite special history. Mazamet is a witness of the world which doesn’t exist any longer. Despite it the town continues existing, developing another type of activity, investing into infrastructure development and loving what remains.