Lacaze is a commune in the Tarn, Occitanie region, on the borders of Aveyron, 40 km north-east from Castres.
The territory of the locality covers part of the Monts de Lacaune, belonging to the south of the Massif Central, on the edge of the Sidobre natural region, a granite peak covered with forest.
Crossed by Gijou and its meanders, the town is composed of a village and many hamlets, between 400 and 800 m altitude, and paid a heavy price to the rural exodus. Lacaze is now only about 300 inhabitants against 2500 in the middle of the 19th century.
Its Renaissance-style castle, renovated, is the jewel of the town, which was a prosperous lordship.
The rich historical heritage and preserved natural environment of the town, labeled "Small City of Character", as well as its cultural dynamism make it a preferred destination for lovers of green tourism.
Classified as early as 1927, as well as the fountain that adjoins it, the castle of Lacaze is the heritage jewel of the town nestled in a loop of Gijou. It is mentioned from the beginning of the 15th century but it is in 1598 that the history of the building takes a new turn with the marriage of Henry II of Bourbon, marquess of Malause and godson of King Henry IV, with the heiress of the place. The castle, built on cellars carved in the rock, is then reworked and embellished in a Renaissance style. The same Malause family occupied it until the middle of the 18th century, but during the Revolution, the castle was partly demolished and then burned down in the 19th century. Acquired by the municipality, the castle is restored for ten years. Open to the public, it now houses a Center for Exchanges and Artistic Creation and welcomes in good weather exhibitions, shows and concerts. Open all year except Monday off season. Entry: 1 and 2 euros. Information on +33 5 63 73 06 14.
In the village again, a discovery of the heritage can include the church Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, of the nineteenth century.
Direction then the hamlet of Saint-Jean-del-Fresch whose chapel was mentioned from the tenth century and was originally a watchtower. Its massive appearance, the presence of a round tower with a square building as a base are amazing. Most of the architecture dates from the 13th century with sixteenth century alterations and can be described as rural Gothic style. Note that the building was a time dedicated to Reformed worship (sixteenth and seventeenth).
At the hamlet of Camalières, the church dates from the early nineteenth century. In addition to its unusual bell tower, since 1954 it has been home to frescoes by Nicolai Greschny (1912-1985), an artist of Estonian origin who specializes in the sacred art of Byzantine influence.
On the environmental front, the hilly and wooded countryside, the meanders of Gijou and the tributaries are all natural beauties appreciated by hikers. One of the most remarkable sites is the waterfall of Saut de la Truite, in the Dadou valley, on the hamlet of Saint-Michel de Léon.
From the picturesque village that developed at the foot of the castle to the many hamlets of the municipality whose territory is vast of 46 km², between historic sites and green landscapes, multiple hiking trails are available. Documentation and information on +33 5 63 77 32 10 or +33 5 63 74 63 38.
For equestrian excursions or carriage rides, Nordic walking or mountain biking and even initiation to archery, contact the Case Nature association at +33 5 63 37 50 17.
As for fishermen, the course of Gijou and its tributaries, rich in trout in particular, will delight them. Information from the local association at +33 5 63 50 43 04 or +33 5 63 50 45 19.