At the heart of the Midi-Pyrénées region, Aveyron is full of history and exceptional sites. Rough and gentle at the same time, lively and peaceful, this piece of land full of character will delight lovers of nature and heritage, satisfy the appetite of the most greedy and the need for escape for the most athletic. Example in the north of the department, around Conques.
Aveyron, a multiple land
The Aveyron is not limited to the Millau viaduct. A vast department (the fifth in France!), Aveyron is full of renowned sites and unusual territories. Because, wedged between Auvergne and Languedoc-Roussillon, the old Rouergue benefits from the influence and contrasts of its two neighbors. A multitude of diverse landscapes and places rich in history follow.
Off the beaten track, an endearing piece of land in North Aveyron deserves a stop. From the great steppes of Aubrac to the charming villages of Lot valley, the sweetness of Marcillac valley to the "chaos" of Causse Comtal, this corner of North Aveyron offers a change of scenery at all times. Don't hesitate to push up Conques (photo), one of the most beautiful villages in France.
Causses, valleys and plateaus
North of Rodez, the road opens onto the red lands of the canton of Marcillac. Salles-la-Source, a surprising village clinging to a cirque of limestone cliffs, marks the abrupt end of Causse Comtal. He begins the descent to a piece of land with a strong character. In the heart of the valley: Marcillac, red sandstone village bordered by terraced vineyards. Its village and its picturesque alleys, its church in purple tones and its chapel Our Lady of Foncourrieu (XNUMXth century) reflect the sweetness of life that reigns in this natural basin.
In the surroundings, we discover villages nestled in the hollow of wooded valleys or perched on top of hills. The route of the villages of Villecomtal, Rodelle et Muret-le-château is a perfect example! A 15-kilometer loop to do by car or by bike for the more athletic! North-east of Aveyron, the Lot valley full of charming villages. Stage of the road to Saint-Jacques de Compostelle, Espalion is located at the crossroads of Causse Comtal and Aubrac. Have the Old Bridge (XIth), formerly bearing houses and shops, and the Old palace, witnesses of a rich medieval past. Perched on its promontory, the Calmont d'Olt Castle dominates the city.
A few kilometers away, Estaing opens the Lot gorges. Another stop on the pilgrims' path, this village is classified among the most beautiful villages in France. Stronghold of the Estaing family for centuries, it retains a rich heritage: its gothic bridge (1998th century), listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since XNUMX, and its castle, listed as a historic monument in 1945. Last step: Entraygues, a medieval village located at the confluence of the Lot and Truyère rivers.
Conques, the serene stage
Another wonder of the region, Conques and its Sainte-Foy abbey. Nestled in the hollow of a slope of the Ouche valley, reminiscent of the shape of a shell (conche), Conques, a splendid medieval village, seems timeless. The emotion can only seize the backpacker when he enters the main street of this place full of spirituality, lined with ancestral homes with reddish stones and slate roofs. We advise you to arrive by the small road of Noailhac which offers the most beautiful view of the village!
At the end of the main street, Sainte-Foy Abbey, built in the XNUMXth century, is recognized as a masterpiece of Romanesque art. Stage on the way to Compostela, it is listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The tympanum, representing the Last Judgment, is the best-known piece in the church. The interior, all in purity and verticality, forces emotion. The impression of serenity, the invitation to meditation are accentuated by the translucent white stained glass windows, designed by Pierre Soulages. A rare moment.
Do not miss the visit to the cathedral treasury where the impressive is on display Majesty of Saint Foy, medieval reliquary studded with precious stones. A splendor.
It must be said, Aveyron is greedy! Country markets, present in every town and village, testify to this love of local gastronomy. An opportunity to taste the products of the Aveyron region! To discover without fail: the famous aligot, mixture of mashed potatoes and fresh tomme. A traditional dish from the Aubrac highlands.
Also taste the pranksters, these pancakes of chard and fried herbs. Another specialty: tripous, originally from Naucelle. Stewed veal tripe, tripoux were served in the XNUMXth century before Sunday mass before becoming the breakfast the day after village festivals.
Likewise, savor the well-known local cheeses: the laguiole andecir d'Aubrac, made with the milk of the famous Aubrac cows, and the famous Roquefort, with Lacaune sheep's milk. For dessert, bite into a piece of fouace and spit-baked cake.
Drizzle with a small glass of marcillac, red or rosé. AOC wine since 1990, its fruity taste recalls aromas of raspberries. Every Pentecost weekend, Saint-Bourrou celebrates its winegrowers. Rarer to find, theentraygues-le-Fel : red, rosé or white, this wine from northern Aveyron is only produced up to 120 bottles each year. To taste on the spot!
To prepare for your stay, consult our Midi-Pyrénées sheet.
Tourism in Midi-Pyrénées
Aveyron tourist office
How to get there ?
Via the north-south axis (Paris-Montpellier) of the A75 motorway. Exit at Séverac-le-Château then follow the RN88 to Rodez.
Rodez-Marcillac airport is the closest. Daily connections for Paris-Orly, Lyon, Dublin and London provided by AirFrance, Ryanair and Hexair.
Rodez station is connected to Paris Austerlitz, Brive-la-Gaillarde, Toulouse and Millau. Daily connections.
Where to sleep ?
- Hôtel du Clocher: 4, rue Séguy in Rodez: in the heart of the historic center of Rodez, a private mansion with a cozy atmosphere.
- Rural lodges and guest rooms: numerous in the department, they will immerse you in the heart of nature.
Find your hotel in Aveyron
Where to eat ?
- La Taverne 22, rue de l'Embergues in Rodez: discovering the flavors of the Aveyron terroir.
- Chez Marie, 3 Rue Bosc in Rodez. Tel: 05 65 68 53 20: For cheese and wine lovers. Only at noon.
Estivada: a real crossroads of Occitan culture (song, dance, theater, ..) during the last four days of July.