A land of verdant scenery, rolling hill and rocky crags; a land unspoilt by man and unaffected by
the changing patterns of modern day living. Authentic, original and undiscovered, the Aveyron is truly “la France profonde” at its most enchanting.
The Aveyron is a land of contrasts. Situated in south-west France, it lies in the foothills of the Massif Central, influenced by and torn between the Massif Central (Clermont-Ferrand), the south (Montpellier) and the south-west (Toulouse). In the north, the landscape is mountainous, dominated by the plateau d’Aubrac descending to the banks of the river Lot. In the south, the river Tarn carves its way through the plateau de Larzac, leaving its mark in the form of the Gorges du Tarn. The west of the département is a land of undulating hills and valleys, with numerous rivers which ultimately find their way via the river Aveyron to the Garonne and the Atlantic coast at Bordeaux.
The hallmark of the Aveyron is its authenticity. Even the departmental capital, Rodez, is a relatively modest city, with an austere cathedral and an historic quarter, but no great pretensions as a tourist centre. The appeal of the departement lies not in great showpiece attractions but in its breathtaking scenery, its cultural heritage and its renown gastronomy. Here, you will find an imposing sense of harmony, of tranquillity, of being at one with nature. For the visitor, it offers the chance to recharge the batteries and to rediscover a sense of equilibrium, of genuine values.
This is not to say, however, that there is little to see or do in the Aveyron. The Abbaye de Conques houses an exhibition of medieval gold, one of the finest collections of the goldsmith’s art in the world. Conques is but one of the ten villages in the Aveyron which have been admitted to that élite club, “Les plus beaux villages de France” (the most beautiful villages in France). Najac, Belcastel, Sauveterre de Rouergue, La Couvertoirade, and Estaing, are among the other members of this prestigious group. But the Aveyron is not simply a rural museum of pretty villages and beautiful scenery; it is a vibrant département, proud of its traditions and its patrimony. In the south of the département lies the unassuming village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon whose fame extends worldwide, for it is here that “the king of cheeses” is made. Close-by is the town of Millau, renown centre for glove making and supplier to the leading fashion houses in Paris. Laguiole in the north is famous in France for its cheese and throughout the world for the Laguiole knife, a rural tradition, since revived, that has become a fashion icon thanks to designers such as Philippe Stark, Sonia Rykiel and Yan Pennor’s.
The Aveyron is justifiably reputed for its gastronomy, both rustic and refined. Foie gras, charcuterie, “le stockfisch” (made from dried cod),“l’aligot” (a purée of mashed potato and tome de Laguiole cheese plus a soupçon of French je ne sais quoi), gâteau à la broche… the list goes on and on. The Aveyron also boasts some of the finest restaurants in France, decorated with Michelin stars and other awards, of which the most notable is the Hôtel Restaurant Michel Bras in Laguiole – a veritable gastronomic experience; but then the Aveyron is an unforgettable experience just waiting to be discovered.
A mong ramblers, Aveyron is a favoured destination: with its 900 km of footpaths which form part of the national “Grande randonnée” network, plus a myriad of others footpaths and tracks, the rambler is spoilt for choice. In this wonderful setting, nature reveals herself in all her glory and diversity; walks through the forests, walks along the river banks, botanical walks, walks on the corniche above the river Tarn, walks across the Larzac plateau, fell walkingon Aubrac. Through stunningly beautiful countryside, ramblers of all ages and abilities will be enthralled by the rich variety of nature.
Our tours in Aveyron
Our self drive tour in Aveyron