The Aveyron boasts 10 of the ‘most beautiful villages in France’ as well as numerous chateaux, majestic churches and cathedrals which those with an interest in history and culture can enjoy.
Conques – Drive time 30 minutes
This pretty medieval village with its abbey dating back to the 10th century has its origins in the pilgrims and was a major stop on the ‘Santiago de Compostella’ pilgrimage. It is classified as a world heritage site and one of the ‘plus beaux villages de France’. It has many restaurants and shops selling local produce and artifacts.
Belcastel – Drive time 15 minutes
A picture postcard village tumbling down the sides of a lush green valley on the banks of the river Aveyron with the ruins of a chateau and a humpback bridge, Belcastel is one of the ‘plus beaux villages de France’. In the village of Belcastel there are several cafes and two very good restaurants. Or take your own picnic lunch to eat sitting on the river bank.
Rodez - Drive time 25 minutes
The largest town in the region, at its centre the old town of Rodez is perched on a hill around the cathedral. Rodez has all the shops and facilities that you would expect to find in a major town. The newly opened Musee Soulages is a major attraction for those interested in contemporary modern art.
Villefrance de Rouergue – Drive time 25 minutes
This large town situated on the banks of the Aveyron River, has a very fine centre of stone built Medieval townhouses built around the cathedral. Make sure you go on market day, which is Thursday morning, when the whole of the old town centre becomes one huge vibrant market selling everything that you could ever need and more. This market is said to be the best in the department of the Aveyron. Villefrance has many shops and places to eat.
Peyrusse Le Roc – Drive time 15 minutes
A fascinating place to explore, parking in the ‘new village’ you walk down through a wooded valley and discover the remains of an abandoned Medieval village complete with chateau, cathedral, watermill and hospital. It is very picturesque with the river running through it and trees growing through the ruined stonework. Peyrusse has many idyllic picnic spots and a very good cafe and bar with a shaded terrace.
Najac – Drive time 45 minutes
This beautifully preserved medieval village is towered over by a royal fortress built in the 13th century perched high up on a rocky outcrop. Encompassed by a meander of the river Aveyron, Najac is another ‘plus beaux village de France’ and has several good restaurants and shops selling local specialties including a macaroon shop!
Villeneuve - Drive time 20 minutes
This small bastide town has 2 good restaurants and a cafe/bistro nestled under the arches in the main square. Villeneuve is often the venue for brocantes and antiques fairs with the many stalls set out in the tree lined avenues that surround the town. There is also a small market of local produce on Sunday mornings.
Sauveterre de Rouergue – Drive time 45 minutes
Another ‘plus beaux village de France’ Sauveterre gives the feeling of stepping back in time with its half-timbered houses, sculptured ornamental stones, ornate doorways and beautiful colonnaded square and has many shops and places to eat.
Marcillac - Drive time 20 minutes
Marcillac is situated in the Dourdou valley which has its own micro climate making it particularly suited for growing the grapes for the local Marcillac wine that has its own AOC. Much of the activity in the town revolves around wine production, bottling and drinking! Marcillac has a busy market on Sunday mornings.
Millau Viaduct - Drive time 1 hour 30 minutes
This magnificent piece of architectural engineering, opened in 2005, spans the valley of the Tarn at Millau. The viaduct designed by Sir Norman Foster is the highest in the world.
GITES LE ROC - 12390 BOURNAZEL - AVEYRON - SOUTH WEST FRANCE