Top 12 the gorges of Aveyron
Diversity is what awaits you all along the Aveyron:
heritage, culture, outdoor activities are all here.
The château at Séverac-le-château will charm you, you will be amazed by Rodez and its cathedral with its very particular bell tower. The picturesque village of Belcastel is a serene location. In Villefranche-de-Rouergue and Najac, you are in bastide country where you will relive a rich mediaeval past. This is also where the more courageous will amuse themselves in the turmoil of the river Aveyron.
Along the Aveyron river
Continue along the Aveyron and you will reach the village of Belcastel classed as one of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (most beautiful villages in France). This is a picturesque village where the inhabitants have preserved the ancient houses. The magnificent château was pulled from the ruins during the 1970s by the architect Fernand Pouillon, who had fallen in love with the little village.
Now an unmissable site in the Aveyron, you will find a unique charm in Belcastel, splendid architecture and if you like walking, the numerous footpaths along the river will delight you.
The Rouergue Bastide par excellence! A very regular plan, with its streets set out in a grid that lead to the central square lined by arcades. The impressive collegiate church dominates the square and watches over the market held every Thursday.
It is thanks to a rich commercial past that Villefranche was able to build the Chartreuse Saint-Sauveur charterhouse in the 15th century, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.
At Najac, the Aveyron valley becomes tumultuous, tight gorges encircle the bastide.
Very quickly you understand why Najac is classed as one of the “Plus Beau Village de France” (most beautiful villages in France): of course, there is the impressive forteresse royale perched on the rocky ridge; its village with its unique street that looks as if it is balanced along the rocky ridge. But there is also its environment and its natural riches, with the river below that enables you to enjoy outdoor activities: mountain biking, canoeing, walking…
moving away a little
THE CHATEAU DE BOURNAZEL
Visit the pastoral village of Bournazel and its castle, considered to be one of the most beautiful examples from the 16th century.
Replete with luxurious furniture, objets d'art, and contemporary paintings, you will be immersed in the humanistic, educated atmosphere of a bygone golden age. The carved decorations and restored garden evoke this era’s most stunning creations. The guided tours (closed on Tuesdays) will help you discover the beauty of this unique place.
Visit the Château de Bournazel
Walk through the little village nestled in greenery, and climb the rocky peak leading to the ruins of Peyrusse and a captivating viewpoint. If you are not one for heights, why not take a country walk instead, crossing a charming little stone bridge and ending up at the bank of the Audierne stream ?
Visit the fortified abbey and its park during the summer; it is a splendid place for a walk all year round.
Interesting fact: The Mona Lisa, as well as other paintings from the Louvre fleeing from the invading German forces during the Fall of France, were placed here for a few months in 1940.
There are two stories told about Villeneuve: the story of the ‘sauveté’ (a privileged district in which fugitives could seek refuge) established around its Church in 1053, and that of the bastide developed by Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse from 1231 onwards. These events have given the town its singular and attractive architecture.
During your walk around Villeneuve d’Aveyron, pay a visit to the Maison de la Photo, which houses the permanent Jean-Marie Périer exhibition in a beautiful residence. His photographs have become classics of the golden age of rock music.Take a look at the tourist guide to Villeneuve d’Aveyron.