unusual natural sites
The Aveyron has a great diversity of scenery and crossing the département, you are quickly struck by the changing landscape: from the arid land of the Causses du Larzac to the high volcanic plateau of the Aubrac passing via the Rougier de Camarès, you quickly realise that it is a land conducive to impressive natural sites that are unusual at times.
Don’t hesitate! Walk around the “Trou” de Bozouls (Bozouls “hole”), make out the shapes of the rocks at the chaos of Montpellier le Vieux, descend the meanders of the prehistoric caves at Foissac, go for a romantic walk on the Presqu'île de Laussac (Laussac peninsula).
The omnipresent flora
In the south, on the arid land of the Causse du Larzac bathed in the Mediterranean and oceanic climates, both mountain and Mediterranean garrigue scenery are found. Here you will see the symbol of the causse, angels' hair. Will you be able to identify the 45 species of orchids (there are 150 found in France) including the rare Aveyron Ophrys that can be admired but not picked? And what about the magnificent cardabelle golden thistle ?
In the north, on the Aubrac plateaux, the fields wake in spring after having spent several months under snow. Yellow carpets of crocuses and daffodils emerge. Then, the gentians appear that are much appreciated at aperitif time and the Aubrac tea that flavours infusions and liqueurs. Botanical lovers will be won over by more than 2000 plant species to see !
A multitude of wild species evolve in complete freedom in the immense woods. Go collecting mushrooms or blackberries and you will see the footprints of foxes, wild boar, deer and hares. Raise your head and perhaps you will glimpse the tail of a red squirrel. What is the impressive bellowing you can hear in early autumn? It’s the deer rutting.
Barn owls, tawny owls, falcons, buzzards or Griffon vultures are just some of the species of birds of prey amongst the 250 that are now found today in the Aveyron.
Along the river banks, herons live alongside coypus. Apparently, even beavers have reappeared on the banks of the river Tarn.
In the natural surroundings of the Grands Causses, discover nearly 100 couples of Griffon vultures as well as numerous other species of birds with the "Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux" (Birds Protection League).
Jardin Botanique de l'Aubrac (Botanical Garden of the Aubrac) - New for 2011 - discovery area dedicated to wild plants of the Aubrac. For everybody: children and adults (individuals, families, groups, school trips...).
Relax here with the family on the banks of the Viaur between the villages of Bellecombe and La Roque, just south of La Salvetat Peyrales. Just beside the river Viaur, which separates the Aveyron from the Tarn, you'll find all you need here for a relaxing day in the sunshine- picnic tables, barbecues, covered seating area and toilets, all in a beautiful riverside setting. From here you can also follow walk no 9 of the Family Rambles to the chapel at Murat.