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.
Above Le Truel, on the site of the chapel Saint-Cyrice of the Ifernet, the Parc naturel régional des Grands causses has installed an interpretation path around this peaceful site. Stop for picnic and discovery of the heritage.
Saint Xist is situated in the commune of Clapier, between this village and that of Fondamente. It's bell-tower completes its elegant architecture and serves as a landmark for the small hamlet nestling at its feet. At he foot of the plateau du Guilhaumard, reputed for its rich flora and fauna, come and discover the Saint Xist botanical garden.
IMDERPLAM Institut Méditerranéen de Documentation, d'Enseignement et de Recherches sur les Plantes Médicinales
Knowledge of medicinal plants: botanical, cultural and touristic meetings to in the heart of the Dourdou valley and its rich and varied vegetation. Small botanical garden to be visited (free).