Aveyron

    • Belcastel toits

    In this former stopping place on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, by the banks of the Aveyron, stone-built houses and roofs tiled with "lauzes" stone slabs rise in tiers at the foot of the fortified castle that was remarkably well restored in the late 1970s by architect Fernand Pouillon.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Aveyron
    • Castles and ramparts : The castle

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    • Brousse-le-Château vue clocher

    50 kilometres south of Rodez, where the Tarn joins the Alrance, the towers of a medieval castle overlook the village of Brousse to which it gave its name. An old gothic bridge spans the Alrance and leads to the flagstoned streets and the 15C fortified church.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Alrance
    • Castles and ramparts : The Castle

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    • Conques place animée

    A small village that is labelled a Grand Site de France. In the heart of the Lot Valley, this key stopping place on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela conceals a wealth of treasures : half-timbered houses, the 11C and 12C abbey church of Sainte Foy, its 250 capitals, its contemporary stained-glass windows by Pierre Soulages and its tympanum with 124 sculpted figures depicting the Last Judgement, but also THE treasure, that of Sainte Foy, a golden statue covered in gold and precious stones.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Sainte Foy Abbey Church

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    • Estaing église

    At the foot of the Aubrac Mountains, not far from the gorges of the Lot and Truyère, Estaing bears the name of a family of Lords one of whom became famous by saving the life of King Philippe-Auguste in Bouvines. The king then gave the village the right to display the royal fleurs-de-lys on its coat of arms. Shale stone houses with their "lauze" stone-slab roofs are nestled around a keep and castle dating back to the 12C and 15C and some of the finest town houses can still be seen.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : Rivers Coussane and Lot
    • Castles and ramparts : The castle
    • Wine : "AOC Estaing" white, rosé and red wines

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  • High up on the Causses du Larzac plateau, La Couvertoirade has several stories to tell : the tale of the Knights Templar who built the castle in the 12C, the story of the Knights Hospitallers who, in the 15C, took over from them and enclosed the village in a ring of ramparts and finally that of the village when its economy and population was at a peak and it boasted fine 16C and 17C houses.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The castle and ramparts
    • Panoramas : View of the whole village and the Larzac plateau from the top of the rampart walk

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    • Najac ambiance rue

    Najac is built along a rocky ridge, overlooked by a fortress that was once the envy of Kings of France and England. Its "lauze" stone-slab-roofed houses stretch out above the wild gorges of the Aveyron. Take the rampart walk and you will get an amazing view of the wild open spaces around you.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The Gorges of the Aveyron
    • Castles and ramparts : The 12C royal fortress
    • Gastronomy : Najac’s fouace
    • Panoramas : View of the village, the river and valley from the rampart walk

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    • Peyre façades maisons

    This hamlet that belongs to the municipality of Comprégnac will have had an unusual destiny : just 7 kilometres from Millau, its creamy stone houses stretch out along a sheer cliff that faces the highest viaduct in the world. In front of the church that is built into the cliff face, an open square offers an unobstructed view of the viaduct and the green waters of the River Tarn.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Tarn
    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Saint Christophe built into the rock
    • Panoramas : View of Millau Viaduct and the River Tarn

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    • Saint-Côme-d'Olt linteau sculpté

    In the Aveyron département but on the banks of the Lot, Saint-Côme-d’Olt was built behind the ditches of the old fortified town. The flamboyant gothic style church with its crooked spire, the Penitents’ Chapel and the Manor of the Sires of Calmont dating from the 12C stand alongside the old medieval stalls and the fine 15C and 16C houses to make a delightful combination.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Lot
    • Abbeys and churches : 12C Penitents’ Chapel, Saint-Côme-et-Saint-Damien’s Church
    • Castles and ramparts : Fortified gates, ditches

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    • Sainte-Eulalie-d'Olt placette Luzy

    Sainte-Eulalie is on the right bank of the River Lot and the village is laid out in a succession of arcs around the church square, a church which is a masterpiece of Romanesque and gothic art. In the narrow streets paved with stones from the Lot, the houses date from the 15C to 18C and are lovingly bedecked with flowers by their inhabitants. The mills along the River Serre are a particular feature of the village and bear witness to the former crafts of tanning and drapery which used to use the water for power.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : 11C and 12C church
    • By the waterside : Rivers Lot and Serre
    • Castles and ramparts : Les Curières de Castelnau castle (15C)

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    • Sauveterre-de-Rouergue place aux arcades

    In the heart of the Ségala region, 35 kilometres southwest of Rodez, this old royal "bastide" has retained its original layout that dates back to 1281. Visitors can still admire lovely half-timbered or Renaissance-style houses on the main square that is surrounded by forty-seven arcades, where craftsmen and shopkeepers sell their wares. The richly furnished Collegiate Church of Saint Christophe, the gate that bears the same name and the gate of La Mérette date from the 14C when the site was fortified.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : The 14C collegiate church of Saint-Christophe
    • Castles and ramparts : The gates of Saint-Christophe and La Mérette
    • Unusual sights : The square surrounded by 47 arcades

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