Bastides and gorges de l'Aveyron Wild river and wonderful rocks

Najac

Najac, D.Viet

Villefranche de Rouergue

Villefranche de Rouergue, D.Viet

Les Gorges de l'Aveyron

Les Gorges de l'Aveyron, D.Viet

St Antonin Noble Val

St Antonin Noble Val, D.Viet

Why visit the bastides and Gorges de l'Aveyron?

  • Aveyron River's cliffs and whitewater rapids.
  • The variety of Rouergue bastides (Pays d’art et d’histoire).
  • Charming Saint-Antonin Noble Val in the Gorges de l'Aveyron.
  • Historical wealth and energy in Villefranche-de-Rouergue.
Cartographie Bastides

Cartographie Bastides, F. Duvernoy/ CRT Occitanie

MUST-DOS

Medieval villages and bastides to visit

50 mins north-east of Montauban, Caylus is a lovely medieval village packed with beautiful houses including the famous "Maison du Loup".

15 mins from there through the Bonnette Valley, Saint-Antonin Noble Val oozes irresistible charm on the banks of the Aveyron.
Perched on a rocky outcrop 30 mins away, Najac is a bastide whose views of the Gorges de l'Aveyron will leave you speechless.

Another 30 mins away is Villefranche-de-Rouergue, a royal bastide founded in 1252 and nearby is Villeneuve-d’Aveyron: this bastide was built on the foundations of an 11th century religious safe zone. 

Saint-Antonin Noble Val

St Antonin Noble Val 2, ADT Tarn et Garonne

Well worth a visit

Take your time exploring Najac's royal fortress, a fine example of medieval military art. The view from the keep perched 200m above the Gorges de l'Aveyron is incredible!

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Our favourite

Feast our eyes on La Cuisine, an art and design centre in the Château de Nègrepelisse between Montauban and the Gorges de l'Aveyron. It was renovated by the RCR architects who were also behind the Soulages Museum in Rodez.

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BE A FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE

....about bastides

Bastides are unique to Occitania. They are towns built out of all sorts between the 12th and 14th century. The town's are built in a chequerboard layout. The streets are cut at a right angle and their main squares hosting the lively market is usually covered on the edges.

The bastides of Villefranche-de-Rouergue and Najac share a famous founder: Alphonse de Poitiers, King Louis IX's brother and heir to the counts of Toulouse.

Najac

Fête à Najac, CRT Occitanie / D.Viet

VILLEFRANCHE-DE-ROUERGUE

Peruse from top to bottom

Stroll through the network of organised streets leading to Place Notre-Dame surrounded by arcades and Gothic buildings. Here you can see Notre Dame Collegiate Church, a stone behemoth with a massive belltower-entrance, Gothic nave and 62 stalls sculpted by André Sulpice. In summer you can go up the belltower for panoramic views of the bastide.

The square is buzzing on Thursday mornings: it's market day and one of the region's most popular. This is a great opportunity to sample farçous (chard pancakes), aligot (cheesy mash potato), fouaces (bread), cured meats and bread from the Aveyron.

Villefranche-de-Rouergue

Villefranche de Rouergue, D.Viet

Top tip

In summer, visit Villefranche-de-Rouergue with a tour guide who can tell you all about the collegiate church, Saint-Sauveur Charterhouse and rich merchant houses.

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GORGES DE L'AVEYRON

The perfect place for your outdoor adventures

The hills in Saint-Antonin Noble Val turn into cliffs framing the Aveyron for 20km. A natural area with incredible biodiversity. The many hiking trails on the clifftops give you stunning points of view.

If you're feeling brave then go climbing or paragliding from Roc d'Anglars.

Family must-dos: canoe down the Aveyron, swim by the little beaches in Laguépie, Saint-Antonin or Cazals, visit the hilltop villages of Penne and Bruniquel and their châteaus.

Gorges de l'Aveyron

Gorges de l'Aveyron, ADT Tarn et Garonne

Did you know ?

The Hundred-Foot Journey, a film starring Helen Mirren and Om Purri and produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, was filmed in Saint-Antonin Noble Val in 2014.

Cloître de la Chartreuse St Sauveur à Villefranche de Rouergue

Cloître de la Chartreuse St Sauveur à Villefranche de Rouergue, D.Viet

MONASTERIES AND PRIORIES

Enjoy some peace and quiet

Saint-Sauveur Charterhouse in Villefranche-de-Rouergue is home to one of the biggest Gothic cloisters in France open to visitors. Unwind in the romantic grounds at Loc Dieu fortified abbey between Villefranche and Caylus.

Varen Roman church and its priory are havens of peace between Saint-Antonin and Najac.
Last but not least, leave the world behind in the unique atmosphere of the Cistercian abbey in Beaulieu-en-Rouergue. You can have a picnic just outside the walls on the banks of the Seye with the dragonflies.

Well worth a visit

Visit the Maison de la Photo Jean-Marie Périer in Villeneuve d'Aveyron: the famous celebrity photographer in the 60s showcases his work in a beautiful medieval building. 

Villefranche-de-Rouergue, bastide du Moyen Age

Start your tour with your guide, Daniel Brillet, who will give you a great insight into the origins of this Aveyron bastide with its main square that's still reserved for local productions. Vidéo © Classtourisme.
 

Photos of the travellers #TourismeOccitanie #VoyageOccitanie

  • @kroboubouinsta
  • @aanto_ma

HOW TO GET THERE

  • By car: take the A20 (Caussade junction) to Saint-Antonin-Noble Val).  Take the N88 Montauban/Rodez motorway to Villefranche-de-Rouergue.
  • By plane: the nearest airport is Rodez-Marcillac (50 mins from Villefranche-de-Rouergue. ). Toulouse-Blagnac Airport is 90 mins away.
  • By train: Villefranche-de-Rouergue and Najac are stops on the Toulouse-Aurillac train. Caussade is the closest station to Saint-Antonin on the Toulouse-Brive line.

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