There are some places that are so special you have to pinch yourself to make sure they’re real and not a dream. Aveyron in southwest France is one of those places. It’s a land where you’ll step back in time and discover beauty on every corner. Pickled in the past, picture postcard pretty medieval villages, historic towns, rolling valleys and vast canyons where rivers roam and forests of trees watch over the land. Markets, ancient churches clinging to rocky cliffs and divine cathedrals with soaring towers, castles and museums proliferate. And it’s an extraordinary area of outstanding natural beauty.
Averyon has charm by the bucket load and there’s no better way than to discover it with a local guide who knows all of its secrets and loves to share them with you. Find out more about the best guided tours of Aveyron…
Guided tour of Aveyron
Véronique Héry is a fully bilingual local who hosts and runs guided, bespoke tours of Aveyron. Not just any old tour this. There’s no rushing around, and no two tours are ever the same. Véronique takes the time to discover what interests you and then designs the tour around you using all her considerable contacts, know-how and experience. And tours can be run for one person or up to 8 for people who want to tour together such as family members or friends. The tours are not made of mixed guests who don’t know each other.
Most tours, with Véronique providing transport, will include the greats of Aveyron such as Conques. Officially one of the most beautiful villages in France, it has a beautiful church. It lies on the medieval pilgrimage route to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, and was a favourite stopping place for pilgrims. It remains one of the most prominent centres of art and spirituality in the western world.
There are a whopping ten officially “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (most beautiful villages of France) in Aveyron. The most of any department in France apart from the Dordogne which is on equal footing.
And maybe the Millau Viaduct, the tallest cable-stayed bridge in the world and an incredible sight that makes stop in your tracks. Then there are Grand Causses, honeycombed with caves, grottoes, underground rivers and potholes, peppered with wildflowers and forests. And nearby, in the Tarn, the town of Albi, birthplace of Toulouse Lautrec which pays homage to the artist with a fabulous museum
There’s any number of must-sees…
A holiday like no other
… However, you’ll also discover the off the beaten track gems, the places most visitors never get to see. Véronique will share the tales and legends of the places you visit. Belcastel, built 1000 years ago into the rock, one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Aveyron. The Cistercian Abbey at Sylvanès, a medieval village where the houses are built from pebbles. Or perhaps La Couvertoirade, one of the last preserved Templar Knights villages in France.
Culture Vultures will love Rodez with its Gothic cathedral and museum. Dedicated to the works of Pierre Soulages, one of France’s greatest living artists, it’s also home to two Michelin-starred restaurants.
Estaing, with its majestic castle is unforgettable. And, the 13th century “bastide royale” at Sauveterre-de-Rouerge is beautiful and authentic. There are so many wonderful, hidden gems to be discovered.
Maybe you’ll go bird watching, take a pottery class, learn how to make your own Laguiole knife, go canoeing down the Tarn Gorges … There’s an enormous choice of things to do and every tour is exclusive. You choose the types of activities that you want – and each tour is adapted to you, to suit your pace.
Explore the gastronomy of Aveyron
And you’ll taste the finest food of the region. There’s a huge choice from the famous aligot-saucisses to local wines and artisan chocolates. Your itinerary could include a visit to the most beautiful markets such as at Villefranche-de-Rouergue (photo above). And if you’re in the region in the summer months, a visit to a night market to meet the locals and enjoy local produce is an absolute must. Maybe you want to take a cooking class, learn how to make a gâteau à la broche, a cake baked on a rotating spit, an incredible but fun experience.
Maybe you want to tour a cheese farm and learn about Roquefort cheese, the world-renowned and locally made favourite. Or perhaps you want to visit a vineyard and enjoy tastings with the wine makers. Véronique will organise all meals, from Michelin starred restaurants to authentic brasseries or local restaurants. If you love food – there’s a huge amount to experience on a tour that’s unique and designed to your personal taste.
Accommodation is in a beautiful mansion house in the village of Baraqueville in the heart of Aveyron, close to Rodez.
On this tour you’ll discover real France, authentic and charming, the France that most visitors never get to experience…
Find out more, get in touch and book a holiday like no other: www.AveyronTours.com