The diverse scenery of Aveyron offers walks to suit everyone, from open tracks on moorland and hills to narrow paths beside lakes, and rivers which meander through valleys and race through gorges. You’ll find a warm welcome and refreshment in villages along the way. Several of France’s long distance walking routes cross Aveyron and can be identified by red and white route markers.
Follow in the steps of pilgrims on this magical section of the Via Podiensis to Santiago de Compostela (GR65) across the Aubrac plateau, passing through Conques into the Lot valley. The GR36 touches Villefranche-de-Rouergue, Monteils and Najac and the GR71 crosses the Grands Causses Regional Natural Park in the heart of Knights Templar country.
Tourist Offices are happy to offer information and literature on local routes and, if your French is good, buy a TopoGuide for the area.
Aveyron offers fishermen 7,000km of class 1 and 2 waterways and 38 public lakes and reservoirs. In all, 4,000 hectares are at the angler’s disposal. Find out more about when and where to fish and the fishing schools and clubs in many towns from Fédération Départementale de Pêche de l'Aveyron, 29 av. Victor Hugo, 1200 Rodez. Tél.(00 33) 05 65 68 41 52. Remember to check closed season dates which must be observed. You do need a fishing licence (with photograph) and these can usually be obtained at fishing tackle shops and local tabacs.
Of the 5 lakes created in Levazou to provide hydro-electric power, Lake Pareloup between Rodez and Millau is the largest. In fact, at 1,800 hectares, it is the largest lake in the South of France and a fantastic place for watersports enthusiasts. Pareloup is said to mean protect yourself from the wolf in the regional language of Occitan. Luckily there are no longer wolves in the surrounding forests, hills and fields. Along Pareloup’s banks are sandy beaches for swimming, and little creeks loved by sailors. You’ll find opportunities for rowing boat and canoe hire, also windsurfing boards and sailing dinghies. There are plenty of opportunities for sailing, like the CYVP Sailing School at Salles Curan. Tel: (00 33) 5 56 46 36 74 any time Jul/Aug and after 6pm low season.
Cycling around the wild and unspoilt countryside of Aveyron is a safe pleasure without the pressures of traffic found in more populous regions. There are cycle trails for all levels and Tourist Offices will have information on local routes.
Take a journey into the microscopic City of Insects at Micropolis in the village of Saint-Leons 15 minutes from the Millau Viaduct. Be prepared to be instructed and amused by this extraordinary trip through 15 themed undercover areas taking you close to the lives of worker ants, butterflies, spiders, tropical insects and more in spectacular presentations of live insects. Experience the world as an insect, see the insect photo gallery, carnival of giant insects, children’s corner, shop and restaurant. Open Feb - Nov. See calendar on www.micropolis.biz for days closed off-season. Tel: (00 33) 5 65 58 50 50
This tourist itinerary of the medieval Lords of Rouergue lists a total of 23 chateaux including Château du Bosc, Fortress Royal de Najac and Tour du Viala-de-Pas-de-Jaux. Some are publicly and some privately owned, but all have signed up to offer the visitor a warm welcome and a taste of the legends and history of the region during the Middle Ages. Ask at Tourist Offices for details of participating chateaux.
Of all the museums in Aveyron, the Musee des Automates a Sauclieres will appeal most to little children. Discover a world in miniature in the village with over 500 figurines and clockwork toys and see how they are made.
Tel: (00 33) 5 65 62 11 81
This 20 hectare park 20km from Rodez makes an ideal outing for all the family. Take a 2 hour walk to see 50 difference species of animals from wolves to wallabies. The wooded site has a picnic area, little train, children’s farm and farm museum and special activities for children in July and August. Open every day and Sundays and holidays only mid Nov - March. Tel: (00 33) 5 65 69 96 41
There are over 1,000km of horse riding trails on the Aubrac plateau. Information and details of circuits can be obtained from Comite Departmental du Tourisme Equestre, 17 rue Aristide Briande BP831 - 12008 Rodez cedex. Tel: (00 33) 5 65 75 55 48.
Severe snowy winters on the Aubrac plateau meant cross-country skiing was traditionally often the only way for people to reach remote villages. Aubrac in the twenty-first century has 200km of signed cross-country ski trails linking Brameloup, Nasbinals in Lozere, Aubrac, Saint-Urcize in Cantal and Languiole. Child-friendly Aubrac at 1,300m makes a great central point for cross-country skiing with plenty of ice skating. Brameloup, set in forests at 1,200 - 1,390m, has 9 ski lifts, snow cannon, snow-hikes, crèche and more, whilst Laguiole (1,00 - 1,400m) offers similar including a floodlit trail. Stay in Laguiole or Saint-Chely d’Aubrac and find out more information from Aveyron’s tourist department in Rodez, tel: (00 33) 5 65 75 55 75.