Aveyron has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Over the centuries, Man has left his mark in the form of statues-menhirs (this is the richest département in France for the number of megaliths), to Middle-Age new towns, and the abbeys, and sites of the Knights Templar and Hospitaler that commemorate the arrival of military orders.
With 10 villages, Aveyron is the département with the largest number of listed villages in France. They are a perfect and enjoyable way to discover the architectural heritage in all its diversity.
In the west lie a group of fortified medieval communities designed for defence, law and order - bastides. In the south-east lie the towns and villages that have strong links with the Knights Templar. In the centre, lies the great cathedral city of Rodez from which roads splay out like the spokes of a wheel leading to all parts of the département.
© CDT Aveyron
The region has wonderful diversity of scenery, and as you cross the département, you are struck by the many changing landscapes: from the arid land of the Causses du Larzac to the high volcanic plateau of the Aubrac.
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 department contains a part of the Cévennes National Park. Well-known tourist attractions are the castle of Najac, a medieval ruin perched high on a hill, and the many beautiful old castles and monasteries such as Conques.
It's here, too that you will find the producers of the famed Roquefort cheese.
It may surprise many people that this is the top département for walking in France. There are more than 900km of long distance Grande Randonnée footpaths and a network of 4,000km of shorter walks, which enable everyone to benefit from the great open spaces.