Aveyron, historic Rouergue

The Aveyron department replaces the historic province of Rouergue.

It is today part of Occitanie, one of the 13 new regions created with the territorial reform that took effect on January 1, 2016.

Aveyron is a  land of contrasts, a land of wild and varied landscapes.

Aveyron department - landscape
Aveyron landscape

Aveyron, a land of rock

The Grands Causses (Parc Naturel Regional des Grand Causses to the east of Millau) is a region of arid and semi-deserted plateaus.

There’s no water on the high lands as the limestone absorbs rainfall like a sponge.

Scanty vegetation therefore adapted to dry summers and winter hoarfrost.

This dry land is dedicated to the breeding of Lacaune ewes, whose milk produces the renowned Roquefort cheese.

Millau viaduct seen from Peyre village
Millau Viaduct seen from Peyre village

The spectacular canyons the tumultuous Tarn cuts through the Grand Causses are known as Gorges du Tarn.

The river, however, creates little pockets of greenery with picturesque medieval castles and villages, such as along the breathtaking Raspes du Tarn, to the west of Millau.

Millennia of river and rain erosion also produced strange heaps of dolomite rock, or chaos, as the locals call them.

Amazingly, water carved fairy-tale landscapes full of look-alike pillars, arches, ruins of ancient cities, human faces or imaginary animals…

Southern Aveyron is quite different as it is a land of red soil.

The Rougiers plateaus of Camarès are indeed saturated with iron oxide that gives them the colour of blood, the colour of life.

Green Aveyron

The north of the department is a greener region.

The crystalline rock of the Auvergne Mounts’ foothills retained water and formed the Lévezou Lakes.

The green plateaus of Aubrac is a vast untamed land that stretches at an altitude of 1200-1400m and is essentially dedicated to cattle rearing.

Bastides and towns

The gentle rolling hills of the Ségala plateaus stretch to the north-west of Aveyron.

This is the land of bastides, fortified towns erected during the Middle-Ages and beautifully restored for the pleasure of all.

Aveyron’s main city, Rodez, is the ancient capital of Rouergue.

The region boasts several major tourist landmarks such as Millau and its magnificent viaduct, the bastide of Villefranche de Rouergue, Laguiole the regional capital of cutlery or the Templar cities to name a few.

Finally, ten villages rank among the most beautiful villages in France!

Area: 8,735 km2
Population: 277,048

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