Aveyron is a department in Occitanie, in southwestern France. It has a very low population density. Its economy is dominated by agriculture - mostly animal husbandry. Sheep are raised for milk to make cheese (see Roquefort) and cattle for dairy and meat. There is a significant amount of forestry and tourism.
The main cities in Aveyron are:
- 1 Aubrac
- 2 Roquefort-sur-Soulzon
- 3 Conques — known for its abbey on the ways of Saint James
- 4 Belcastel
Aveyron is in South West France.
You can reach the area by air:
- through Rodez airport. Flights to/from Paris, Lyon, London Stansted, Dublin, Brussels
- through Toulouse international airport, approximately 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Rodez
- through Montpellier airport, approximately 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Rodez
- from the north (about 3 hours from Clermont-Ferrand) via autoroute A75
- from the south (about 1 hour from Montpellier) via autoroute A75
- from the southwest via A68 and N88 (about 2 hours from Toulouse)
Public transport in the Aveyron is fairly limited outside of the main centres (Rodez, Villefranche de Rouergue, Millau) where there are local bus services. You really need to have your own car (or to rent one) to explore the region. There is a regular train service between Rodez and Toulouse, via Albi.
Motorcycling is very exhilarating with quiet roads and many opportunities for trail-riding.
- Rodez and its cathedral
- The Viaduc of Millau is an engineering masterpiece and one of the most impressive road bridges in the world
- Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, home of Roquefort cheese
- The "Bastides" in Rouergue
- Templar and Hospitalier sites
- The lake of Pareloup
- 10 of France's 'Most Beautiful Villages' including Conques, Belcastel and Sauveterre de Rouergue
- The mountains of the Aubrac and the village of Lagioule, home of the famous knife
- The Thursday morning market at Villefranche de Rouergue
- Enjoy nice landscapes. The area has a variety of types, from arid mountain moorland to dense deciduous forest. Wild flowers are at their most profuse in May and June. In season, wild fruit are everywhere - strawberries, plums, blackberries, sloes, nuts of many varieties.
- Watch wildlife. Birds range from small songbirds right through to vultures. Mammals include wild boar, pine martens, water voles, red squirrels and deer. There are snakes and lizards. The lakes and rivers support both game and coarse fish. Insects such as moths and butterflies are super-abundant.
- Eat local specialities (roquefort cheese)
- Outdoor activities (hiking, rafting...) Most of the rivers offer canoeing. The lakes of The Lévézou have guarded bathing beaches and welcome sailing, water-skiing and jet-skiing. They are equipped with free-to-use launching ramps with trailer parking facilities.
- Respect the peace and quiet of the villages.
Most restaurants are family run and tend to offer local specialities, such as veal, pork and trout in addition to more mainstream French cuisine. Food is reasonably priced, especially outside of the main towns at lunchtimes where you can often find a fixed menu with wine for around €12-€14. The Aveyron also has a number of excellent Michelin starred restaurants including Michel Bras (Aubrac), Le Vieux Pont (Belcastel) and Le Senechal (Sauveterre de Rouergue) for lovers of haute cuisine. There is usually no problem getting a table at a local restaurant, except on Sunday lunchtimes and bank holidays when it is a good idea to book. Outside of the main summer season, many restaurants in the countryside close on Sunday and/or Monday evenings.