Only a short drive away, and officially recognised as one of the 'Plus Beaux Villages de France' (most beautiful villages of France), Najac will undoubtedly be at the top of your list... wander round the village with its the timber framed houses and mount the hill up to the partly ruined 13th century Château.
Sample the excellent local cuisine.
Locals will tell you that only good restaurants exist in the Aveyron. One of the local specialities is Aligot, a delicious dish of local fresh cream melted in a creamy potato purée. The famous Roquefort cheese is just one among an enormous choice of cheese and there's good quality beef, a vast selection of fresh fruit and vegetables and much more. Stock up at markets in Najac or Antonin-Noble-Val on Sundays.
Villefranche is a Bastide built in 1252, situated within in a triangle formed by Albi, Cahors & Rodez. Take a guided visit of the town starting from the Tourist Office, to discover all its historic treasures.
Canoes can be hired at Verdun-sur-Garonne and the river Garonne here is suitable for children and those with no experience. Or to tackle a more challenging fast-flowing river, head for the Aveyron gorge starting at Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val.
Excitement for the children
- visit the Acrobranche at Martiel (for children from the age of 4 to adults) where they can try highwire trips through the treetops. Or come down to earth with a game of mini-golf at Saint-André de Najac.
Visit an organic farm
The Ferme Biologique du Marigot farm at La Fouillade is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August from 09:30. Children can take part in looking after the animals, making cheese bread, and will no doubt enjoy the donkey cart rides.
In the area you can find several working mills such as at La Bastide l'Eveque; the XIVth & XVth water mill of La Ramonde; the XIXth century flour mill of Castel in La Rouquette where there is also a botanical exhibition, walks and a picnic area; and the Moulinet XIIIth century oil & flour mill of Saint-André-de-Najac that never stopped working....
More sporting adventure at the nearby Roc du Gorp at Bor et Bar with different levels of difficulty from beginners to advanced. It's a lovely spot on the edge of the Viaud river with picnic tables alongside too.
On horseback or on foot
Enjoy the fresh air and sweeping countryside views when horse riding at the Ferme Equestre de Daoudou near Najac. Or if you prefer going under your own steam, join a free organised walking trip in July and August, every Thursday morning at Villefranche de Rouergue. Meet at 08:30 Place Saint-Jean.
Visit a superb (and very French) market
In the Bastide of Villefranche de Rouergue every Thursday morning and find almost everything including, yes, really big pants! Don't forget the Sunday morning market in Najac itself. Buy lunch and take it back to the house.
A day in Albi.
It is a beautiful town and well worth a day trip to visit the famous Toulouse-Lautrec museum, the extraordinary frescos in the cathedral, go for a boat trip on the River Tarn and wander through the old streets lined with lovely shops, restaurants and cafes.
CAVE AND PREHISTORIC PARK of FOISSAC
Spectacular mineralogy, dazzling works of art sculpted by nature. 8 km of galleries, adorned with magnificent concretions and stalactites, some of which might have served as a refuge and cemetery to the man of the Chalcolithic era (2500 BC). In the prehistoric park, the visitor continues the discovery of human life through its different aspects: habitat, crafts ...
The twin towers of Peyrusse-le-Roc stand guard above an abandoned silver mining town
which has been neglected since the Middle Ages. The ruins of the village, however, are both mysterious and beautiful.You can visit the castle, the cathedral and the English hospital for a spiritual experience in this under-estimated site. Have lunch in one of the small and friendly local restaurants in the newer part of town while there.
Winetasting and chateaux tour
There are many chateaux and ancients sites to visit, such as Belcastel near Rodez but Chateau du Mauriac is a must. En route to Gaillac in a very rural setting this Templar red-brick chateau is the family home of the artist Bistes. Beautifully restored and decorated by this talented man, you can also buy prints (and originals) of his work and get to shake his hand. The Gaillac area has marked tours around the Domaines with lots of opportunities to sample.
The much talked about and indeed photographed Millau viaduct
(the world's highest) is about a 2hr drive from Puech de Canabral. An impressive work of engineering and art, it will take your breath away.
Cordes Sur Ciel
A must visit bastide town! It is possible to ride in the Petit Train from the lower square to the old town at the top of the hill. It is a climb of 78 metres so to be recommended! There is a wealth of 13th century buildings within the five lines of fortification. Many are now the workshops of artisans so there is an element of tourism. Take coffee at the restaurant in the Place De Bride with superb views over the valley.
Skiing, skating, rollerballing......
For a great family day out, whatever the weather, try Cap 'Decouverte' near Carmaux, about 45 minutes from Najac. A converted coal mine which has been made into a 1600 acre leisure centre offering a dry ski slope complete with cable cars, zip-lining, tobogganing, cycling, rollerballing, skating and mini-karting. There is also a swimming pool and museum.
Walk the gorges of the Aveyron River
There are several hundred km of marked trails for both walkers and mountain bikers. Walk or drive down into the gorges. Hire a bicycle to explore the level, shaded towpaths which run for miles in each direction and picnic at the secret beaches along the Aveyron.
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