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Location of Soulages
Great Things to Do Near Soulages
Spend a day touring the area or go at a more leisurely pace and discover the villages one at a time. St Antonin, Bruniquel, Penne, and Vaours - the list is endless.
The Aveyron river is ideal for canoeing.
There are a host of water activities on offer either in Najac or in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val. Or if you prefer to get active on dry land there is tennis in St André-de-Najac.
The impressive village of Najac is close by (6km).
You only have to arrive in the village and you will see why it has been classed as 'one of the most beautiful villages in France' The medieval village is perched atop a crag which overlooks the valley and river below. Colourful flowers adorn the pretty stone houses that line the streets and during the summer, the cafe tables spill out on to the square.
Further afield, but well worth the trip,
is the much talked about and indeed photographed Millau viaduct (the world's highest). It's about a 2hr drive from Soulages. An impressive work of engineering and art, it will take your breath away.
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.
See the beautiful countryside from horseback when you try horse riding at the Ferme Equestre de Daoudou near Najac. However, if you prefer shanks' pony there are free organised walking trips in July and August, every Thursday morning at Villefranche de Rouergue. Meet up at 08:30 Place Saint-Jean.
Be close to nature on an organic farm.
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 the cheese bread, and will no doubt enjoy the donkey cart rides.
Le Château de Belcastel.
Built a thousand years ago, this stunning fortress rises above the picture-postcard village of Belcastel. Don't miss the fantastic views over the Aveyron valley and a unique collection of illustrations and cartoons.
For fine Roman architecture, abbeys and treasure,
head to Conques, an important staging post on the road to Santiago de Compostela and included in the list of the 'Most beautiful villages of France'
Due south is Cordes-sur-Ciel,
proudly perched on a high rock, with amazing views over the surrounding countryside. Likened at times to a lying dragon across the valley, this town is full of secrets and magic - one of France's unforgettable medieval towns. Art and craft shops line the narrow cobbled streets.
Gaillac and Albi.
About an hour from your house is the lovely town of Gaillac set in the middle of vineyards and the old city of Albi with its famous 11th century Sainte-Cécile cathedral and apocolyptic fresco of the Last Judgement. Toulouse-Lautrec called Albi his home town - make time to visit the museum dedicated to this famous artist.
This part of France is famous for its castles and there are certainly plenty of them all within easy reach of Soulages, including Villefranche de Rouergue, the Château des Graves, Château du Bosc, the Château de Bournazel, the fortress of Aubin and the royal fortress of Najac.
Try cross-country motorbiking.
At University Moto at La Rouquette you'll find plenty of space to learn or train on motobikes, mini-moto bikes and moto-cross. And if you need even more adventure there's paragliding at Maison des Guides at Cajar.
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 Viaur river with picnic tables alongside too.
Enjoy the views from the garden and terraces at Soulages.
Overlooking the Viaur valley, Soulages is in a spectacular position with 180° views. To relax on the terrace and watch the sunset is simply magical. Stay there as night falls and the sky becomes star studded.
Have a game of pool or table tennis, or play croquet on the lawn.
You'll be amazed at how competitive you become. For those who love gardens, you will find the garden here full of plants and flowers - an interesting mix and beautifully landscaped.
Take a stroll along the country lane towards St André-de-Najac.
It is about 1km into the village where there is a great restaurant (tested by the Vintage Travel team!) where they have a set lunch menu for about 12 euros. There is also a bar in the village where you can watch the big sport events.
A great pottery workshop in a converted barn with the opportunity to try your hand at the potter's wheel or buy beautifully crafted and glazed kitchenware and other pieces.
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 ...
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.