The 3 Elements:
We aim to introduce you to the three main elements that we think make South Aveyron such a special place.
Discover the diversity of each via our five tours.
Birds: The griffon vulture is an iconic bird of The Grands Causses, successfully reintroduced in the 1980’s it is now a common sight along with the 3 other European vulture species. Vultures integrate perfectly into this vast, open agro-pastoral land in South Aveyron.
Here, we are at the junction of three climatic zones: Atlantic, continental and Mediterranean. This has created a broad diversity of habitats which shelter an extraordinary array of wildlife including rare orchids, butterflies and reptiles. Plateaus, valleys, plains, gorges, forests, vertigo-inducing cliffs all hold a wealth of special birds that can be seen throughout the year.
The area is particularly rich in birds of prey with 18 diurnal species breeding here in 2015 and a further 9 being seen during the year; on a usual days birding during spring or summer the number of raptor species seen can easily reach double figures.
Often referred to as the king of cheeses, Roquefort is the pride of the South Aveyron. This fine blue cheese made with ewe milk can only be made here and matured within the caves present in the village of Roquefort. Savoured with some crusty bread from the local boulangerie and a glass of Cotes de Millau red wine, or prepared in pastries or a salad, Roquefort never fails to deliver on taste. A wide variety of other cheeses made from cow, goat or ewe milk are produced locally, perhaps with less notoriety than Roquefort but comfortably hold their own as cheese board neighbours and await to be discovered!
Aveyron has many speciality dishes which are unique to this area and are definitely worth a try. During your visit you'll get to taste some of the cakes and biscuits made with local produce and rich in flavour!
The lavogne is representative of the Grands Causses landscape and its traditional way of life. Lavognes are man-made waterholes built on the permeable limestone that forms the enigmatic ‘caussenard’ landscape. Here flocks of dairy sheep, many of which are milked to produce Roquefort cheese, quench their thirst on the arid plateaus of the Larzac, Causse Noir, Causse Mejean and Causse de Sauveterre which make up the Grands Causses.
Lavognes are often found close to picturesque farms, hamlets and villages made up of stone buildings with a vaulted architecture and roofed with thick limestone tiles known as lauzes. Many of which are fortified and date back to the times when Templar and Hospitaller knights inhabited these lands.
Remnants of more distant times are found in South Aveyron, here you can find the largest number of dolmens in all of France, some with capstones weighing an impressive 20 tons, and sculpted menhirs stand as sentinels.
One of the latest additions to the South Aveyron landscape is unmissable: the awe-inspiring Millau Viaduct. This is the worlds’ tallest bridge and spans the Tarn Valley just downstream from the market town of Millau.