AVEYRON TRUE LIVING

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Aveyron Facts

- Surface area:
8,735km2
- Elevation:
  144 m (472 ft.) to
   1,463 m (4799 ft.)
- Land use:
  Farming, 59%
   Forest, 30%
- Population:
  roughly 280,000
- Population density:
  Aveyron 31/km2
   France: 112/km2
- The highest density of
   paved roads in all of
   France:
  16,600 kms
 

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Testimonials

 (Click on a name to read)




 

Thomas Mockler

 From left to right: Véronique, Thomas, Heather and Patrick, having a lot of fun, enjoying life at the Sauveterre-de-Rouergue producers' market.

I want to express my delight and complete satisfaction with a recent tour in the “province” of Aveyron, a relatively undiscovered jewel of France which contains an abundance of cultural and aesthetic attractions to please the seasoned traveler. For those with leisure to combine a cosmopolitan stopover in Paris with bucolic serenity and Medieval wonders—or for those who have already seen Paris—Aveyron has much to offer. The combination of sweeping natural beauty, indescribably picturesque villages, and ancient architectural treasures will provide a lifetime of happy memories and offers a welcome change from more-touristed itineraries. Véronique, our “hostess” (too bubbly and affable to be called a tour-guide), delighted to share the hospitality of her cheerfully renovated home and squire us through the length and breadth of Aveyron. The people are quite friendly and approachable: I recall one proud villager inviting us into his home to view his collection of antique motorcycles (he must have had more than 50).
In Clairvaux d'Aveyron François Lassauvetat — an antique motorcycles collector — is so proud to show us his impressive collection.
Photo Credit: Patrick McCloskey.

A typical day might begin with a light breakfast (or a yummy homemade quiche) followed by a drive to one of the many gloriously quaint ancient villages or towns with ample free time for individual exploration. Weather permitting, lunch might consist of a group picnic on a scenic overlook where lively conversation and local wine enhance the relaxed atmosphere and group bonding."
 

 

One picnic in Belcastel overlooking an old bridge, more than a thousand years old, a few metres away from the Château.
Photo Credit: Patrick McCloskey.

Philippe Teullier and his mom showing off their gorgeous Marcillac wine. Philippe is the Président du Syndicat des Viticulteurs AOC de la région, meaning the local vineyards' owners union president, as well as a renown vintner himself. AOC means only selected wines —all from Marcillac Vallon region— do hold the right of bearing the famous trademark  Marcillac. This trademark became an official AOC in 1990.
Photo Credit: Patrick McCloskey.

 


Afternoons would be spent exploring other remarkable sites with dinner at around 7 or 8pm. Particularly alluring to me was the multitude of ancient churches, castles and village architecture which recalled both the simplicity and dangers of Medieval times. And while we saw about a dozen of these incomparable villages, there was ample variety and an assortment of other attractions. Museums, dinner at local farmers’ market, wine tastings, a comprehensive visit to a working farm and &mdash my personal favorite &mdash a tour of the Roquefort cheese caves are just a few of the treats in store for the Aveyron adventurer. My final thoughts: wear comfortable shoes, enjoy the local wines and try the aligot… this is a trip I will remember with pleasure."

~ Tom Mockler, New York, U.S.A. 

 

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Heather Walter and Patrick McCloskey
 

Quelle belle visite en Aveyron! 

My husband and I love international travel, and Véronique has found an ideal niche for people like us. Experience (my) France gave us the opportunity to explore the back roads of an unsung region of France with someone who knows the area intimately and could take us off the beaten path—in true French style!

 

Market day in Villefranche de Rouergue.
Photo Credit: Patrick McCloskey.

Véronique, as host, was terrific. She not only knows the towns and countryside, but also many interesting people, like vintners and other local producers. She’s even related to one of them! It made such a difference to have her as our guide, translator and fellow traveller. She opened doors for us in a way we could never have experienced otherwise.

 

 

Benoit, Véronique's cousin, an organic veal producer, on a farmers' market next to Rodez. We had the opportunity to visit his farm, heritage of the family for three generations, a once abbey as well.
Photo Credit: Patrick McCloskey.

A visit to the Château du Bosc , the family house of the world-renown painter Toulouse-Lautrec, not even half an hour from Baraqueville. We had the opportunity to have a private visit conducted by Nicole Tapié de Celeyran, Toulouse-Lautrec's grand-niece.
Photo Credit: Patrick McCloskey.

The towns we visited were incredibly picturesque, and often situated in beautiful or dramatic landscapes. From our base in Baraqueville (handily located in the centre of Aveyron), we were able to take day trips to every part of the region. We were struck by how varied the landscape was from one corner to the other. Every day was a new and aesthetically rich treat whether we were exploring medieval villages, ancient sites, artisans’ studios or natural wonders like the Roquefort caves.

 

Heather wandering in Saint-Cirq Lapopie, voted in 2012 "The Preferred Village By The French".
Photo Credit: Patrick McCloskey.

And every day we ate and drank the best that the region had to offer. Most afternoons we stopped in a scenic place for a delightful picnic of local wines and cheeses, sausages and pâtés. In the evenings we would dine at a different restaurant, or occasionally gather with locals at a weekly producers’ market in a village square. The food was delicious, with many regional specialties. We made it our personal mission to try everything.

We have never been drawn to large organized group tours, so the idea of travelling with a maximum of six people was very appealing. It allowed for some flexibility and down-time in the itinerary, which was great. And one of the amazing things about this trip was how few other tourists we saw—and no tour buses!

We loved our visit to Aveyron, and we would whole-heartedly recommend it to any other independent-minded travellers."

 ~ Heather Walter and Patrick McCloskey, Canmore, Alberta, Canada.


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Effie Best
 

My tour of Aveyron

I spent 10 lovely days with Véronique, exploring the Aveyron. Aveyron has 10 of the official “most beautiful villages of France” and we visited 9 of themand several other villages that were at least as pretty. Old castles on the hilltops with stone houses clustered at the base, winding old streets, flower pots and hanging baskets, old bridges over small or large rivers, large and small churches…the Aveyron has lots of them!

ConquesIt was interesting to cross the pilgrim’s path from time to timewe saw walkers with their sticks in the towns on the route from Puy to the Spanish Camino. Some towns like Conques have relied on tourists [called pilgrims!] for centuries. Apart from the pilgrims and an occasional busload, there were few other tourists on our track. There were plenty of people around, though, at the markets, an art fair, sitting in squares or street corners. In some towns there were quirky decorations described as “Land art”. Being in France, of course we ate well.


At Rignac, some locals having a lively conversation around some wine in a typical restaurant.

Véronique's house is simple but comfortable. Baraqueville itself is a rather ordinary town, but excellently placed for travel all over Aveyron. And on market day, the market comes right up to the front door of Véronique’s house.

Baraqueville's market

Véronique grew up in the area and has explored it further, so her knowledge of places is amazing. She is a good driver and has an amazing ability to find her way along the twisting roads. she also seems to know the most interesting street corners in every town. The tour was altogether a great experience...

~ Effie Best, Adelaide, Australia

 

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Susan Jacobs and David Rowbottam

Enjoy the experience of living at the French pace of life in one of France’s most diversified départments. Véronique will guide you through the weekly markets and small towns with their festivals, showcasing their way of life. From a comfortable home base near Rodez in Aveyron, visit Roman ruins and the towns and castles built since. A unique experience with the opportunity to wine and dine on the local produce, including a visit to the world famous Roquefort cheese caves. Véronique can also tailor your itinerary if you have a special interest; a most enjoyable way to see a very interesting part of France.

~ Susan Jacobs and David Rowbottam, Perth, Australia

 


 

Richard Rigaux
 

Estaing and its bridge over the Aveyron riverThank you Véronique for a most memorable vacation. Some of my favourite memories of Aveyron are of being driven through the department on tiny back roads that I would NEVER have found, driving from one small village to another to find an amazing vista, or castle or lunch. I think of the towns by the food we ate there. Duck in Estaing, aligot in Najac, mushroom filled pastries in Marcillac. The villages are ancient and magnificent and full of history that Véronique really knows well.

Najac and its châteauVéronique knows Aveyron so very well and is eager and excited to show it off. We got exactly what we were looking for, an insider’s view of that part of France. And we were the only ones there. Virtually everywhere we went we found few other tourists, and sometimes we were the only ones at a site.

The Baraqueville home

 

 

This was in the beginning of July. I was especially impressed with our accommodations. That big, beautiful, bright house in Baraqueville was comfortable and very homey. It was certainly not a hotel, but Véronique’s home of which she is justifiably proud. After 10 days in Aveyron we felt we had had an adventure, found a treasure, and made a good friend.

Thank you Véronique. I really did love to Experience your France.

~ Richard Rigaux, Calgary, Alberta, Canada


 

Anita Rigaux
 

We had never thought to go on an organized tour of another country. Not for us the regimental time clock, but this was a stay with someone who knew the country and we would see it from her perspective.

We had such a good time! Véronique was such a great hostess! She was a competent guide and really fun to be around.

One of the bedroom and its fully opening windowWe loved our room with the windows wide open and no screens!

I was told by someone before I went to France that I would starve, but no...that was not the problem, we had so much to eat.

Aligot saucisse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our favourite...sitting on the terrace in the restaurant in Estaing and eating roast duck. We had wine, and amazing duck and fabulous weather and wondered why we don't have this more often. And then there was the amazing view from the café in Conques, and the first aligot eaten overlooking the valley in Najac.

Villefranche de Rouergue and its Thursday market from above

 

 

And markets! Loved the amazing variety of the markets, and in Villefranche de Rouergue, eating at the night market.

Véronique knew her restaurants and their food and where the best Roquefort was to be found.

All in all an excellent trip, highly recommended.

~ Anita Rigaux, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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