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Aveyron Facts

- Surface area:
- 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
  66,600 kms!!


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La Couvertoirade


This medieval village, located at the confines of the Larzac plateau, reflects the military power of the Templar Knights and the daily activity of the Hospitaliers (Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem), through its exceptional shape, almost 1000 years after.

Awarded the "Plus beaux villages de France" distinction, La Couvertoirade is a great example of how looked medieval villages back then.


Some history:

At the end of the 12th century, the Templar Commander of Sainte Eulalie-de-Cernon ordered the construction of a castle. Later, in the 14th century, the Knights of Saint John built the church. In the following century, they erected the fortified enclosure, whose towers and walls are still intact today.


About the Knights Templar and Aveyron:

Rouergue former name of Aveyron fell under the sovereign power of the Count of Toulouse. In order to finance his grand role of taking part in the 1st Crusade (Godefroi de Bouillon), the Count of Toulouse, Raymond de Saint Gilles in 1112 sold his beloved Rouergue to Richard, already Viscount of Carladez, who then took over the title of Count of Rodez from Raymond de Saint Gilles. This made him a rival to the Bishop of Rodez. When Raymond VII died at Millau with no heirs in 1249, his son-in-law, Alphonse of Poitiers, the blood brother of Saint Louis moved closer to Rouergue bringing back power to the Capetian dynasty. This was another achievement towards the unification, and kingdom of France. During these times of uncertainty and the emancipation of colonists, walled towns such as Villefrance-de-Rouergue were erected. In 1187, Alphonse II of Aragon granted municipal status to the city of Millau. This constituted the birth of the Consulate of Millau.


The crusades and the different knights streams:

After the conquest of Jerusalem, in 1099 , during the first crusade, some of the Lords stay in Palestine and create the realm of Jerusalem. Main goal was to allow free access Jesus Christ tomb, thus making sure it would stay Christian.


Two new orders are born:

The first one to be created is l'Ordre de Saint-Jean-de-Jérusalem, in 1113. Mission: pilgrims' care and residence. In 1120, another religious stream, l'Ordre du Temple was created. Mission: pilgrims safety, along their pilgrimage.


Donations, sometimes generous, allowed these two religious, but military orders to organize a powerful network of commanderies, and flourish for almost 200 years. At one point in time, there used to be commanderies all over Europe, in Scotland, actual Poland, or Sicily.