Causse or desert
Ancient fief of Hospitaller Knights, the village of Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux and its amazing granary-tower welcomes you for a loop on the southwestern slope of the Larzac plateau. A cobbled watering place, a fortified farm, a hamlet mark out this route in the heart of agropastoral tradition. A walk to choose in the spring because of the profusion of the “caussenarde” flora.
The lavogne (cobbled watering place)of Font Rome
This lavogne (cobbled watering place) of Font Rome, built in 1910 near tank wells is was first situated on a waterproof clay background. Then, it was built of stones all around and cemented. So this type offers the advantage of forming a passage that resists the trampling of sheep, and the gentle slope of the surrounding area limits the risk of slipping and falling of the animals. It is supplied by rainwater.
Tower of Viala du Pas de Jaux
The Lord of Tournemire gave to the Templars knights the lands of Viala du Pas de Jaux in 1150. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Viala consisted of a few farms.
After 1312, when the Hospitallers took possession of the Templars’ property, they decided to create in this place a village and for that they built farm buildings, managed by the brothers of the order. They constructed for them a dwelling and a church dedicated to St-Jean-Baptiste, the patron of the Hospitallers.
Until 1430, the inhabitants of Viala du Pas de Jaux and the surroundings took refuge in Ste-Eulalie de Cernon during the periods of insecurity which occurred on the Larzac. Because of the high distance between the two village, the inhabitants asked the authorization to the Grand Prior of Saint Gilles, to build a fortified tower to be able to take refuge inside with their possessions. This is the first fortification built on the plateau.
Today the 30 meters high tower has been restored. The vaulted ground floor, the five floors, its terrace and the dwelling dating from the 14th century are now accessible.
- From the tower of the Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux, take the road D23 in direction of Mas Baldy. After 150m, turn left then take straight ahead a wide operating path.
- Before the first intersection, turn right. After a cobbled watering place, head towards the Mas Baldy. In the hamlet, follow a small road leading to La Fage.
- 800m after the Mas Baldy, let the GR on the right and continue on the road again. Pass the junction of La Vialette (calvary, cobbled watering palce).
- 400m further, turn left on a track.
- Turn off left and head to D23 and the pinewoods (follow the signs), walk around the pinewoods on the track by the right.
- At the picnic area, take the marked path to the west to exit the woods and join the D23 at the cobble watering place. Take the road to the left to return to Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux.
You cross sometimes classified areas, presenting protected species. Close the gate in the grazing area, don’t near the sheep, keep the animals on a leash. Stay on marked trails, respect private property and nature. Don’t pick flowers. Bring back your waste, take care of the risk of fires. Put on good shoes and take enough water. Check the weather forecast before leaving.
Tourist Office Larzac et Vallées
Place du Claux, 12230 NANT
Located on the ground floor of the Town Hall (mansion of the 18th century), The Tourist Office welcomes you all year and offers tourist information on the Larzac and its valleys, the department of Aveyron, and also on neighboring counties. Free Wifi access.
Opening hours :
From Novembre to February: Tuesday morning 9:00-12:30
March and October : Tuesday to Friday 9:00-12:30
April : Tuesday to Friday 10:00-12:30 and 14:00-17:30
May, June : Tuesday to Saturday 10:00-12:30 and 14:00-17:30
July and August : every day 10:00-12:30 and 14:30-18:00
September : Tuesday to Saturday 10:00-12:30 and 14:00-17:30
Access and parking
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What to see
His canon is known for his works about french flora. At Saint-Paul des Fonts, he made botanical research and wrote the "Flore de France". The botanical area presents the enormous work of Hippolyte Coste in botany. Saint-Paul des Fonts, in the memory of the "flower priest", is an unmissable place for all those who want to learn and recharge their batteries while discovering the botanical richness of the Larzac and the Aveyron;
What to see