N°9 The castle trail
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N°9 The castle trail
Saint-Izaire

N°9 The castle trail

Agropastoralism
History and heritage
Panorama
Easy
2h15
16,6km
+515m
-516m
Loop
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Three valleys are the guideline of this biking tourwhich starts from a castle and enables you to combine physical activity with heritage sight-seeing.

Right from the beginning and throughout your riding, you will enjoy beautiful scenic viewpoints over Saint-Izaire and the Dourdou meanders. This circuit offers plenty of shade.

 


1 point of interest
History and heritage

Village of Saint-Izaire

The history of this village is intertwined with that of the old Episcopalian castle, which was formerly the Bishop of Vabres summer palace. The name of the village was first made mention of in an official document dating back to 862 AD.

During the 12th century, continual invasions, acts of banditry and battles between feudal lords created a tremendous insecurity. This led to the building of battlements to improve the defensive system and providea safe haven to the neighbouring people during periods of turmoil. The castle and the fortified village date back to the time of the Vabres bishops who made the village their summer residence and a safe refuge.

When the religious wars were over and peace restored, the protective wall lost its primary function and so today the façade of the castle has windows inserted along its length. The fortified gates were also demolished to allow the passage of carts or to expand the neighbouring houses. The villagestreet, footpath and house pattern has remained unchanged since the Middle Ages, and the beautiful 15th century facades and windowscan still be seen in some streets today. The old church part of the battlements had its vault lowered in 1635 to provide housing to the schoolmaster and guards. In 1650 repair works were started by the Consuls.

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Description

This circuit which has easy gradients can be combined with circuit n° 10 “Le Bois Noir”. The two circuits share the same starting point.

Follow the road towards Faveyrolles for about 1 km.

  1. Take the path to your right and enjoy the beautiful view overlooking the village. Pass alongside the deserted farm of Graudenc, then carry on along a path that picks its way through the undergrowth. Pass under the high voltage line and then cycle down towards the valley de Gos. Take your time to enjoy the nice views over the Dourdou valley on the eastern side. The Tarn valley is to the North and the Gos valley to the SW.
  2. Cycle up to a cross by the side of the trail, leave the trail here taking the path to the left that runs across a field up to some woodland.
  3. After a hairpin bend, cycle towards the sandpit and the banks of theTarn river. Carry on alongside the shady bank on the left side of the river, pass along the hamlet of les Alvernhes, and then follow the road for 300 m.
  4. Cycle down under the stone bridge of the former railway line. Then take the trail alongside the railway line that enables you to bypass the old tunnel by way of a 16th century house called Janolles. Follow the river and cycle under the bridge to reach the farm Mas de Gascuel from the left hand side. You will eventually end the circuit by cycling along a path which slopes gently down to Saint-Izaire.

Saint-Izaire: Former residence of the Vabres l’Abbaye bishops, the castle and the village are built in red sandstone. The castle dates from the 9th century, and was remodeled during the 14th century by the bishop who was to become Pope John XXII. The Bishops’ bedroom with its magnificent wooden floor and fine frescoes is the gem of the castle. The lovely houses and dovecotes that you will see in the village are built in the style of the Albigeois period.

Departure : Saint-Izaire
Arrival : Saint-Izaire
Towns crossed : Saint-Izaire

Altimetric profile


Recommandations

Box tree moths are active from May to October. During the caterpillar phase, they feed on the leaves of box trees. They crawl down trees and move on long silken threads, although these threads are annoying when hiking they do not pose any health risk

Information desks

Saint-Affrique Tourist Office

Boulevard Aristide Briand, 12400 Saint-Affrique

http://www.roquefort-tourisme.fr/

contact@roquefort-tourisme.fr

0565585600

OPENING TIMES:


The Tourism Office is open all year round, the opening hours are:

·July and august:

From Monday to Saturday: 9h – 13h & 15h – 19h

Sunday: 9h – 13h

·From September to June:

From Tuesday to Saturday: 9h – 13h & 14h – 17h

Closed: Sundays, Mondays and bank holidays

From November to April, the office is also closed on Saturday afternoon.

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Transport


Access and parking

Starting from Millau via the D992 road first, then via the D999 road up to the roundabout before Vabres l’Abbaye. Starting from Albi follow the D999 up to Vabres where you turn right onto the D25 road that leads to St-Izaire which is a 16 km drive from Vabres.  

Parking :

Recommended car park : By the Dourdou riverbank, on the right side next to the bridge.

More information


Report a problem or an error

If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here:


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HEALTH INSTRUCTIONS (dated June 06 2020)


Dear visitors


The Saint Izaire municipality is pleased to welcome you to this natural campsite. All measures have been taken to guarantee that you have a safe and enjoyable stay. We simply require   that everyone conforms to the following health and safety instructions.


•    You are free to choose the location of your pitch, provided that you respect the clearly marked spaces and adequate distancing between the pitches that are already occupied; if any problem arises or in case of overcrowding, the municipality reserves the right to change the pitch location of newcomers to ensure a homogeneous distribution within the campsite.


•    As a basic principle, you are required to comply with safety distancing measures within the reception area at all times. Groups of more than ten people or of several campervans or caravans will be split to ensure health and safety conditions.


•    If safety distancing cannot be respected (e.g: using the toilets), we highly recommend that you wear a fitted mask (covering your nose and mouth).


•    Door handles and sanitary facilities will be cleaned on a regular basis. However, we request that you follow the current precautions by using a hydro alcoholic solution if necessary. Outdoor games areas will also be cleaned regularly; However, in line with the precautionary principle, the set of outdoor games (children's slide - climbing frame) will not be open.


•    Upon leaving the campsite, you will be asked to leave your name and telephone number to comply with our adequate health monitoring obligations, in case of any future alert. These contact details will only be kept for two months.


We hope you will enjoy your stay in this natural site that is made available for you while complying with our safety instructions. Shops are at your disposal in the immediate vicinity (service station – inn). In case of any difficulties, please call 06.29.11.62.30


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What to see

What to see

Saint-Izaire castle and archery museum

Formerly a bishop's summer palace, this building is a listed Historic Monument that has kept some of its original features when the bishops had a way of life similar to the great feudal lords.


20 rooms to discover during the visit: Museum of rural art and traditional archery. Reconstruction of a classroom, an ancient kitchen and the bishop's chamber dating from the 17th century. Free visits with guide book/information sheet. Discovery game for accompanied children from 6 to 12 years old. Duration: 1 hour


HEALTH INSTRUCTIONS


•   During peak periods, entries to the castle will be regulated to allow a smooth flow of visitors. Groups of more than ten people will be split up to ensure sanitary health conditions within indoor spaces.

 

•   We highly recommend you to wear a fitted mask (covering nose and mouth) throughout the visit to avoid any risk of spreading the virus from one person to another if safe distancing cannot be implemented.

 

•   A one-way system has been specified to guarantee a smooth flow of people, to avoid them from passing each other. It is incumbent upon each person to regulate his or her speed of progression. During the visit, despite the layout of the circuit, three points where people pass each other remain (landing – staircase – corridor) but which are wide enough to ensure physical distancing. In the staircase, priority is given to people going downstairs.

 

•   The handing of collector's items is forbidden! Even though all contact areas (door handles – ropes – guidebooks – handrails and others are disinfected on a regular basis, the collector's items are not. A hydro alcoholic solution set up in several points throughout the visit is at your disposal.


•   Upon leaving the castle, you will be asked to leave your name and telephone number to comply with our adequate health monitoring obligations, in case of any future alert. These contact details will only be kept for two months.


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