The Raspes du Tarn and the Dourdou valley
The Raspes du Tarn and the Dourdou valley

The Raspes du Tarn and the Dourdou valley

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The Raspes escarpments are a balcony of rocks overlooking the Tarn. They provide you with a series of uphill and downhill sections interspersed with majestic sceneries—an atypical route dedicated to experienced riders. 

From the outset, the ascent to the Causse of Saint-Affrique sets the tone for this long-enduring and exhilarating loop. Gradually, you enter deep inside the Raspes, this wild canyon surrounding the meanders of the river Tarn. Finally, after a substantial effort, the Dourdou valley, villages, and red sandstone colours hold a gentle and well-deserved finish for you!

5 points 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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Ardeliès 9 Carved Standing Stone

This statue has undergone some changes, it displays breasts as feminine attributes together with a harness holding the”object” which are masculine features. Moreover, the ring of the “object” and one breast become confused. The belt chevron ornaments are meticulously crafted, and legs appear in relief on an evenly pitted surface. The back, shoulder blades and belt are depicted along with a central item. This could be an harness with a ring like those on the Ardeliès 1 statue, the Bancanel statue (Saint-Affrique) or the one of Saint-Jean-de-l'Hôpital (Montclar), all of these statues are not far away from one another.

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Ardeliès 6 Carved Standing Stone

This statue must have represented a masculine figure as the trace of a harness is noticeable on the left side on the back. Arms and buckled belt are also still visible. The features of the face and back were achieved by picketing the rock. This technique was frequently used on the statues of the Ardaliès either for the engraving of figurative elements (Ardeliès 6) or to smooth the surface on which embossed elements emerged in relief (Ardeliès 9).

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Ardeliès 1 Carved Standing Stone

This statue displays several masculine features: the harness passing over the right shoulder and holding an “object” with a ring. The belt ornamented with a buckle, and the legs are clearly visible. The facial features are difficult to identify. On the back, the lines that extend arms or harness come to a stop on a central element with an unknown meaning. By analogy to the masculine objects, some suggest it may be a harness, but is it a warrior attribute, a body ornament or part of a garment? The issue remains unresolved.

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Ardeliès 2 Carved Standing Stone

This statue was subjected to several changes during prehistoric times as it displays both feminine and masculine attributes: one breast is visible and so is the masculine “object” which is a sort of dagger. This object is particularly detailed: ring and decorations with chevron ornaments that could represent the dagger sheath. The belt is represented by criss-crossed patterns and constitutes the only decoration of this kind, along with the grid pattern, which suggests the formation of the fingers of the hands. On the back, shoulder blades, belt and perhaps hair, represent the outline of a female figure.
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  1. From the Tourist Office situated on Boulevard Aristide Briand in Saint-Affrique, follow the direction of Rodez.
  2. At the intersection with the RD993, carry straight on, then take the first road to the right in the direction of Ayssennes / Le Truel to begin the ascent toward the plateau (6km with a 5% gradient).
  3. At the top of the slope, take a left towards Saint-Victor et Melvieu.
  4. After the Dolmen de Foncouverte area, head towards Saint-Rome de Tarn. Then ride across the village in the direction of Rodez.
  5. Once you’ve crossed the bridge, turn to the left to Le Viala du Tarn.
  6. After that, follow the direction of Ayssennes – Broquiès. Then, cycle along the Tarn up to the village of Le Truel.
  7. After the bridge, turn to the left to Broquiès, then to Saint-Izaire.
  8. Ride across the village of Saint-Izaire to reach the cycling route – a green lane that runs along the Dourdou river up to the Cambon.
  9. Turn to the left, go across the walkway of Savignac, then ride back to Saint-Affrique via the RD54.
Departure : Tourist Office in Saint-Affrique
Arrival : Tourist Office in Saint-Affrique
Towns crossed : Saint-Affrique, Saint-Rome-de-Tarn, Viala-du-Tarn, Saint-Victor-et-Melvieu, Le Truel, Villefranche-de-Panat, Broquiès, Saint-Izaire, Calmels-et-le-Viala, Vabres-l'Abbaye

Altimetric profile

Information desks

Saint-Affrique Tourist Office

Boulevard Aristide Briand, 12400 Saint-Affrique



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.

Find out more


Se déplacer en bus ou en train :

Covoiturage : BlaBlaCar, Rézo Pouce, Mobicoop, Idvroom, LaRoueVerte, Roulez malin

Access and parking

Saint-Affrique is situated 31 km southwest of Millau via the D 992 and D 999 roads.

Parking :

Bus station car park, boulevard Aristide Briand in Saint-Affrique

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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Where to sleep ?
Where to sleep ?
Where to sleep ?

Where to sleep ?

The 1837” has reopened its doors from May 15th 2020…with new sanitary practises to ensure your safety, as well as that of our employees !

The success of our unique hotel is the result of an Aveyronnaise family in love with their region, and a beautiful building that is nearly two hundred years old. Come and spend green holidays and enjoy overnight, or week-long stays in spacious and comfortable suites (fully equipped apartments with, among other features “fitted kitchen, dining area, living room with an office space, free wifi internet access” which can accommodate from 1 to 6 persons), private terraces opening onto a large green terrain, with free and private access to all of the 1837 facilities (with time slot-booking) and providing a unique atmosphere. Situated a few steps away from the small town centre of Saint-Affrique and close to numerous hiking and cycling circuits, the 1837 combines wonderful open spaces, refinement and services in the heart of southern Aveyron.

On the subject of services, please note that from now on, the 1837 offers you packed breakfasts using only local produce, which we leave for you outside the door of your apartment. And if you do not feel like preparing a meal, going to the drive-through or shopping at the local grocery store, we can also deliver midday and evening meal trays to you!

Revitalise yourself and enjoy the simple things in life: spend the siesta hours in the shade of the park, picnic with your family on the river's edge, take a walk and live simply, while enjoying the 1837 facilities (heated indoor overflow swimming pool, SPA facility with sauna, hammam and 2 jacuzzis, cardio training room and a billiards room.

Book now with complete peace of mind and pay later by calling us at 05 65 97 63 30 or sending us an e-mail to

We invite you to share all our wonderful facilities so that you have a relaxing and enjoyable stay !

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Where to sleep ?
Where to sleep ?
Where to sleep ?
Where to eat ?
Where to sleep ?

Where to sleep ?

Traditional catering or cafeteria-style for groups. Bar with terrace. Outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre. 3 meeting rooms with accommodating 15 to 150 people.


The safety of our clients and our staff is priority number one. In response to the coronavirus disease, we have taken additional health and safety measures to ensure our guests security.

We have strengthened our cleaning team and increased the frequency of disinfection of bedrooms, common areas, hotel private areas and especially areas and facilities used by everyone (entrance hall, lifts (by now unauthorised use), door handles, toilets, Reception Hall, room access cards and others).

•    The staff is currently trained to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by means of new cleaning and disinfection techniques appropriate for today's conditions.

•    We have provided our employees with personal protective equipment.

•    We use specifically recommended cleaning products for the disinfection against COVID 19.

•    The storey's staff will not carry out the daily cleaning in occupied rooms to prevent anyone to entering your room.  

•    Change of bathroom linen will be available at the Reception if needed.

•    Alcohol-based disinfectant hand gel is available to our clients in the Reception Hall and in each floor.

•    Your access badge will be disinfected and placed in an envelope. Upon your leaving, please put it in the box provided for this purpose, in the Reception Hall.

•    A reminder of the appropriate physical distancing measures is displayed in the Reception Hall and on each floor.

•    We have implemented directional floor marking in the Reception Hall and a one-way system has been put in place on each floor.

•    We ensure that clients maintain a safe distance from each other.

We will continue to make sure that cleanliness and hygiene are our top priorities throughout all procedures and thank you for respecting the physical distancing measures (1.5 m).

We thank you, for the trust you put in us and wish you a pleasant stay with us!

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Where to sleep ?
Where to sleep ?

Where to sleep ?

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

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