From St Affrique to Tournemire (maison de la vigne) (vine house)
From St Affrique to Tournemire (maison de la vigne) (vine house)

From St Affrique to Tournemire (maison de la vigne) (vine house)

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This challenging circuit that runs along the ridges of the Saint-Affricain frontal causses and over the course of buissières and undergrowth, leads to the Roquefort shrine of the Combalou rock and to the splendid Tournemire amphitheatre.

The hike that goes from the Caylus rock which towers above Saint-Affrique to the Combalou rock that watches over the caves of the king of cheeses, is a wonderful opportunity to get away through an agro-pastoral land. Scattered along the way with typical Caussenard buildings, the trail ends up with the beautiful cliffs of the Tournemire amphitheatre. This circuit is the first leg of the path that runs throughout the pays du Roquefort.

4 points of interest
History and heritage

Counts of Caylus’ Castle

This rock was used as the bedrock for the building of the Counts of Caylus’ Castle of which nothing remains today

The castle was destroyed in retaliation of Count of Caylus’ rebellion against his overlord Raymond VII, count of Toulouse, marquis of Provence and of Gothie.

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History and heritage

Laumière castle

The castle is situated 3 km south east of Saint Rome and was rebuilt after the French revolution. Written references to the ancient castle mention the year 1322 when it was occupied by Raymond de Vanco de Banc d'Anglars, and again in the 15th century when it was owned by the Armagnac family. It was then passed on to the Morlhon family, the Vernhet de Grandval family and the Sambucy de Sorgue family. The Laumière seigneury was granted to the Vernhet’s during the 18th century who became Vernhet de Laumière. A general named Vernhet de Laumière distinguished himself on taking command of the Imperial Guard artillery during the Second Empire. He died in Mexico during the 1863 siege of Puebla. During the 19th century, Maria de Sambucy gave the castle as a wedding dowery to the Count of Toulza
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The Combalou scree slope

The imposing rocky chaos that surrounds us comes from the numerous and profound movements that the plateau of Combalou has undergone: landslides, rockslides, erosion… The diagram highlights the primitive and current structures of the whole Combalou plateau.

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The Combalou Jasse

Once the milking season was over, shepherds and their flocks would reach the Combalou pastoral routes via the slopes to the rear of the Combalou plateau rather than climbing up the cliff using the ladders. Shepherds used these ladders to scale down directly to Roquefort and climb up the same pathways when the ewes needed to be sheltered in the jasse. The flocks would be kept on the plateau until the first cold of autumn.

The jasse was a two storey building: the ground-floor consisted of two sheepfolds, one of which had a vaulted ceiling, the first floor was a huge barn used to store the hay.
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  1. From the Painlevé square, take the D993 towards Rodez for 100 m, then pass under the porch to the left and keep walking on the stony path. Take the road on the right and in the sharp curve go straight ahead on the path to carry on by a wider track which goes back to the road.
  2. Take right the stony path which wraps around the Caylus rock. To the North-East of the rock, take the path which rises progressively and overlooks the D993 to the right.
  3. At the crossroads, fork to the right on the track towards the ridges. The slope is steep. Walk along      the cedar grove up to the ridge throughout pasturelands and groves of trees (enjoy the beautiful view over Caylus and St Affrique). Walk through the long bouissière that leads to the village of Tiergues.
  4. Walk across the village and before the exit, turn to the left to reach the graveyard. There, cross the old road and take the street between the sheepfold and the castle, walk around the castle surrounding walls and go through a tunnel under the road. At the tunnel exit, walk up to the left and cross the D3 road, take the path opposite that runs along the D993. Continue along this track.           
  5. Cross the road and carry on to the right for 100 m, then take the path on your left. Walk down to the Laumière castle and continue on the small road up to the D992. Carry on opposite in the artisanal zone to reach a ford. Once you have crossed the stream, fork to the right and walk along the Soulzon  up to the tarred bridge.
  6. In the first curve after the bridge, take the path on the left which runs uphill throughout the Conteyne woodland. Leave a path on the left, walk across the small road and carry on to reach the Roquefort Tourist Office. Walk around the Tourist Office, pass along the stadium and walk uphill on main street.  Nearby a small carpark to your left, take the ascending street to the right beside a big building (ancient hotel). Do not take the covered street but instead turn to the right and just after, walk up to the left on a track running along the cliff (when on the ledge, turn back and take a look at the two Baragnaudes pillars). Go straight on these alleys under the cliffs. At the Caves entrance, under a porch, take the Créance Street, climb the stairs and enjoy the remains of the St Pierre chapel (viewpoint indicator).
  7. At the view point indicator, walk across the grassy land and climb up a steep uphill path. Carry on throughout the undergrowth, then on open ground. Walk along the base of the cliffs of the Combalou with their typical great fracture.
  8. When arriving at the endpoint of the cliff and at the intersection of tracks, take the left path, cross the road and walk your way down to Tournemire (ancient railway city) on the Trumpet path. Below, walk around the water treatment plant, carry on the path along the left bank of the Soulzon. Walk across the Soulzon, then cross the railroad at the level crossing. Take left the rue de la Barrière, then the rue Française. At the car park of the former railway station, go up to the right and walk across Main street. You then reach the house of the Plesiosaur, a marine reptile which was discovered in the black soils of Tournemire.
  9. Keep walking on the road lined up with plane trees. Opposite the ancient convent, turn left towards the Brias amphitheatre via the chemin de la Fous. Before the bridge that goes across the Brias brook, take left the path that leads to the Tournemire Sensitive Natural Space. Arrival at . Arrival at the gite “la maison de la vigne".
Departure : Car park situated on Foch square in Saint-Affrique
Arrival : Maison de Vigne, Tournemire
Towns crossed : Saint-Affrique, Saint-Rome-de-Cernon, Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, Tournemire

Altimetric profile


Is in the midst of the park
This itinerary is located in the World Heritage zone Causses and Cévennes, mediterranean agropastoral cultural landscape.

Information desks

Avenue de Lauras, 12250 Roquefort/Soulzon


Situated in the Grands Causses Regional Natural Park, the cheese village of Roquefort stretches on the hillside over the famous scree of the Combalou Rock, in southern Larzac. The village is at an elevation of 630 m and has 700 inhabitants.


The Tourist Office is open all year round:

  • In July and August, Monday to Saturday: 9.30 to 18.30, Sunday: 10.00 to 17.00.
  • April, May, June, September, October; Monday to Saturday: 9.30 to 12.15 & 13.00 to 17.30, closed on Sunday.
  • January, February, November, December; Monday to Friday: 9.30 to 12.15 & 13.00 to 17.00, closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Find out more


To get more details click on: site internet de l'Office de Tourisme and on Occitanie Transports

There is a bus station in St Affrique (lines 202, 2016, 2018) and a railway station in Tournemire (regional line).

Access and parking

Via the A75, 46 or 47, then follow the D999 towards Saint-Affrique / Albi. Arrival in Saint-Affrique via the D 999. From Millau drive across the town, cross the river Sorgues, Foch square is next to the bridge. From Albi, head towards the town centre, Foch square is next to the public park.

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 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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What to see

What to see

At its entrance, is a 180 million-year-old complete skeleton of an extinct marine dinosaur, the Occitanosaurus tournemirensis which was discovered fossilized in the “grey clay soils.”

The ecologically Sensitive Natural Space (SNS) of the Tournemire amphitheatre which is situated in the village of the same name, stretches over an area of approximately 130 ha and marks the boundary between the frontal causses and the causse du Larzac. This area has a remarkable environmental importance due to the geomorphology of the site and also owing to several natural habitats of European interest that it provides. This natural space shelters numerous noteworthy bird species: the Eagle Owl, the Golden Eagle, the Common Whitethroat, the Wallcreeper, the Red-billed Chough and some inconspicuous bats. A few plant species well-adapted to the topography, the rock and even sometimes to the Mediterranean climate can be observed: Hoppe's Figwort, Hormathophylla macrocarpa...

The House of Plesiosaur displays the skeleton of the marine reptile (it's a copy, the original is at Millau's museum) along with interpretative panels about the geology, Plesiosaur, flora, birds and bats. It is also the starting point of the Tournemire amphitheatre hiking circuit that enables you to immerse yourself in a unique environment and of the point of departure for the amphitheatre interpretive trail.

"Espace Nature Aveyron" is a mobile application which allows to discover the whole range of animal and plant species living in this ecosystem and to enjoy the SNS stroll.

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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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