1. From St Affrique to Tournemire (maison de la vigne) (vine house)
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.
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.
La chapelle Saint-Pierre du XIe siècle coiffe le rocher en éperon du même nom. C'était la chapelle du château qui ne fût jamais
The Saint-Pierre chapel dates back to the 11th century and is located on top of a rocky spur of the same name. It was the chapel of the castle and was never a parish church. The castle, which dates from the same period, was attached to the rocky vertical face (remains of a tower). The structure of the chapel is made with a fine stone-setting and is proof of the quality of the construction of this small religious building. The squat and vaulted semi-dome choir was restricted by a semicircular arch with an enlarged triumphal arch that stood in front of it and led to the short nave.
Sotch de Balhol
The cliff towering over our heads is really impressive with its steepness, the smooth appearance of the rock and the feeling of solidity it conveys. Actually, the huge screes we are walking on have been created by a rockslide. The bottom of this valley is called “sotch”, which is the local name for sinkholes
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
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.
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:
Where to sleep ?
Small 4 storey house located at the end of a blind alley and set in a quiet environment with fine views onto the surrounding hills.
Street level: a bicycle shed
- 1st floor: entrance, kitchen and eating area
- 2nd floor: lounge, shower room and toilets
- 3rd floor: hall and bedroom with a 140 double bed
- 4th floor: bedroom on a mezzanine with a 160 double bed and a study area
The house has been recently refurbished in a contemporary style:
Due to its architecture this accommodation is not appropriate for mobility-impaired persons and/or young children.
The gite is non-smoking and pets are not allowed, bathroom linen can be hired.
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.
COVID 19 MEASURES
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!
Where to sleep ?
Upstairs, two welcoming stylish simply decorated rooms: the blue room "rising sun" offers you a magnificent view over the Larzac and the Monts du Lévézou and the pink room which provides an amazing view of Le Combalou.
Beyond the visit of the cellars of Roquefort, the amateurs of hike can appreciate landscapes which confide throughout paths surrounding the village. Without forgetting the long walking on quite close Larzac and meeting not to be missed with the famous Viaduct of Millau. Bye for now !
Where to sleep ?
« Trekking experience »
This track, which is over 180 m long, comprises a series of challenging humps and turns.
The name of this track featuring raised turns and humps refers to the “bending-pushing” movements carried out on the bike through the combined action of legs and arms. This pumping action performed on hollows and humps allows the cyclist to gain speed without pedaling.
This facility is available with free access and is adapted to all levels of proficiency, from young children with their balance bikes to the most experienced riders.
This track is part of a plan aimed at the development of urban sporting activities in relation to the green lane.
A 4 km ride along the green lane towards Vabres l‘Abbaye will allow biking enthusiasts to test their skills and challenge their balance on another site: the Vabres l'Abbaye skatepark situated in the park of the bishop's palace.
Safety rule: To avoid collisions between riders, compliance with the direction of the traffic is compulsory, as is the wearing of a helmet for all users. Children under 10 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Pumptrack is not under supervision and regulations must be read prior to use.
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.
Where to eat ?
We offer homemade cooking based mainly on fresh, local produce and a different menu every week. Booking advisable.
- Treat yourself to our delicious specialties either cooked on a pancake or on a slice of bread.
- Pancakes, homemade ice creams and coffee served with a selection of delicious delights
As for drinks we provide a range of Aveyron traditional lemonades, organic cider, wine by the glass and Aubrac beer.
Monthly cheese tasting evenings
Restaurant mentioned in le Petit Futé guide in 2017 and 2018.
Wath to do
To celebrate our 4 star award, the 1837 SPA is now accessible to non-resident persons who can enjoy our high-level facilities within easy reach of the Southern Aveyron area. Several options are available among which are:
The relaxing moment: 30€ per person for 2 hour, or 135 € for a 10 x 1 hour non-transferable package (from Monday to Saturday).
Day SPA session: 45€ per person for an afternoon from 14.00 to 19.00 (from Monday to Friday).
Each option comprises access to the heated indoor overflow swimming pool, to the SPA facility with sauna, hammam and 2 jacuzzis and to the cardio training room.
The 1837 SPA provides you with a bathrobe and a bath towel and is pleased to serve you a free cup of tea!
If you wish to book a time slot, please feel free to contact us at 05 65 97 63 30 (excluding the mid July – mid August period).
The 1837 SPA offers also a wide range of à la carte beauty treatments: extra face and body care that can be performed in one of the individual or double cabins by appointment only. So, if you want to get the most out of the 1837 SPA facility or give a gift to your friends, don't delay!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
We invite you to share all our wonderful facilities so that you have a relaxing and enjoyable stay !
What to see
Enjoy a digital walking tour in Saint-Affrique
Surrounded by seven hills, Saint-Affrique is located along the banks of the Sorgues, in the heart of the frontal causses. From the Middle-Ages to the industrial era, History has left its mark on the town through built heritage and more subtle evidences. During your stroll you'll be able to unravel the Historical past of the town. Saint-Affrique which is set in a rural environment is rich in traditions of inventiveness and resistance and has been able to preserve its vitality! Saint-Affrique with its kind nickname “la Villote” (small town) is receiving you with great affection. Welcome to you!
Free application « Balades des Grands Causses » available on iOS or Android
Duration of tour: 1h30 – 2h
Wath to do
INTERMUNICIPAL INDOOR SWIMMING POOL
A wooden terrace and a lawned area with relaxing chairs welcome you to enjoy sunbathing.
Activities: water aerobics, aqua cycling, aqua fitness, swimming baby, aquatic playground for toddlers, water school for children, and aquaphobia sessions.
Lesson timetables are available by clicking on the link below:
What to see
Maison de la Mémoire (House of Memory) in the Saint-Affrique area
-A floor dedicated to temporary exhibitions, continually updated throughout the year, where you will discover the culture and heritage of Southern Aveyron.
-A museum of Aveyronnaise society which allows visitors to stroll through time and discover the old local trades and daily life: the displays are set out in five visiting rooms. The Maison de la Mémoire also holds the municipal archives department, a working and regional studies library, and an activity area for children and adults (more info on www.saintaffrique.com).
What to see
The Museum displays a new exhibition: « Bande de Guignols »:
You will learn about Guignol who was born out of poverty and thirsting for justice. You will meet his ancestors and his cousins, Polichinelle, Punch, together with other « Guignols », all of which the major 19th century upheavals have given rise to throughout the European continent.
Compulsory wearing of a mask