Bastides in Rouergue
Bastides : ideal medieval villages
Listen carefully as the ‘bastides’ recount their rich medieval past ! Welcome to Villefranche de Rouergue, Najac, Sauveterre de Rouergue, Villeneuve d’Aveyron, La Bastide l’Évêque and Rieupeyroux : founded from the 12th century onwards in south-west France, these towns were the result of strong political determination marked by serious thinking about the concept of the ideal village. They present a grid layout of streets with a square in the middle which was the centre of religious and public life. Nowadays these squares are where markets are held, friendly, colourful occasions to enjoy the savours and flavours of Aveyron ! Apart from heritage, cultural and natural attractions, meet the local inhabitants by visiting farms and craft workshops, discover the traditions and culture of Aveyron in museums and have fun at animal parks and play parks. There is something for everyone !
In Villefranche-de-Rouergue, at the heart of the Rouergue area, admire the Place Notre-Dame, its arcades and imposing collegiate church with carved stalls and impressive belltower-entrance. Stroll through the maze of narrow medieval streets bordered by the houses and mansions of bygone wealthy merchants, whose doors and towers symbolised the social standing of inhabitants in the 15th century. If you want to know the time, just stand near the fountain on Place Notre Dame ! The number of hours corresponds to the number of jets of water, lit by 60 tiny orange lamps in the centre of the fountain.
Follow the Gorges de l’Aveyron to Najac, a country village surrounded by colourful forests with an enchanting main square, castle and remarkable water fountain. Take a trip back in time with a guided tour of the castle, a listed monument. Stout-hearted visitors can have fun canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and rafting in the turbulent waters of the River Aveyron.
Continue on your journey to the village of Sauveterre-de-Rouergue, classed as one of the « Loveliest Villages in France », with its main square bordered by 47 arcades. This trading centre used to house many diverse and prosperous trades including a forge, cutlery-makers, milliners, drapers, butchers… Today it is a timeless village of half-timbered and corbelled houses, ornamental carved stonework, finely crafted doors, remains of fortifications, moats, towers and town gates. It is a recognised centre for arts and crafts with artists, leather workers, musical instrument makers, etc.
The village of Villeneuve d’Aveyron gives the impression that time has stood still ! Admire its medieval and Renaissance houses with their lancet-arched arcades, marvel at the church of Saint-Sépulcre whose Romanesque apse was demolished in the 14th century to make way for a much lighter Gothic nave.
From Rouergue to Ségala
Our selection of accommodations
La grange du Soulié
in Villeneuve - Aveyron
in Maleville - Aveyron
Le Clos d'Albertine
in Monteils - Aveyron
Our new accommodations
La Cabane des Colibris
in Rieupeyroux - Aveyron
Gîte de Pech Ignac
in SAINT MARTIN LABOUVAL - Lot
"Gite Le Roc"
in Auzits - Aveyron