Discover authentic, unspoiled and utterly gorgeous France on this tour of Aveyron

Written by on April 28, 2019 in Tours in France

A cobbled bridge over a small river leads to a medieval village in Aveyron, southern France

If you want to discover a south of France destination that’s truly authentic, fairy tale pretty and has oodles of charm, then Aveyron is the place to go.

Fairy-tale Aveyron

Ever since Peter Mayle put Provence on the tourist map, tourists have led a long procession to enjoy its charms. But, there is another south of France, a land that hasn’t been discovered by the hordes. Unspoiled, uncrowded and irresistibly pretty, Aveyron is hardly known outside of France. Doni Belau of Girls Guide to Paris runs tours here because as she says “this area is simply stunning. From its ancient city Albi to a plethora of some of the most beautiful villages in France plus an amazing food scene. Add to that magnificent chateaux and countryside that’s just so gorgeous you have to pinch yourself to make sure it’s real…”

American-born Doni knows Aveyron well as her sister has lived there for more than 30 years. Her insider knowledge of the area has enabled her to put together the most incredible tour. On it you will discover the very best of this special part of southern France.

The very best of Aveyron tour

Cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses and a medieval church in Conques, Aveyron

This area is blessed with some of the most delightful villages in France, glorious countryside and delectable food. Roquefort cheese is produced in the area. It’s also truffle country and dishes are flavoursome, rustic and utterly delicious. You’ll be dining at chateaux and Michelin starred restaurants. And, you’ll also be enjoy authentic bistros from Doni’s little black book of local gems, as you tour the very best of Aveyron.

Amongst some of the jewels of the area that you’ll visit in your week long ladies-only tour is captivating Conques. It’s famous for its 11th century Saint-Foy abbey church on the ancient Santiago de Compostela pilgrim route. Seeing is believing, though you’ll hardly believe your eyes in this church. The 124 massive and ornate capitals which support the building’s ornate interior are truly incredible. There’s also a tympanium of the Last Judgement. It features 124 carved figures and is one of the masterpieces of 12th century French architecture. The magnificent stained glass windows were installed in 1994 by contemporary painter Pierre Soulages, one of France’s most famous living artists. You’ll get to see more of his work in a dedicated museum in the lovely city of Rodez. It also hosts a celebrated restaurant where of course you’ll dine.

A fairy tale land of chateaux

A castle with a tall straight tower on a hill surrounded by forests like a fairy tale in Najac, Aveyron

You’ll also visit Najac which stretches along a single, very wide street that straddles a long natural rock ridge. The street is lined with beautiful period houses and has at its centre a remarkably preserved 14th century fountain. The castle has the longest arrow slits in any of the world’s castles, at a staggering 20 ft in length.

Medieval houses in a cobbled street with colourful bunting strung across from building to building“You can’t go to Aveyron and miss out on Estaing which is mind-boggling beautiful” says Doni. Though most visitors are unaware of it, this lovely town is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see. It’s renowned for its red and white wines and lined with houses which date from the 1500s – 1700s. The town is crowned by a 13th century château which is owned by the family of former French President Valéry Giscard. From its lofty terraces you’ll have the most wonderful views over the River Lot.

Amazing food and incredible sites

This tour will truly spoil you when it comes to gastronomy. From a renowned restaurant in Albi (where you’ll visit the city and the famous Toulouse LAutrec Museum) to a 3 Michelin star restaurant where you’ll get to visit the kitchen and meet the chef. Cosy authentic auberges, vineyard visits with wine tasting and a visit to an abbey where the monks make chocolate. A spit roasted dinner at a special farm restaurant which opens for just a few nights a year and locally made liqueurs. Amazing boutiques, quirky shops and gorgeous villages. This is the sort of tour you will talk about forever.

Why you should join this tour

This is the France you imagine in your dreams, with ancient and impossibly gorgeous villages, magnificent houses, chateaux and churches that date back up to one thousand years. Here the culture of France is laid before you, wonderful local produce and authentic dishes, delicious wines from the local vineyards, historic buildings, arts and crafts and the nurturing of traditions.

There’s no other tour quite like this in the Aveyron, you’ll be spoiled, pampered and introduced to a side of France that you didn’t think was possible. “I promise you a fairy-tale land that you’ll never forget” says Doni “and an adventure where you may arrive as strangers, but you will certainly leave as friends.

Find out more about this extraordinary, magical tour of Aveyron, and sign up for a French trip that dreams are made of.

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