The eastern half of the Aveyron has been neglected. But the opening of the Sir Norman Foster-designed Millau Viaduct has increased interest in eastern and southern Aveyron.
Traditional architectural styles include the brown stone village houses and spacious Larzac barns with interior arches.
The focal point will be Millau itself, a bustling place surrounded by cliffs, known for the production of luxury leather goods and now, its viaduct, the highest bridge in the world.
The new stretches of the A75 and the viaduct bring the Languedocienne coast – and the Ryanair served Montpellier airport – to within one hour by road from Millau, some 100 kms. Not that Millau itself is without leisure appeal, having become a focal point for those who like hang-gliding, pot-holing, climbing and canoeing; it also has easy access to the Parc Naturel Regional des Grands Causses, an ideal place to make the best of the Aveyron’s dramatic plunging and desolate plateaux.
Nant, a friendly, relaxed, and of course very French town surrounded by verdant farmland, is only a few miles south-east of Millau.
Roquefort-sur-Soulzon (home to the king of cheeses, produced using the creamy milk from the ewes that graze on the fields) is a little to the south-west, on the opposite side of the E11 motorway.
Camares, further south-west again, a place of narrow alleyways and old houses, and Cornus, as famous for being a hotbed of French farming protests as its landscape. Ancient villages also abound, such as the 12th-century Knights Templar village of La Couvertoirade, the medieval Plus Beaux Village of St Jean d’Alcas and the precariously perched Cantobre.
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