Aveyron, a department in the Midi Pyrenees region of southern France, is a rural department where outdoor activity holidays and cultural breaks make great use of the un-spoilt landscape, where grand historic monuments dominate the horizon. The scenery is second to none in France, and with wild mountains, thick un-spoilt forests and food which has been developed over many centuries, a holiday to a self catering gite in Aveyron is undoubtedly overdue.
Hiking, cycling, horse riding and fishing in Aveyron are the ideal activities to enjoy the waterways and rolling hills of the department. The Cevennes National Park is partially located in Aveyron, and is wholly accessible from a holiday rental property or gite in Aveyron. The park is a mountainous area crossing into the departments of Lozere, Gard and Ardeche, where the famous Aven Armand Cave is located. Aveyron has trails and paths to suit all abilities, interests, schedules and preferences of cycling and hiking trails, taking in mountains, river gorges, idyllic villages, dramatic chateaux, castle and caves, rich forests and major towns, where you can recuperate in a restaurant or with a quick piece of retail therapy!
There is an enormous wealth of historic and cultural sites dotted around the landscape of Aveyron, but the best known, and most visited, are the Castle of Najac, the Abbey of Loc-Dieu and the dolmens near Martiel. The Millau viaduct, opened in 2004, is the highest bridge in the world, and makes an inspiring excursion from any holiday accommodation in Aveyron.
Sailing is also a hugely popular activity from an Aveyron gite, despite the department being landlocked! There are many large lakes, and the largest in France, Pareloup, is of particular sporting value to those looking to learn or enjoy sailing whilst staying in a holiday rental gite in Aveyron. Paragliding, potholing, golf and skiing are also available in Aveyron, and Millau is fast becoming a national centre for hang gliding enthusiasts. In winter, the Aubrac, part of the Massif Cantral, offers downhill skiing in Laguiole and Brameloup, although a chalet in Aveyron is best known for the 200km of marked cross country skiing trails.
Rodez, Aveyron’s capital, is a quaint city in beautiful, rural surroundings, high above the River Aveyron. The charming Cathedral of Notre Damn and huge 16th Century bell tower at the highest point of the city are excellent places to visit upon your arrival in a holiday villa in Aveyron, and the city makes a magnificent location from which to base your exploration of the Aveyron countryside.
For history lovers, the astonishingly well preserved medieval town of Belcastel seems as if it was lifted straight from the 15th Century. The Chateaux and medieval bridge at the top of the hill are essential attractions for anyone staying in holiday accommodation in Aveyron.
Aveyron benefits from hot summers, lasting from April until September, when average temperatures often reach 30°C by day. Winters are colder, making for magnificent skiing from December until March.
The wonderful department of Aveyron is now even more accessible from the UK, as Ryanair have started to fly cheap flights direct to Rodez (RDZ) from London Stansted (STN).