I'll take you on a bike ride to the heart of the bastides and gorges of Aveyron! Follow me from Villefranche de Rouergue to Najac via Villeneuve d'Aveyron to admire beautiful landscapes...
From Villefranche de Rouergue, saddle up!
Just arrived at Villefranche-de-Rouergue, I decide to take the height, direction the Calvary with an exceptional point of view on the roofs of the Royal Bastide and on the other side, a little higher, a view of the green gorges of Aveyron. From here I guess the route drawn by Alzou, river that I will go up in the direction of Farrou.
I take a road with gentle curves to reach the small village of Saint-Rémy a few kilometers away. After a first refreshment break, I take a few minutes to visit the Mill of the Arts of Saint Remy. In this pretty stone building, I contemplate contemporary works fascinating: paintings, installations, sculptures… I give free rein to my imagination and my emotions…
Head to the causse
It is now time to leave to continue my journey, I go back on my bike and hit the road again. On my way, the landscapes of gorges give way to those of the causes. As I pass, ewes and lambs gallop through the meadows to take refuge in the shade of the oaks.
I arrive and discover the charming village of Villeneuve d'Aveyron. A beautiful paved square, the Place des Conques, beautiful facades including that of the building which hosts Jean-Marie Perier Gallery limestone buildings, from white to ocher, beautiful facades, the Soubirane gate and its tower. No doubt, I'm good in a medieval village and peaceful area of south-west France. I take the opportunity to take a relaxing and refreshing break on the terrace of a café, in the shade of the arcades.
I get back on my bike for my next stage: the dolmens of Martiel. I spin through the oak woods, I come across cows, buzzards and even a deer! Once on the path of the dolmens, I make beautiful discoveries… In the middle of nature, I observe several megaliths, remarkable thousand-year-old riches! Not far from there, I discovered one of the rare two-storey cazelles in the region.
For my midday meal, I decided to make a detour (easy! it's all flat) by the bird lake and eat at Bannac's Table in the shade of the oaks next to the old windmill. On the menu, several local specialties such as duck sausage, farçou, cabécou and croquande, all accompanied by a craft beer. The place is calm and peaceful, ideal for making a nap in the grass under the oaks at the edge of the water. Lying next to my bike, I let myself be lulled by the chirping of birds before putting on my helmet and my backpack.
From Martiel to Najac
It's time for me to go back to La Rouquette to admire the sculptures of Pierre Prevost, an artist-poet and his “enchanted path”. To get there, I climb the hill towards Léonard then towards the chemin de Combarel.
What an overflowing imagination, what colors and what humor! A parenthesis of fantasy! My child's soul is pointing the tip of its nose.
Direction Monteils following the shady road that runs along the Assou stream. It's a little hot at the start of the afternoon, I take advantage of the feeling of the air on my skin, in my hair. On the handlebars of my bike, I feel free and closer to the elements that surround me...
From the village of Monteils, the serious things begin, a long and regular climb through woods and meadows to arrive at the four roads of Mazerolles. I chose to go through this hamlet to enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramas which invites contemplation.
From there it's a steady descent to the Aveyron river. Descent at more than 40 km/hour assured and hair in the wind. Fire ! the village of Najac parades before my eyes, built along a rocky ridge as if it were riding on the backbone of a dragon, from the faubourg district to the pause district. I clearly distinguish the royal fortress et Saint John the Evangelist Church. My end goal for the day is facing me.
After the ascent towards the village of Najac, I end my day of cycling with my head full of images and indelible memories.
My little advice
I am a cycling enthusiast, the difference in height and the great distances do not scare me! If you are an aspiring cyclist, you can start with an easier route. The paths of the Causse de Villeneuve represent a perfect playground for beginners!