From Villefranche de Rouergue, following the GR, discover villages perched between sky and earth: Cordes-sur-Ciel, Najac, Capdenac-le-haut, Saint-Cirq Lapopie… all labeled Grand Site Occitanie.

8 days, 7 nights from 890€/person

6 days of roaming and self-guided hiking

Difficulty ***

Stay organized by the Balaguere

The detailed program

1 Day: arrival in Villefranche de Rouergue.

Possibility to arrive by train (Villefranche de Rouergue SNCF station) or by car. Reception possible at the station.

Reception in Villefranche de Rouergue at the 1st accommodation from 16:00 p.m. The precise topoguide of your hike will be given to you there.

Villefranche de Rouergue, endowed with a rich architectural heritage, located at the confluence of two rivers: the Aveyron and the Alzou is classified Great Sites of Occitania South of France. It is also one of the Bastides of Rouergue that you will be able to discover thanks to the 3 visits which will be offered to you: the Chartreuse St Sauveur, monastery of the XNUMXth century, masterpiece of flamboyant Gothic, the Chapel of the Black Penitents, baroque chapel of the XNUMXth century which has preserved a remarkable ornate wooden vaulting and the Bastide Royale of Villefranche.

Then installation in a charming bed and breakfast or hotel (depending on your choice) and dinner in one of the restaurants in the city center.

What is a bastide?

Several clues are hidden in this photo of Villefranche…
Read more

2 Day: Villefranche de Rouergue – Najac (22.5 km – cumulative elevation gain: 674 m)

Hike to Monteils, a pleasant village (XNUMXth century church, washhouse) located at the entrance to the Aveyron gorges. Depending on the day and time, be sure to visit the Carls Close. By reservation only. Visit duck farms, farm preserves cooked over a wood fire in a copper cauldron, foie gras, rillettes, fritons, sausages, confits… You can then enjoy your picnic in the shade on the banks of a stream.

Then hike towards the village of Najac classified among The most beautiful villages in France. You will see during the course Najac fortress who watches over the Bastide and its inhabitants. The visit of the royal fortress (included in the stay) will offer you a breathtaking view of the town which extends over a rocky outcrop overlooking the river in a grandiose site: meanders on one side, sandstone cornice on the other, rocky ridge...

Then hike towards the village of Najac. You will see during the course the fortress of Najac which watches over the Bastide and its inhabitants. The village stands out on a promontory dominating the superb valley of the Aveyron. The village offers the peace and beauty of a landscape where water, trees and rocks come together. The town is now ranked among the most beautiful villages in France and benefits from the prestigious label Major sites Occitanie South of France.

Night in a bed and breakfast or in a hotel according to your choice and dinner with a master restaurateur.

Najac, a citadel perched on the Aveyron gorges

3 Day: Najac – Laguépie (14 km – cumulative elevation gain: 459 m)

In the morning, visit the village of Najac, the governor's house, interpretation space of architecture and heritage of the Bastides of Rouergue,St. John's Church, the first gothic church in Rouergue (southern gothic) and the royal fortress. This visit will offer you an unobstructed view of the town which extends over a rocky outcrop overlooking the river in a grandiose site: meanders on one side, sandstone cornice on the other, rocky ridge...

Did you know?

Built by the Counts of Toulouse on an old fortified castle from the 6,80th century, the fortress of Najac remains a witness to the military architectural genius of the Middle Ages. Its extraordinary defensive power is highlighted by a large scale model. The dungeon houses XNUMX meter archers… the highest in the world!

Short and wild hike towards Laguépie. After visiting Najac, you will cross the Aveyron by the Saint Blaise bridge, a historic monument of the XNUMXrd century. This bridge on the back of a donkey allowed merchants and pilgrims to cross the Aveyron in all seasons.

You will then go up in the undergrowth towards the Bastit from where you will have a superb view of the village of Najac. Then cross a forest of Douglas firs before descending into the wild gorges of Aveyron. The rest of the hike will be very easy; you will follow the banks to Laguépie. This charming village is at the confluence of two rivers: Le Viaur and Aveyron. In summer, equipped and supervised swimming with a view the castle of Saint-Martin Laguépie “Lou Viel Castel”, a former feudal fortress.

Overnight in Laguépie, in a guesthouse, homestay and dinner (table d'hôtes or traditional restaurant depending on the season and the day of the week).

4 Day: Laguépie – Cordes sur Ciel (12,5 km – cumulative elevation gain: 372 m)

After your breakfast, departure for your hike of the day on the other side of the Aveyron, you will leave the Tarn et Garonne for the Tarn and walk in the Cordais Country. The stage will be short, which will allow you to take full advantage of your afternoon at Cordes-sur-Ciel, Gothic city between earth and sky. The birth of this jewel is intimately linked to the Albigensian Crusade… Ranked among the Great Sites of Midi-Pyrenees, the village was also elected Favorite Village of the French in 2014.

Not to miss ! The sumptuous residences with sculpted facades that magnify Gothic art: the Houses of the Grand Ecuyer, the Grand Veneur or the Grand Fauconnier!

A desire for a gift or a souvenir? Artists and craftsmen find their inspiration in the shelter of the powerful fortified gates of the city.

This is where you will complete your 3 stages on the path from Conques to Toulouse, route linking Saint James between the route of Le Puy and the route of Arles.

Night and dinner in a 3*** hotel-restaurant

5 Day: Cordes sur Ciel – Figeac by train and hike to the Lot valley (11,5 km – cumulative elevation gain: 192 m)

In the morning you will join Figeac by train. You will be welcomed on your arrival at the station to hand over your luggage to the taxi, which will take care of putting it down at your stage this evening.

Thus reduced, you will be able to enjoy Figeac, labeled City of art and history but also classified Great Sites of Midi-Pyrenees. You will arrive there at the end of the morning, the ideal time for discovery! When the city comes alive, the streets and monuments deliver all their riches to you. Merchants' houses, Romanesque abbey, squares and meeting places, it's the whole heart of the city that reveals its history and its secrets to you.

We suggest you visit the Champollion Museum which is none other than the birthplace of the famous decipherer of hieroglyphics. This museum is devoted to the history of the writings of the world and to Egyptology. The visit can continue on the Place of Scripture, a reproduction of the Rosetta Stone, overlooked by terraced gardens planted with Egyptian papyrus.

You will then set off on a hike to the heights of Capdenac-le-Haut, village classified among The most beautiful villages in France in the Lot. For some historians, this charming village is none other thanUxellodunum, the last Gallic village that resisted Caesar. This episode reported in the Gallic Wars was very real. The siege by the Romans lasted nearly 2 months. It was in Quercy, a former Cadurque country.

Then descent to the Lot valley to reach your accommodation for this evening where you can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool.

Night in a 2** hotel and dinner on site in this family inn where local products and traditional cuisine smell.

6 Day: hike on the Célé variant, variant to Santiago de Compostela on the puy route (19 km – cumulative elevation gain: 465 m)

Transfer to the Abbey of Marcilhac sur Célé where you can visit the old Benedictine abbey with the ruins of the adjoining cloister; the whole is classified as historical monuments. You can also discover the 2nd oldest tympanum in Europe embedded in the fascinating Romanesque remains left in the open.

You will then go hiking on a path between earth and sky. This walk between valley and causse offers views of the Célé, its cliffs, its Mediterranean vegetation, its meadows and crops at the bottom of the valley.

In Sauliac-sur-Célé, you can observe the XNUMXth century Château de Géniez and old houses in the cliff. A little further down the path you will reach Cuzals Ecomuseum which offers an original discovery of the rural and agricultural history of the Lot.

In the afternoon, arrival in Cabrerets, a typical Quercy village nestled in the bottom of the valley at the foot of the steep cliff of Rochecourbe. There still remains a XNUMXth century castle as well as the ruins of a XNUMXth century troglodyte castle, the Devil's castle (or English castle).

In summer, you can enjoy a beach downstream from the Cabrerets mill.

Night and dinner in a 2** hotel on the edge of the Célé.

7 Day: Cabrerets – Pech-Merle – Saint Cirq – Lapopie (11 km – cumulative elevation gain: 457 m)

After climbing the hill, you will arrive at the summit of Pech Merle where the famous decorated cave from the Paleolithic is located. It is one of the most beautiful caves prehistoric with authentic paintings of more than 20.000 years including the famous punctuated horses. A single ticket will allow you to visit both Pech Merle cave as well as the Amédée Lemozi museum.

The walk will continue towards Bouziès passing at the foot of the famous parade of the English of Bouziès. The latter is located near the suspension bridge, from which you can observe the high cliffs which welcome large crows, jackdaws and sometimes peregrine falcons.

On the other side of the bridge, there is the possibility of taking a barge cruise on the Lot, renting a boat without a license or going one way to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (in summer only) with Saint-Cirq Lapopie Cruises.

If you choose to continue on foot towards Saint-Cirq Lapopie, you will take the old towpath, part of which was dug directly into the limestone cliff above the Lot. The low relief was carved and evokes the environment according to the vision of a Toulouse artist. Depending on the time of your visit to the Ganil lock, you can watch the operation of a manual lock for the passage of boats.

You will then reach Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, clinging to a cliff 100 meters above the Lot. This medieval village is classified among The Most Beautiful Villages of France but also Great Sites of Midi-Pyrenees.

You will then meet at the beach at 13 p.m. for a transfer to Villefranche de Rouergue. At the end of the day, you will still have a little time to take advantage of your free tickets to Villefranche de Rouergue, city of the Land of Art and History "Les Bastides du Rouergue" and labeled “The 100 most beautiful detours in France”.

Dinner in one of the restaurants in the town center and night in a charming bed and breakfast or a hotel (your choice) in Villefranche de Rouergue.

8 Day: end of stay in Villefranche de Rouergue

To end your journey you can take the time to visit the city before leaving.

Was this content useful to you?

Share this content