From the Place des Conques, to the Villeneuve church, passing through the winding streets of the medieval town, the torchlight guided tour plunges us into a magical atmosphere.

After a good meal on the terrace, in the medieval village of Villeneuve, we meet at the Tourist Office around 21 p.m. for a torchlight visit.

The weather is pleasant, on this mild summer evening, we quietly cross the alleys of the Medieval city to Place des Conques.

A small group is already there, and in the middle, the guide Ludovic, with his boater's hat on his head, is recognizable, he is chatting with people... We approach, our ticket in hand then a few minutes later, let's go !

Nocturnal torchlight guided tour of Villeneuve d'Aveyron

A heritage and its legends

It's still daylight, we're heading towards the Cardalhac tower, which is huge! This tower was a defensive tower built at the time of the 100 years war… The guide makes us look up under the porch, we see a stunner where the villagers and soldiers could throw stones at the attackers… not very welcoming!! !

Then the group heads towards the church, night begins to fall, the sun slowly disappears behind the red tiled roofs of the houses, and here we are in the square of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

We follow Ludovic inside… it is dark but there is enough light for him to introduce us to the legend of the Hanged-Depended, a fresco painted in one of the chapels of the church.

Do you know this story? I will tell you about it in a few lines!

In the year 1020, a father, a mother and their son had decided to undertake a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Arriving in Santo Domingo de la Calzade, they decide to sleep in a hostel. The innkeeper's daughter finds the young man to her liking and tries to bow to him. This one not being interested, rejects her. Out of revenge, she decides to punish the handsome man and hides her father's most beautiful haircut in the unfortunate man's bag.


The next day, the innkeeper notices the offense and cries robbery. The bags are searched, and of course the young man is accused. Without a very dignified trial, he was sentenced to the death penalty: hanging, despite his defence.

His parents, filled with grief, continue on their way, go as far as Saint Jacques and pass through the cursed village again… Arrived at the foot of the tree where their son was hanged, he speaks to them and says to them “ Don't cry, St Jacques supports me underfoot, he knows I'm innocent". With these words, the parents go to see the judge and ask to review his decision, but he is having dinner with the family with a roast rooster and a hen on the table, and has nothing to do with begging for travellers. He answers them:if this rooster starts dancing on the table, I want to review my judgment…” and… MIRACLE! The rooster began to dance on the table! 


After this episode, the judge could only admit that he was wrong, he freed the young man from his gallows and the young girl was subjected to his sad fate for the lie she had committed.

The magic happens...

After hearing this story told by Ludovic, we head for the exit and there, surprise, the streets are silent, the night has enveloped the country house...

In the distance, we hear people toasting, children playing, surely a family on vacation enjoying this summer evening on the Causse?

And there, the light appears: one by one, the torches light up, the faces of the people in the group light up according to the undulation of the flames which follow the light breeze, the children marvel with their luminions… In silence for a few seconds, everyone observes this dancing broom and enjoys the moment under the twinkling stars!

Scenery revealed by torches

Then, it's off again, we follow the guide, careful and happy to experience this unique moment in the heart of the labyrinthine streets of Villeneuve… We listen almost religiously to his words, we move about in silence, so as not to disturb the ambient atmosphere, and even Ludovic has lowered the sound of his voice as if to whisper secrets to us… He tells us the story of Villeneuve, show us some " curious ", these little heads of men sculpted in the white stones of the causse which spy on us, he stops in front of the half-timbered houses of the cobbled street and shows us corbels… What a discovery!

What is fascinating is to see the details of the sculptures, the walls, the mullioned windows in the light of the torches… throughout the visit, they illuminate parts of history along the streets.

We are back on the Place des Conques, it's almost 23 p.m. but time seems to have stopped… the little stories of Ludovic and the big story of Villeneuve made this moment a break in our holidays: far from the hustle and bustle, far from obligations, just a nice moment under the stars in the heart of the Causse!

Guided night tour of Villeneuve d'Aveyron

Book your visit now

These nocturnal torchlight guided tours are offered in summer by the West Aveyron tourist office.


About Gaelle

Here, I like the tranquility and the surrounding nature, far from the crowds, we are good!
Land of authenticity, our territory is 100% true, with people proud of their country and that's also Aveyron. My appointment not to be missed: the markets where you can buy good local products, it's ideal to share a meal with family and friends!

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