Photographic book

Photos of southwestern France


Hilly landscape of the Aveyron

Hilly landscape of the Aveyron

The Aveyron is a land hilly and very wooded in places. The department is located south of the Massif Central which explains its structure. The commune of Najac where the photo below was made is not the highest point: the castle culminates at more than 500 meters. The Aubrac mountains are the highest point of the Aveyron: 1463 meters. The rivers of Tarn, Aveyron and Lot also helped to shape the geography of Aveyron.

I invite you to spend a few days in this department. You will be able to make superb excursions along the gorges of the Tarn, visit old traditional villages made of stones for the most part. This department has experienced a large rural exodus and you will often still see old houses for sale.

Medieval Castle of Najac and the Keep

Medieval Castle of Najac and the Keep

The castle you see on the heights of the village of Najac is actually a royal fortress. It dates from the 12th and 13th century. She participated in the Hundred Years War and the war against the Cathars. The dungeon you see in the photo below has the largest archers in the world: it measures nearly 6.8 meters. From the top of the castle you have a superb view over the whole village of Najac which stretches in length on the Crete. Magnificent.

Southern France is a land rich in history, marked, among other things, by numerous conflicts, particularly against the Cathars. The numerous small or large castles testify to this era. Most are very well preserved as here in Najac or Belcastel, Castelnau de Montmiral.

Main street of Najac

Main street of the village of Najac

The village of Najac has the characteristic to have developed all in length: it extends from the feet of the medieval castle that dates from the 12th century and along the whole of the Crete. To reach the main street you will take very small alleys, stairs. The main street of Najac is bordered by old stone houses. Today we find the town hall, some old cafes, the church and at the end the beautiful castle (the visits begin at 10am).

I do not know a village that has this type of structure, that is to say everything in length like that. Very often they are built around the church and a square. In Najac, along the main street, a few small squares appear, but everything leads to the high point of the village.

Picture of an old village in the South of France - Najac

Picture of an old village in the South of France - Najac

If you want to discover the history of France away from big cities, I invite you to visit the many small villages often medieval located in the departments of Tarn, Aveyron, Ariège. All are truly unique, nevertheless, they have in common the fact of being marked by Catharism, the Hundred Years War. You will discover bastides, old squares structure around a market. The village of Najac is one of them. But the latter is structured around the royal fortress. Not far from Najac is also the superb village of Cordes sur Ciel, also built in height. He is the witness of a former very rich commune. Bon voyage in the south west.. (© Photos by )

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