Photos of southwestern France
Traditional landscape of Aveyron
France has a unique urban and village heritage. For your holidays, I suggest you to visit the beautiful villages of the south west of France. The village of Najac is imperative to discover. It is characteristic of the Cathar conflicts with its superb royal fortress. The whole village is perfectly preserved and restored. To make the most of your visit and avoid groups of tourists, I invite you to come early in the morning. Of course, the streets are deserted, but you can feel the atmosphere better.
Many more pictures of villages are available. You can discover, among others, Puycelsi, Belcastel, Sauveterre in Rouergue, Camon and many others.
Church of St. John Najac - Religious architecture in southern France
Located at the foot of the royal fortress of Najac, is the superb little Saint John church. Today it is classified as a historical monument. The church was built in the 13th and 14th century. It is of Gothic style and is the first Gothic church of the Rouergue. Like the rest of the village and the castle it is a fortified church. Nevertheless, when you enter inside, you will be surprised by the impression of lightness that emerges. It does not have a cross shape but is composed of a single nave. The bell tower of the church was later built in the 14th century and positioned on the side of the building.
Visiting the churches in the villages of France is a good way to spot the power of places. You will sometimes be surprised by the imposing size of the buildings compared to the small size of the villages.
Visit of a village of Aveyron early in the morning
Rural exodus makes sense when you visit villages in the south of France. First on your way to reach it, as here in Najac, you will pass by the countryside. Some small villages crossed, places-dit, few inhabitants and especially agriculture everywhere. Arriving in the villages, outside the tourist periods, you will see many houses for sale, deserted streets and closed shutters. The shops have almost all disappeared. There may be a coffee, but no bakery. There may be a bread depot in the cafe. You will not hear the cries of the children. Only the old ones remained. Sometimes you will meet an inhabitant, walking alone in the middle of the street. Sad and beautiful at the same time.
Only the most touristic villages manage to keep their inhabitants. This is the case, for example, in Cordes-sur-Ciel or Puycesli.
Village of Sauveterre de Rouergue
Sauveterre de Rouergue is located 30 km from Rodez in the Aveyron to 466 mother of altitude. The origins of the village date back to the Middle Ages in the days of King Philip the Bold. The village develops little by little and knows its apogee in the 15th and 16th century. Sauveterre was known for its cutlers. You will find today a craftsman coutelier, witness of this past. But from the 17th century, the village will experience a long decline. The population varied greatly over the centuries: almost 1900 inhabitants at the end of the 19th century and only 800 in 2016. This village is very pleasant to visit. It is composed of old stone houses built around a superb square lined with half-timbered houses. Close to Sauveterre is also the village of Najac to visit also. (© Photos by E. Buchot)
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