Rodez (summer only)
Note: Rodez is a Summer-only destination.
Flight time: 1 and a half hours*
Availability: Summer only
Avg. temperatures: 3 to 20°C
Currency: Euro (€)
Time: GMT + 1 hour
Set in the heart of the triangle that is Clermont-Ferrand, Toulouse and Montpellier in the midi-Pyrenees region, you will find the capital of the Aveyron department, beautiful Rodez. A town that prior to 2014 would not normally be on the tourist list due to its tricky rural location, making it difficult to get to by both rail and road. However, thanks to new motorways, dual carriageways and a brand new museum dedicated to the life and art of Pierre Soulages, Rodez has found its way onto many travellers’ ‘to do’ lists. The centre of modern Rodez is still visibly enclosed by old Roman and medieval city walls which are worth a visit alone. Due to its previous isolation, the historic heart of Rodez is relatively unspoilt and well preserved. Packed full of history and tradition, Rodez is a maze of narrow streets, alleyways and quaint squares just waiting to be explored.
Now, in just 1 and a half hours you can fly from Southampton directly to Rodez–Marcillac Airport with Eastern Airways from 2nd June until 18th August 2017.
Transport from Rodez–Marcillac Airport
With the airport just 10km from the centre of Rodez, it makes sense to grab a taxi or hire a car of your own to help you to see as much of the area as you can . There are trains and buses from the centre of Rodez if you want to travel further afield into the Pyrenees.
Top things to see and do
We can’t mention it in the opening paragraph and then not list it as a ‘must see’! Museum Soulages, a feat of architectural design in itself, is dedicated to the life and works of Pierre Soulages, who is recognised as the greatest French artist of the second half of the 20th Century. He was born in Rodez and the museum is home to over 200 of his works. The minimalist building is part of an ensemble of contemporary architecture along with a Michelin Starred restaurant and cinema multiplex.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is what defines Rodez and will feature in every step of your visit. This magnificent piece of gothic architecture with its imposing 87 metre bell tower, dominates the views of the city and is one of the most striking cathedrals in the South of France. Inside is just as much of a work of art as the exterior with magnificent stained glass windows and historical Christian iconography.
It seems it would be a crime to spend time in Rodez without a visit to Chocolaterie Agnès et Pierre. Renowned for their exquisite macarons and beautifully ornate chocolates, just one step inside will have you wanting to try some of their flavour combinations and have your taste buds tingling. Perfect for picking up holiday gifts for friends and family and it’s in the heart of Rodez, so also easy to go back to, to replace the gifts that you previously bought but accidentally fell into your mouth!
If after museums, cathedrals and shops you need a bit of fresh air and space, there is a 300 acre Parc de loisirs de Combelles in the district of Le Monastère. Here you can relax on the lush green grass, eat a picnic and watch the world go by. If there is still energy to use up, there are a number of sports activities you could have a go at, including Domaine de Combelles, a superb equestrian centre that will occupy any horse enthusiast for hours.
Within an hour
Just over 50 minutes away is the Millau Viaduct. A record breaking bridge that’s taller than the Eiffel Tower at 343 metres tall, and 2460 metres long. Its slender design was created to give the impression of a yacht and stretches elegantly across the Tarn Valley linking Clermont-Ferrand with Béziers and Narbonne. This spectacular structure can be viewed in a number of ways; tourist viewing areas have been created to give you the best panoramic view in its entirety, there is driving across it of course, or if you fancy something a bit different, you could canoe underneath or hang glide above. The choice is yours.
45 minutes North-West of the centre of Rodez will take you to Conques, a medieval village and home to a resplendent Abbey-Church (UNESCO WHS) which is regarded as one the western world’s most significant areas of art and spirituality. A former commune, this village was a main stop along the way for the thousands of pilgrims from Puy en Velay who were travelling to Santiago de Compostela, which is now in Spain. The narrow streets mean that entrance to the village is still done on foot by many a visitor but they are warmly greeted by the monks when they get there.
*All flight times are average and will vary.
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