Millau Grands Causses, the Capital of Sports and leisure activities in nature
Just a stone’s throw from the town lies the great outdoors, an infinite playground for hillwalking, paragliding, trail running, caving, via ferrata, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, canyoning… Welcome to Aveyron!
In Millau, sport is more than a pastime – it’s the way of discovering an exceptional outdoor environment, at the heart of the Grands Causses Natural Park: flora, fauna, architecture, culture…
The various sporting spots here are internationally renowned. Be it with a group of friends, with your family, alone, as a seasoned athlete or a mere amateur in search of sporting activities and thrills, everyone will find just what they’re looking for.
Numerous outdoor sport and leisure professionals await you to offer simple advice, to look after your group or to provide training.
Water, air, land, climbing… everything is possible, from Millau, in the heart of the Grands Causses!
In the EARTH family, please, could I have... ?
On foot, by mountain bike, on a horse or alongside a donkey with a packsaddle, 3,000kms of marked paths await you for anything from a family walk lasting a few hours to a long-distance sports hike. This is easy-access nature with an astonishing diversity of paths, from the cliff-ledges of the Gorges to the desert-like areas of the Causse, from the rocky chaos terrains to the long river stretches, from the wild valleys to the multi-hued rougiers, from the typical hamlets to the protected forests… prepare yourself for a change of scenery!
Rambling or sports hikes, national Grande Randonnée walks or trekking – take your pick!
The GR 62 et 71D routes pass through this territory, criss-crossing many other walks and circular routes ranging in walking time between 1 hour and 5 hours.
And for a family outing, don’t forget the Mr Clapassou Heritage Walks as well as the Rando’Croquis (Walk ‘n’ Sketch) route in Peyre.
Last but not least, the « nature walks » organised by professionals who will explain the landscape, fauna and flora for you… a passion?!
Racing through the open countryside - it’s the latest trend!
In Millau, trail-running has taken off on a large scale (not unlike the scenery!) with a dedicated space that is open all year round: the Millau Espace Trail with its 14 permanent training routes.
Several trail races take place throughout the year in this area: Festival des Templiers, Verticausse, Trail du Roc de la Lune, Trail des Hospitaliers, Ronde des Cabanières… etc… etc.
Millau and the Grands Causses can be proud of the fact that they have become THE international reference in trail-running. A sporting breath of fresh air for runners from all over the world amid fabulous natural sites…
Just for you:
- Mountain bike trekking : also called Cross Country or XC. This is the oldest, but also the most accessible form of this sport for riders of all levels.
New: « Electro Mountain Bike » (Mountain biking with electrical assistance)
- Enduro Mountain Bike: also called All Mountain, downhill cycling, on single paths, with natural obstacles.
- DH (Down Hill): downhill cycling with natural and/or manmade obstacles.
In the WATER family, please, could I have... ?
Canoeing, kayaking and other watercraft
A quiet river, accessible to all, navigable between Montbrun in Lozère and Peyre / Comprégnac, as well as on the reservoir lakes of the Raspes du Tarn.
The most challenging sector (lots of rapids): « Les Vignes » - « Le Rozier ».
Some of the nicest places: « Les Détroits » (The Straits) of the Tarn Gorges (between La Malène and le Cirque des Baumes); passing beneath Millau Viaduct, arriving at Peyre.
Navigable between La Roque-Ste-Marguerite and Millau, this river is full of surprises and is subject to fishing regulations – a major attraction here.
Say hello to our beaver friends on your way past!
Not enough water, due to the underground river and resurgences!
Hot-dog or mini-rafting : inflatable device for 1-3 people.
Rafting : unsinkable inflatable vessel for up to 8 people.
Stand-up paddle : a derivation of the « long board » (surfing) with a long paddle, this is a sport for lakes or rather calm water. Come on, stand up! Stand up!
Hydrospeed: whitewater swimming with a float and fins.
And for freestyle enthusiasts, be it slaloming or any other watersport, The Millau Whitewater Sports Centre is brimming with waves and rollers. Everything is adjustable and the flow is guaranteed! Have you ever tried Dragon Boating?
Canyoning ou river trekking?
Around these parts, you can walk on water! …well, near enough.
Canyoning = moving through torrent beds, jumping into the deepest rockpools, abseiling down from the highest projections, sliding down natural waterslides, swimming, exploring and braving waterfalls for natural massages. Easy to medium levels for sports enthusiasts.
River trekking = when the profile is less steep, you can avoid difficulties by going along the riverbanks for an activity that is less technical and that requires less material, but where each person finds the level best suited to them: water-fans can spend all their time in the water while others, who aren’t so keen on jumping for example, can avoid these obstacles via the banks.
This is an ideal family or group activity since there’s something in it for everyone!
The 3 main sites:
-Les Gorges du Tapoul, at the foot of Mont-Aigoual
-The Upper Dourbie with its 2 water fun trails after Saint-Jean du Bruel
-Bramabiau, downstream from the famous Abîme de Bramabiau.
In Aveyron, you have 8,700kms of Category 1 and 2 rivers and streams, 3,000ha of lakes and exceptional water for angling. Freedom to fish, everywhere, and for everyone!
No Kill fishing areas (NK)
In these areas (they are signposted), you must release any fish that you catch!
No kill – Dourbie: upstream limit = Le Monna / downstream limit = Massebiau
No kill – Tarn: upstream limit = railway bridge / downstream limit = car-park after Les Douzes
Young people’s fishing area
Creissels: Upstream limit = town-hall / Downstream limit = RD992 road-bridge
Category 1 Sector: Tarn (upstream from Millau) and Dourbie
Fishing season open from mid-March to mid-September
Fish caught here are mainly wild Brown Trout (Fario) and Rainbow Trout (farmed). Minimum size 23cms.
Category 2 Sector: Tarn (downstream from Millau)
Fishing season open all year round except when stated otherwise.
More diversified angling (trout, pike, pike perch…).
Angling techniques: fly, lure, natrual bait, live bait…
For crayfish angling (highly regulated), only California crawfish may be caught; the other, so-called « local » crayfish, are protected.
There are also otters and beavers – watch out!
In the CLIMBING family, please, could I have... ?
The Avens (sinkholes) de Puech Nègre, des Patates, de Corgnes…in the land of the Grands Causses, the historic birthplace of caving, are known here as the « grand classics ». There are about ten of them in all. The approach walks are often quite short and the dynamism of the local cavers is sure to provide us with more wonderful premières in the future…
Progressing underground doesn’t necessarily call for squeezing into tight, muddy tunnels – fortunately not!
It is also possible to visit down underneath the earth via large galleries, to discover underground lakes and to admire unique concretions in comfortable conditions.
Do you prefer holds, major routes or adventure routes? All 3?! No problem…
HoldsFor indoor climbing or in a natural site, not so high, and without any particular security equipment (a bag on the ground to cushion any falls).
Indoors: The Couleur Caillou climbing wall in Millau.
Outdoors: Potensac, on the Larzac.
The 3 major Gorges (Tarn, Jonte, Dourbie) have internationally renowned cliffs, some 1,000 different routes and more than 2,500 climbing sections in all…
This climbing site is in the Dourbie Gorges, which are visible from Millau, and has over 200 routes. This site is rather « sensitive », due to the presence of the peregrine falcon and the chough…
The Tarn Valley
At the entrance to the Tarn Gorges with its hundreds of routes, there are 2 sectors before you reach the famous Pas du Soucy, Cirque des Baumes, or Baumes Chaudes...
Le Piédestal sector: a nice winter cliff overlooking Rivière-sur-Tarn.
La Muse sector: a little 32-route sector at the entrance to the Tarn Gorges.
Le Laumet Site
Just a few minutes from Millau, in the Dourbie Gorges, the Laumet site has over 50 routes on offer for climbers, ranging from very easy to very challenging.
The Cantobre Site
At the confluence point of the Dourbie and Trévezel rivers, opposite the hilltop village of Cantobre, this site is less well known, and yet…
The Malaspes Site
In Lapanouse, on the Larzac, with no approach walk whatsoever, this discreet site is still largely unknown… and yet it has 56 short routes great for training or improving.
Here are some of the routes with names that can only be described as, well… you decide! Baywatch, The Comic, Rice potatoes, Get out of here quick!, Moskito, Man has descended from apes, Rear end, Disney vs René, Bobo is knitting, My bum weighs me down… Enjoy!
Le Boffi and Liaucous are two via ferrata sites that have been fitted out by the Millau Grands Causses District Council. Cables, ladders, monkey bridges and zip-lines await you for some vertical hillwalking on your journey to the land of vertigo!
And into the bargain, you’ll have stunning views of the Tarn and Dourbie Gorges…
Overlooking the Dourbie Gorges, the Via Ferrata du Boffi provides fabulous viewpoints over the Causse du Larzac, the village of Le Monna, Millau, the Millau Viaduct and the Dourbie river.
This site is rich in wildlife and needs to be protected to ensure the tranquility of certain birds of prey during the mating season, which explains why it is closed between 15th March and 20th May and has restricted access from 20th May until 15th June (contact the sports activities professionals).
The cliff faces due south and is just 20 minutes from Millau via the Montpellier-le-Vieux road. You can park at Parking du Boffi on the Causse Noir.
Allow for around 3 hours of activity, depending on your level.
New in 2015: new routes that just need to be tested!
This via ferrata winds along the cliffs of the Causse de Sauveterre and offers two levels of difficulty to make your way to the top where an exceptionally panoramic view over the Tarn Valley and the villages of Liaucous and Mostuéjouls awaits each climber.
Several monkey bridges, Nepalese bridges, the « end of the world » zip-line (80m long, but you’re not obliged to cross it), a cave… along 2 routes: the Blue one is easier, is accessible to accompanied beginners and takes about 4h. The Red route is extremely difficult, takes about 4hrs30mins. It criss-crosses twice, leaving you with several choices.
It starts from the hamlet of Liaucous, near Mostuéjouls, 20mins from Millau.
Accrobranches, acroparc, acroroc, treetop adventure park, acrobatic trails… the name doesn’t matter!
From branch to branch or from rock to rock (the local speciality here in the Grands Causses!), over a river… these adventure trails give you a different insight into nature, scaling the heights over footbridges and along zip-lines, across nets and monkey-bridges, just like an acrobat, but in total security. Suitable for age-groups from 7 to 77 – to your heart’s content!
Looking for more? Zip-line trails, giant abseiling, big air-bag… each to their own!
In the AIR family, please, could I have... ?
Free flight (paragliding, hang gliding)!
First things first. You don’t jump in a paraglider, you fly off! You take off! Ok?
This activity is possible all year long (depending on weather conditions).
With 2 take-off spots that have been established and approved by the Millau Grands Causses District Council up at « La Pouncho d’Agast » and at « Brunas », both directly overlooking the town, Millau certainly knows how to live up to its reputation of being the « Capital of Free Flight».
Whether it’s a discovery flight, a 2-seater hang glider or legendary cross country paragliding, there’s something here for every pilot looking to spread their wings. No more of those long shuttle drives!
And then there’s the atmosphere…! The landing strips are just a few metres from the first outdoor terraces of the bars!
Brunas Take-off Spot
On the northern face of the Causse du Larzac, overlooking the village of Creissels, the Brunas site provides an amazing panorama over Millau and the Millau Viaduct.
GPS Co-ordinates: 44°04'17"N - 03°03'52"E. Altitude 730m, Difference in height 255m.
To get there from Millau, drive through the village of Creissels on the D992 road towards Albi. Coming out of Creissels, take the first left signposted Brunas, aire de vision du cap de Costes. Be careful, as this road is accessible to light vehicles only.
La Pouncho d'Agast Take-off Spot
La Pouncho d’Agast is located at the furthest southwestern point of the Causse Noir and has 3 take-off directions: on the left is the southern take-off point, while straight in front of you are the western and northwestern take-off points.
GPS Co-ordinates: West : 44°06'35"N - 03°06'02"E - South : 44°06'37"N - 03°06'12"E
Altitude : West and Northwest : 820m, South : 840m, Difference in height 460 m.
From Millau, drive towards the Dourbie Gorges and at the rond-point de Cureplat (roundabout), take the D110 road towards Montpellier-le-Vieux up to the top of the Causse Noir. Take the first right.
There is also a third, lesser known take-off spot, overlooking Millau: the « Puech d’Andan ».
There are 3 bungee jumping spots within a 30-45 minute radius of Millau.
Be it from a bridge or a cliff, go and take the plunge!
Try your hand – or foot, rather - at being a tightrope walker along a 2.5cm (1-inch) broad, extremely taut strap…
-making long (and high!) crossings between 2 natural elements, with a safety harness on the highline and longline
-doing figures: backflip, frontflip, 360°... on the jumpline and the trickline.
Every year, in June in Millau, the Natural Games put these thin air acrobats in the limelight…