Welcome to Rodez, sitting on top of its hill, overlooking the gentle valleys of the Rouergue. The capital of the Aveyron was awarded the Great Tourist Site of Midi Pyrénées label in 2011, followed by the Town and Country of Art and History label in 2013 along with its 8 surrounding villages. But far from resting on its laurels of 2,000 years of history, Rodez continues to write its own history today by reinventing itself every day in town planning that cultivates the art of living in a town… in the country. Yet without ever losing its personality – and personality is something that Rodez has in abundance!

Notre Dame, the emblematic red sandstone cathedral, started off as a classical gothic construction, but ended up – 3 centuries later – with the « flamboyance » of a stone lacework bell-tower that visitors can climb via a flight of 400 steps. Fashions change and you need to move on with the times!

Beautiful medieval houses and Renaissance style dwellings which line the streets of the town centre from the Cité area around the cathedral and the bishop’s palace to the Bourg quarter, the shopkeepers  and administration area, are to be discovered in the course of an afternoon of shopping, or on market days, a gourmet’s delight, given the countless temptations on offer on the stalls and in the little restaurants… 

There is a fantastic selection of museums, ranging from the enigmatic 5,000 year-old  standing stone statues in the Fenaille Museum to the collection of sculptures in the Denys Puech Museum dedicated to Fine Arts and more recently opened to contemporary creation, as well as the National Stud in an old Carthusian monastery set in the middle of a 6-hectare park.

The Soulages Museum, which has already acquired « not to be missed » status, with its bold and resolutely contemporary architecture set in the middle of refurbished gardens, has graced the city centre with a new look: a few corten steel cubes and the place is a total success! Here, visitors can find out all about the world famous master of abstraction and understand how Black became light…

And yet the countryside is just a stone’s throw away: 8 little villages, not to be outdone in terms of heritage and quality! Manors and castles, fortified churches and Gothic bridges, hillwalking paths, protected natural zones in the Aveyron Valley, dry stone walls and huts (cazelles) on the Causse Comtal, a water sports centre and leisure centre, markets and agricultural fairs – such are the countless assets which give you a glimpse of the joie de vivre of a town in the country… Grand Rodez has struck a perfect balance between nature and culture, heritage and creation, know-how and well-being.