Nestling at the heart of the Causse du Larzac, in wild, unspoilt countryside, the medieval village of La Couvertoirade has retained a truly remarkable group of buildings from its Templar and Hospitaller past. The towers and wall-walk of the ramparts, fortified doors, Templar castle from the late 12th century, fortress church from the 14th century, paved side streets dotted with typical stone houses, and old residences like the Scipione House and the Grailhe Mansion make La Couvertoirade a simply unmissable listed site!
La Couvertoirade is located in the Regional Natural Park of Grands Causses in southern Aveyron, at an altitude of 800 meters. Commune of 6000 hectares, it is populated by 189 people spread over the town and several hamlets. Standing majestically in the heart of the Larzac plateau, the city is well worth a detour for delving into the mood of the story.
Two orders from the military and religious crusades have built this city. This is the Order of the Temple (the Templars) and the Order of the Hospital or the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem (the Hospitallers). After the dissolution of the Templars, the Pope gives the castle to the Hospitallers. They will build the church and the walls, still intact today.
Things to see and do
The chamber and the fortifications of the city:
In the fifteenth century to the insecurity caused by misdeeds of robbers and plunderers, the Hospitallers were obliged to build the walls and fortifications of the city. This is Déodat Alaux, master mason of Saint Beauzély who was responsible for carrying out this work from 1439 to 1445. The wall, in a beautiful present state of conservation of square towers at the entrances and round towers at the corners.
Visiting the walkway offers breathtaking views of the city and caussenard landscape.
The castle :
The castle built in the thirteenth century remains the only witness to the presence of the Templars in La Couvertoirade. It depended on the Commandery of Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon (cultural tour).
The castle built on a rocky promontory is classified as historical monuments. It retains including former dungeon and the remains of the original fortification: the barbican.
The Saint Christophe: it was built in the fourteenth century facing the castle. The Maltese cross of the order adorns the keystones in the nave. Its cemetery is decorated with steles discoidal.
The lavogne: discover the lavogne, natural pond that was once used to water the sheep, specific limestone plateau.
Stroll through the streets of the city that are home to many craftsmen: potters, leather craftsmen, weavers, Santon, modelers and sculptors...
To discover :
Cultural Circuit Larzac Templar.
Adventure in the dolomite rocks scattered all over the town, faults Canalettes.
Hiking trails from La Couvertoirade, La Blaquererie and other hamlets of the commune.
During the summer, participate in activities: The Masquerade, Children Day (treasure hunt family), Summertime Larzac, shows, concerts ...
Heritage Days in September.
Visits, leisure and activities nearby
To discover the gorges of the Dourbie, the Screw, the Tarn, Jonte, Lake Salagou.
The Tourist Office offers many tours to discover the territory: Remember, you are in an area classified by UNESCO in 2011 on agro-pastoralism.
On the Road of Templars and Hospitallers (80.5 km advised on two days):
Start your day enjoying the magnificent panorama that offers circus St. Paul of Fonts! From this height, you can enjoy the breathtaking view of Fort Saint-Jean d'Alcas, Cistercian little gem that deserves a stop on your itinerary. The walled enclosure of a harmonious regularity, was a refuge for peasants and their livestock in times of danger. After a visit of about 1 hour, keep your day towards the Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux.
By the D559 up Tournemire and turn right by the D93 direction Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux. On the road, you can admire the edge lavogne a natural fed for collecting rainwater to water the flocks of "muttons" (sheep).
Le Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux and monumental tower will welcome you to pause discovery. Vivid illustration of the agropastoral Larzac plateau, the tower of Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux was built in the fifteenth century, next to the ancient buildings of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, to secure the inhabitants, their property and animals. Head in the direction of Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon.
For the D23 towards Hospitalet du Larzac to peak Cougouille then return to the fork and take the D561 to Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon. Along the way, the magnificent panorama of the Larzac since the peak of Cougouille worth a detour. Leave your car and walk down a few minutes to reach the top. Turn around and go to the Templar Commandery of Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon, the best preserved of France. In his past medieval walled room, Sainte-Eulalie has retained most of its walls, towers, gates and church. On the square, opposite the Commandery, you can cool around the shaded fountain erected in the seventeenth century and discover the beautiful Romanesque church party.
Take towards the Cavalry by the D77 and the D227 and the D999. Cavalry arrived at the other hospital Templar site, browse the streets of the city and go to the ramparts for a remarkable view. Continue your tour now to discover the valley side.
Leave the Cavalry towards Nant by the D999. At the end of the Cavalry, on your left, the military camp of the Larzac, the object of the fight in 1971. The Minister of Defense (M.Debré) officially announced the extension of the military camp; a hundred farms would disappear or be amputated. The peasants then engage in a struggle that will last 10 years, a resistance that is organized with support from all walks of life.
Arriving at Nant you are now Valley side Valley Dourbie. This charismatic little village is rich in Roman art.
Just before leaving the village, turn right direction "La Couvertoirade". then turn right onto the D7 then left on D55. La Couvertoirade reached, take the time to discover this village classified "most beautiful villages in France". The Templar and Hospitaller city reflects a rich culture, its Templar castle (listed building). The Templar castle was built in the late twelfth century on the rocky outcrop of the village. Its mission, to build walls in the fifteenth century, was to protect the villagers in case of attack, evidenced by his Barbican, this primitive enclosure as well as the remains of a gatehouse, located above his front door. The fortifications, the city of La Couvertoirade retains all of its walls, built in the mid-fifteenth century. From 1346, the "Road" plunder Larzac. It's fear of these gangs that villagers in 1439 asking permission to fortify the village.
After this stop at La Couvertoirade, join the road and turn on your right, follow the D7 to reach the village of Cornus. You are now on the side of the Sorgue Valley.
For the D93, go to St. Beaulize on the Larzac plateau. Enjoy craft beer, the Caussenarde and all their dairy farm brewery Mas Andral.
Join Saint-Paul-des-Fonts, and your circle will be closed!
Lavognes Larzac (56 km circuit): Throughout this course you will discover the lavognes at each stop.
A Lavogne (or Lavagna) is intended to water the herds grazing on the Larzac. It is nearly circular ponds. By definition, they are artificial but is nevertheless very rare that they are dug in their entirety. Most of the time it comes to natural hollow redeveloped: the fund is sometimes paved, and it is still sealed (usually clay) to hold as long as possible water. The lavognes are part of the cultural heritage.
Start your La Couvertoirade circuit Templar Hospital site ranked "most beautiful villages in France". Head to the exit of the village towards the south gate and turn left onto the lavogne.
At the end of La Couvertoirade, turn right and continue on the D55. Then turn left on the D7, join the Blaquererie.
Turn left on the D7 then at the roundabout take the 2nd exit on the D809 towards the Hospitalet du Larzac.
Join the Cavalry by the D809.
Then towards Sainte-Eulalie-de-Cernon, the D999 and turn left by the D277. On the right, the D77. Take advantage of this stop to visit the Reptile Larzac or practice vélorail.
Take the direction of the D561 and turn right on D23 and join the Viala du Pas de Jaux.
Turn right on the D23. Arrived at the roundabout take the 3rd exit still the D23. Turn right on the D559 then left on D93. Then take a slight right onto the D516 and also slightly right on the D516E, you get to Saint-Jean-d'Alcas to finish your course.
Circuit family around La Couvertoirade (12 km circuit):
Start your tour here, the Domaine de Gaillac (Sauclières). Parents and children alike will delight in the equestrian center of Larzac, but also the Museum of Traditions in South Aveyron.
At the exit of the Estate, turn left, continue on the road to turn left again towards La Couvertoirade. Enjoy discovering this beautiful village classified "most beautiful villages in France" and its walls and its shops (artisans). In tourist season, treasure hunts are organized for families.
On leaving, turn left on D55 then continue on D142E5, then turn left on the D609. You are in Caylar (Hérault). A mandatory stop at the Zoo Theil, a zoo for children and adults, playground, maze of the witch, the magic forest, discovering the fauna and flora...
Direction the Infruts (La Couvertoirade), at the exit of Caylar, continue on the D809, turn left to stay on the D809 and then slightly turn right to follow the same route.
The adventure of Infruts, the underground world, discover the Larzac by hiking, many activities available to you to spend a fun family afternoon.
Then take the direction of the Salvetat (La Couvertoirade). Discover a lavogne (typical landscape of the Larzac).
Circuit Valley Dourbie family (41 km circuit):
It all starts at the village of Saint-Jean-du-Bruel towards the museum Noria Space Water, an interactive museum to discover, observe, understand, listen, play. The water at all levels.
At the exit of the museum, join the parking lot and then through the "new bridge", then turn right to the roundabout where you take the 2nd exit. Following the D999 in the municipality of Sauclières, arrived at the village sign go straight and turn right at the intersection. Visit the museum of automatons where you will find miniature, while a lively Aveyron village. Thanks to the magic of this exhibition of 1500 m², you'll relive your memories through this journey through time, history and tradition. The Museum of Automata is a permanent show which features more than 500 characters, Santon or PLCs.
Turn right on the D999 then right again on the D7. left direction on the D55 then continue on D142E5 turn left sue the D609 to arrive at Caylar. Then take the southeast direction on the D609 to D142E6. Turn right to stay on D609. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto the D142, then left on Madières. Turn first right to the D151 and then turn left. Discover a safari discovering caves Labeil, go on an adventure, cave Labeil allows everyone and especially children enjoy the pleasure of discovery safely.