Dominated by the silhouette of its two imposing castles, the mediaeval town of Bruniquel, listed among the most beautiful villages of France, is a real architectural gem.
This former stronghold is ideal for a leisurely stroll. Once prosperous thanks to the hemp, linen and saffron trades, a number of reminders of its rich past remain. Taking a walk in its charming paved side streets is like stepping into the atmosphere of pomp and splendour of the Middle Ages, and is a chance to discover several stone residences from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, some adorned with beautiful mullioned windows. A superb example of mediaeval civil architecture, the Payrol house, the former residence of the governors of Bruniquel, contains murals dating back to the 13th century, a Renaissance ceiling, and a museum with a collection of objects relating to local history on display. When your tour is over, carry on with your walk by heading to the summit of the village, where Bruniquel's two castles stand. These are the old castle from the 13th-19th centuries, and the new castle from the 15th-17th centuries. When visiting the castles, you can admire Queen Brunehaut's tower, the knights' room with geminated windows, and the Renaissance-style gallery and its splendid panoramic view of the Aveyron Valley. A permanent exhibition about Prehistory and the "The Old Gun" by Robert Enrico, which was partly filmed on the premises, along with temporary exhibitions, will complete your tour of this site.
Each year, in late July-early August, the lyrical festival devoted to Jacques Offenbach - the Bruniquel Castles Festival - is the high point of the town's festive calendar.