LivingTravelRodez in the Massif Central of France

Rodez in the Massif Central of France

Located in the southwest corner of the Central Mountain range, Rodez is an unexpected delight. Located between the major cities of Clermont-Ferrand, Toulouse and Montpellier, Rodez is a bustling and lively city with a charming old center worth exploring and a beautiful cathedral. Many people use the airport for cheap flights from the UK and avoid the city, which is their loss. So if you’re late, spend the night here before leaving for your next destination.

Small town nestled in the mountains

This is a really great place for travelers who can’t decide between a city or the country, as Rodez is very much like an island in the middle of nowhere. Sitting atop a rocky spur overlooking the Aveyron River, it enjoyed a commanding position and both the cathedral and castle districts were once fortified.

Rodez is located in the Aveyron department, an area rich in historical attractions, with several castles and bastides nearby. Charming stone cottages guard secluded vast tracts of land and sheep farms that dot the countryside.

Arriving in Rodez

Rodez has its own airport, Rodez-Aveyron, with flights from France, Dublin and London Stansted with Ryanair. The airport is 8kms (5 miles) outside of Rodez. There is no shuttle service so you will have to take a taxi or rent a car from here.

If you are coming from the US, fly to Paris and then take the connection to Rodez.

The train station in Rodez is on Joffre bvd, in the north of the city. The trip from Paris by train takes about 7 hours more.

Getting around Rodez

You can get around Rodez and its immediate area on the Agglobus, which operates several lines with a fast schedule.

Notre Dame Cathedral

The sandstone building looks like a fortress and was part of the city’s defenses. The Gothic cathedral was started in 1277, but it took another 300 years to complete the impressive building. Its enormous bell tower, 87 meters high, towering over the nearby streets and squares is a remarkable structure, covered in stone decoration with balustrades and pinnacles. Enter the cathedral and it is equally impressive for its empty spaces and its size. But there is a magnificent 17th-century organ loft and 11th-century choir stalls.

The old town

The winding old medieval streets lead from the back of the cathedral to the place de Gaulle, place de la Prefecture and place du Bourg, which is lined with 16th century houses and the place d’Armes. The episcopal palace next to the cathedral was to pick up a brochure and a map from the Tourist Office for a guided tour of the streets.

The museums of Rodez

While none of the museums are world-class, they are all worth a visit.

The Fenaille Museum, housed in the former 16th century Hôtel de Jouéry, addresses the history of the local Rouergue region from the time man left footprints, some 300,000 years ago, to the 17th century. The Fenaille museum presents the archeology, art and history of the Rouergue region, from the first vestiges of mankind, around 300,000 years ago, to the dawn of the 17th century. Sculpture is the main theme; 17 objects carved with 5,000-year-old menhirs are the most famous objects, as they are the oldest monumental statues in Europe.


The Musée Soulages, created by the most important contemporary artist, Pierre Soulages, shows his works, but also has large temporary exhibitions of artists like Picasso.

The Denys-Puech Museum of Fine Arts celebrates the works of Denis Puech (1845-1942), a sculptor who was one of the most important artists in the world after Rodin.

Markets in Rodez include traditional markets on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, Thursday from 4-8pm, Friday afternoon and Sunday from 8am to noon. There is a farmers market in the summer and a street fair on the last Friday of March and June and the first Friday of September and December.

Staying in Rodez

The Hotel de La Tour Maje, 1º Gally, 00 33 (0) 5 65 68 34 68, is a 3-star hotel located in a new part of a building annexed to an old stone tower. It is comfortable and central.

  • Read guest reviews, check rates and book Hotel de la Tour Maje with TripAdvisor.

The Mercure Rodez Cathedrale, 1 av Victor Hugo, 0033 (0) 5 65 68 55 19, is a good 4-star option with Art Deco-style rooms.

  • Read guest reviews, check rates and book the Mercure Rodez Cathedrale with TripAdvisor.

Try the Château de Carnac bed and breakfast, just a few minutes from Rodez at Onet-le-Château. It is a beautiful building and you can also dine here.

Dining in Rodez

Gouts et Couleurs, 38 rue Bonald, 00 33 (0) 5 65 42 75 10. Contemporary décor and a Michelin-star experience at these favorite Rodez restaurants. Menus from 33 to 83 euros.

L’Aubrac , Place de la Cité, 033 (0) 5 65 72 22 91, is a comfortable and pretty restaurant concentrating on local Aveyron ingredients served in an imaginative way.

Les Colonnes, 6 place d’Armes, 00 33 (0) 5 65 68 00 33. This modern brasserie offers great views of the cathedral and good traditional products at great prices.

Trips around Rodez

The Aveyron has 10 Plus Beaux Villages de France (most beautiful villages in France), so you have many options.

  • Don’t miss Conques. Not only is it an impressive town, clinging to a mountain; It was also one of the great stopping places on the pilgrimage to Santiago from Le Puy en Velay. Stop to admire Ste-Foy’s treasure, the abbey church, and try to spend the night and see an organ recital in the cathedral.

Edited by Mary Anne Evans

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