From Saint-Chély d’Aubrac, with the old Dômerie (monastery) and the Calvary on the old bridge, you begin the descent from the High Plateau running down gently into the Lot Valley. You leave Saint-Chély d’Aubrac across the Pilgrims Bridge, once the only way to cross the River Boralde and keep your feet dry.
After going through L’Estrade, you head for Saint-Côme d’Olt with its little medieval streets. It has the “most beautiful village in France” label and has preserved its character over time. While the outer areas have been built up, the town centre still takes visitors back in time with picturesque streets and a medieval castle. The original twisted church spire presides over the centre of the village. You can see it quite clearly as you come down from Aubrac or along the Lot Valley.
The village of Saint-Côme d’Olt
There are still 7 km to go before you arrive in Espalion, the “first smile of the south of France”. This is the economic heart of Haut Rouergue and something of a symbol for the gentle way of life. Here you can visit Saint John’s Church, the Penitents chapel, the diving suit museum, the Museum of Popular Art and Traditions, the Rouergue Museum, the old palace and the Old Bridge.
This is the oldest bridge across the powerful River Lot in the Rouergue region. It took on great importance because of the Way of St James pilgrimage and for the movement of goods and people between the Massif Central and Rouergue. The Gothic work has been redesigned several times. It originally had three towers with a guard post, like Valentré bridge in Cahors.
Espalion – Bridge and Old Palace – Hautes Terres d’Aveyron Tourist Office
The building is listed as a historic monument and as a UNESCO World Heritage site, as part of the Way of St James in France.