Rodez is the capital of the Aveyron, situated in the far south of France about 150km from the Mediterranean coast and close to the Massif Central. With a population of under 25,000 and a compact historic centre, Rodez is not overwhelming - but it is very much worth visiting. It was founded over 2000 years ago by the Rutenes, a celtic tribe of the Aveyron – today an inhabitant of Rodez is still known as a Ruthénois. The remains of a Roman amphitheatre attest to Roman dominion of the city, during which the settlement's name was changed to Segodunum. The Middle Ages were dominated by a power struggle between the bishops who controlled the Cité and the counts, who governed the Bourg. This divisive rule of the city had a profound effect on the inhabitants of Rodez, although the city still prospered as an important centre for agricultural production and trade. Today, most Ruthénois are employed in agri-food, construction and mechanical engineering.


Rodez's pièce de résistance is the towering Cathedral of Notre Dame de Rodez. Constructed between 1277 and the late 1500s, the building is in the Gothic style and owes its beautiful reddish colour to the local sandstone. The bulk and austerity of the cathedral suggest it was not purely a religious building but also had defensive functions. Learn more by joining one of the tours run by the local tourist office or by hiring an audio guide for a mere €3.

Head next for the [ Fenaille Museum] in the centre of town on the Place de la Mairie. With a marvellous collection of archaeological and historical material, and a special activity hall for children, it's a great place for the whole family to visit. Among the exhibits is the largest collection of menhir statues in France, quarried and carved 5000 years ago.

Just out of town, you'll find the Domaine de Combelles, a large estate which is home to a leisure park. It's a great place to relax with a picnic during the summer months and there is also an equestrian centre on-site.


Rodez has lovely boutiques and shops, as well as an open-air market which takes place on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and Friday afternoons. Shopkeepers and stallholders will always be happy to have long conversations about their produce, which is part of Rodez's charm. Look out for local cheeses, eau-de-vie brandy and exceptional craftsmanship in the form of hand-made gloves and knives from the nearby [ Coutellerie de Laguiole].

Nightlife and Eating Out

Despite its small size, Rodez has several dozen restaurants serving local and international cuisine. For traditional fare cooked with imagination, try [ Goûts et Couleurs ] on rue de Bonald. Local specialities of the Aveyron include aligot (a cheesy mashed potato), stuffed cabbage and, not for the faint-hearted, tripous made with sheep's intestine and feet. Delicious Roquefort, Laguiole and chèvre cheeses also feature in local cuisine.

Although Rodez has plenty of bars, clubbing opportunities are thin on the ground. Five minutes from the town, however, you'll find [ Le Laury's], a popular nightspot with a restaurant for 150 people and a disco.

Tourist Information

Office de Tourisme du Grand RodezPlace Foch 12000 Rodez

  • Telephone: 33 (0) 5 65 75 76 77
  • Email:
  • Website: []


Rodez-Marcillac Airport is located approximately 10 km from Rodez. It is not served by public transport, but taxis are available outside the terminal building. The airport facilities are limited, but there is a bar and restaurant on-site.

At the time of writing (October 2006), [ Ryanair] operates daily flights to Rodez from London Stansted. Alternatively you could fly to Paris and connect onto an [ Air France] flight to Rodez. Alternatively, take the Eurostar from London Waterloo to Paris, and change trains there for Rodez – a total journey time of 8 hours.

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