Belcastel, Midi-Pyrenees: tourism & sightseeing
Visit Belcastel (Midi-Pyrenees, France)
Belcastel is a very pretty village nestling in the wooded slopes along the banks of the Aveyron River, with an 11th century castle dominating the village from its rocky outcrop. Start your visit by parking below the village near the river and bridge: the steep streets of the historic centre are not suitable for exploring by car!
The ancient houses, most notable for their stone (lauze) rooves, spread up the steep hillside between the river and the castle, along pretty, narrow cobbled streets. Although the village is small many of the houses in Belcastle have a great deal of character and it is a pleasure to explore.
At the highest point in the village, Belcastel castle itself is open to the public and is interesting both for the characteristics of the medieval castle itself such as the moats and the keep and the medieval armour on display, the views from the castle, and because of the exhibitions of modern art that are displayed (some permanent and some temporary) in both the rooms of the castle and in the adjacent gardens.
Returning to the bottom of the village, in the centre of Belcastel the river is crossed by a very attractive stone bridge, narrow with five arches, built by the same person who founded the church. Both of these historic monuments date from the fifteenth century. Don't forget your camera - there is a lovely view from the bridge!
Note: there is a lovely picnic area across the bridge in Belcastel next to the church.
France This Way comment: for us, Belcastel is one of the loveliest villages of France. We visited on a sunny few days at the end of October when there were almost no other tourists and it really is an incredibly beautiful place. There is nothing at all to 'spoil' the village, which is a perfect ensemble.
There is also a small museum in Belcastel, the Maison de la Forge, dedicated to the trades that have been traditionally carrid out in the village.
The story of the rebirth of Belcastel is interesting. During the 1970's the castle was acquired and meticulously restored by the architect Fernand Pouillon from his own funds. This then motivated the rest of Belcastel to beautify themselves, mostly during the 1980's. Perhaps this in part explains Belcastel's 'perfection' - although it avoids the 'too perfect' look of some of the 'most beautiful villages'.
About one kilometre from Belcastel (follow the road next to the church) at the Roc d'Anglars you can see the remains of an old fort. This is thought to date from the 5th century, so one of the oldest castles in France.
Among the many picturesque towns in the region around Belcastel we also highly recommend you visit Figeac. Although it is about 40 kilometres from here (several other market towns are closer to Belcastel) Figeac has one of the most impressive historical centres in France.
Map of Belcastel and places to visit
Visit near Belcastel with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Aveyron
Belcastel is classified as a one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)
Address: Belcastel, Rignac, Rodez, Aveyron, Midi-Pyrenees, 12390, France || GPS: latitude 44.388, longitude 2.3359
Belcastel reviews and comments
Belcastel, France Rating: 5/5 Reviewed by Isabelle DARDINIER-Chateau de Belcastel on
Plan your visit to Belcastel, Midi-Pyrenees
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Jardin d'Eden du château du Colombier: remarkable garden (15km)
- Sauveterre-de-Rouergue: town of art and history (19km)
- Tindoul de la Vayssière: site of natural beauty (20km)
- Conques pont sur le Dourdou (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (24km)
- Conques: most beautiful village (24km)
- Conques abbatiale Sainte-Foy (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (24km)
- Villefranche-de-Rouergue: recommended detour (24km)
- Gorges de l'Aveyron: site of natural beauty (31km)
- Estaing pont sur le Lot (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (32km)
- Estaing: most beautiful village (32km)
The French version of this page is at Belcastel (Francais)