Brousse-le-Chateau, Midi-Pyrenees: tourism & sightseeing
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Brousse-le-Chateau is a small village in the Aveyron department of southern France, set in an idyllic and peaceful location on the banks of the Tarn and Alrance Rivers.
It is classified as one of the 'most beautiful villages in France' and falls within the boundaries of the Regional Natural Park of the Grands Causses just at the point that the landscape changes from gently rolling countryside to steep forested slopes.
France This Way comment: Brousse-le-Chateau is a small village and the roads to get here are rather slow, but don't be deterred because a visit to this unspoiled gem is highly recommended.
You are not going to get lost in the old centre of Brousse-le-Chateau! There is one street that runs along the bottom of the village next to the small river, a small bridge across the river, and then a cluster of houses along the cobbled streets that lead to the castle! The main street has some old stone houses and a Logis restaurant and is a perfect place to stop for lunch.
Pause for a moment to admire the ancient stone bridge across the Alrance River, built in the 15th century in the roman style (that is, the arch of the bridge is round not pointed) to replace an older bridge. Originally this bridge provided the only access to Brousse-le-Chateau, but there are now also two newer alternatives in the village.
The houses running up the hill from the bridge are lovely stone cottages mostly dating from the 17th and 18th centuries (although I would have guesed they were older), often with traditional stone roofs and chimneys, and the setting is perfect with the village having a scenic backdrop of wooded hills and very little clue that much has changed here in recent centuries.
Note that the paths are rather steep, cobbled and not very well maintained, so exploring Brousse-le-Chateau might be a problem for wheelchair users.
Apart from the pleasures of simply strolling up the cobbled streets through the village there are also two important highlights to discover: the Chateau de Brousse and the 15th century fortified gothic style Church of Saint-Cirice.
The castle which gives its name to Brousse-le-Chateau stands firmly on a rocky spine above the village and river below. The castle* dates from the 13th - 15th centuries, and is a good example of French medieval castle architecture, with the towers and original castle ramparts still keeping watch on the village as they have for more than 600 years. There is also a nicely maintained castle garden.
* There are a few medieval castles in France that really seem to belong in their setting (Chateau de Bonaguil, Tours de Merle, the cathar castles and perhaps Chateau Gaillard are other examples) - and the castle at Brousse le Chateau falls within this select group.
After visiting the castle be sure to stroll back down to the village, then perhaps head to the broader Tarn river on the edge of the village for a picnic or for the children to have a paddle.
Generally speaking this part of Aveyron is visited by those who appreciate quiet countryside and scenery, perhaps exploring by bike. Other villages of interest in the area include Castelnau-Pégayrols, Montjaux, Verrières and others: each is small and doesn't take long to visit but merits a pause when you are passing.
To the east of Brousse-le-Chateau you can explore the lovely landscapes of the Regional Natural Park of the Grands Causses, with villages such as Peyre and Belmont-sur-Rance, while to the east you can visit traditional French towns such as Sauveterre-de-Rouergue.
Photos of Brousse-le-Chateau
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Map of Brousse-le-Chateau and places to visit
Visit near Brousse-le-Chateau with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Aveyron
Brousse-le-Chateau is classified as a one of the most beautiful village in France (plus beau villages)
Address: Brousse-le-Château, Saint-Rome-de-Tarn, Millau, Aveyron, Midi-Pyrenees, 12480, France || GPS: latitude 43.998333, longitude 2.625833
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Eglise de Saint-Cirice (Brousse-le-Chateau): religious monument
- Grands Causses: regional natural parc (29km)
- Peyre: most beautiful village (32km)
- Abbaye de Sylvanès (Sylvanes): religious monument (32km)
- Sauveterre-de-Rouergue: town of art and history (35km)
The French version of this page is at Brousse-le-Chateau (Francais)