Visit Espalion (Midi-Pyrenees, France)
Espalion is 30km north-east of Rodez in the Aveyron department of France, on the banks of the Lot River and set in attractive countryside between the two classified 'most beautiful villages' of Estaing and Saint-Come d'Olt.
Start your visit to Espalion at the lovely old stone bridge over the River Lot, which is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Pilgrim Way to Santiago de Compostela (Espalion sits on the GR65 pilgrim route that startes from Puy-en-Velay).The original bridge dates from the 14th century, although it was enlarged in the 17th century, and the three towers that originally stood on the bridge were removed in the 18th century.
You will find Espalion tourist office close to the northern end of the old bridge.
The substantial old building on the river bank just along from the bridge, with a round tower facing the waterfront and decorative window surrounds, is the 16th century 'Old palace'.
Along the river bank there are also some very picturesque old tanneries, dating from the time when the leather trade was a major industry in Espalion, at the beginning of the 20th Century.In all there are about 20 of them on the right bank of the river and each tannery is equipped with a wide stone ledge for washing the hides.
Also to see are a Romanesque church and the Chapel of the Peninents - the small 18th century baroque chapel (open easter to october) has a lovely altarpiece.
On the Place du Puits is the 16th century house (with a round tower on the left) which is the birthplace of Pierre Assézat who subsequently became a rich merchant and built the elegant renaissance Mansion Assézat in Toulouse.
There is also a diving museum (Musee du Scaphandre) in Espalion dedicated in particular to the invention of the first aqualung by Rouquayrol and Denayrouze both natives of Aveyron.
To see near Espalion
This is one of our favourite regions of France, both for the small towns and villages such as Conques and Belcastel and the scenic countryside - see some of the highlights of our most recent trip at exploring the Lot Valley.
Photos taken within 10 km
Address: Espalion, Rodez, Aveyron, Midi-Pyrenees, 12500 || GPS: latitude 44.52056, longitude 2.76139
Map of Espalion & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Espalion, France
- Espalion Pont Vieux (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site
- Saint-Come-d'Olt - most beautiful village (4km)
- Estaing pont sur le Lot (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (8km)
- Estaing - most beautiful village (8km)
- St Chely d'Aubrac pont des pèlerins (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (15km)
- Sainte-Eulalie-d'Olt - most beautiful village (16km)
- Jardin d'Eden du château du Colombier - remarkable garden (22km)
- Cascade du Déroc - site of natural beauty (28km)
- Conques abbatiale Sainte-Foy (monuments on French pilgrim routes) - heritage site (30km)
- Conques - most beautiful village (30km)
Market days in Espalion: Regular market(s) are held in Espalion each Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Espalion (Francais)