La Couvertoirade – The Most Beautiful Villages in France 2023 No.11 -★★★★☆ (revisited)

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Date and Time (Original) – 2023:08:03 14:41:33

On this day, I didn’t have many plans in advance and was mainly thinking about traveling. However, since I still had plenty of time before heading to my lodging in Nîmes in the south of France, I decided to make a detour to a village called La Couvertoirade, which was nearby on the way. I had visited this village once in 2010 when I first started touring the most beautiful villages of France.

Découvrez La Couvertoirade (Aveyron), Plus Beaux Villages de France
Découvrez La Couvertoirade (Aveyron) village fortifié du Larzac fondé par les Templiers et les Hospitaliers : histoire, patrimoine, lieux de visite incontournab...

Back then, it was still the end of April and I visited relatively early in the morning, so I remember there being hardly any tourists in the village. The parking situation was also not as developed at the time, and I was able to park right by the entrance wall of the village. However, this time it was quite different. First of all, there was a rather large paid parking area (around 3 euros). This parking lot was somewhat distant from the village, and regular vehicles couldn’t get any closer, so we had to walk from the parking lot to the village, even if it was just for about two minutes.

While the village felt quite different from before, I realized again that it’s a good thing for the economy of such beautiful villages to thrive. Certainly, being able to tour such a beautiful village in a very quiet environment 10 years ago was a precious opportunity. But at the same time, I felt somewhat conflicted because back then, I simply parked my car somewhere nearby and strolled around without actually spending any money in the village. Therefore, I genuinely want to rejoice in the fact that there is now an opportunity to contribute economically. Still, there were indeed many people.

As I passed through the walls into the village, there were indeed many people. I felt there were more souvenir shops and restaurants than before, but the scenery was just as beautiful as I remembered from the old days.

For a detailed description of the village, please refer to the information below.

La Couvertoirade is a small medieval village located in the Aveyron department of southern France. Here’s a detailed overview of this picturesque village:

  1. Historical Significance:
    • Knights Templar: The history of La Couvertoirade is closely tied with the Knights Templar, a medieval Christian military order. In the 12th century, they established a fortress here, which later passed to another Christian military order, the Knights Hospitaller, after the dissolution of the Templars in the early 14th century.
    • Medieval Architecture: The village has preserved much of its medieval architecture. As you walk through its streets, you’ll encounter stone houses, defensive walls, and towers that offer a glimpse into the past.
  2. Geography:
    • Location: La Couvertoirade is situated on the Larzac plateau, which is part of the Massif Central, a highland region in south-central France. The village’s remote location played a role in preserving its historical charm.
  3. Tourist Attractions:
    • Defensive Walls: One of the most striking features of La Couvertoirade is its well-preserved ramparts, which encircle the village.
    • Castle: The castle, initially established by the Knights Templar and later expanded by the Knights Hospitaller, stands as a testament to the village’s historical importance.
    • Sainte-Catherine Church: A noteworthy religious structure within the village.
    • Artisan Shops: As you explore the cobbled streets, you’ll come across various artisan shops selling local crafts, foods, and souvenirs.
    • Surrounding Landscape: The natural beauty of the Larzac plateau enhances the village’s charm, offering opportunities for hiking and exploring the picturesque French countryside.
  4. Preservation:
    • Listed Village: Due to its historical and architectural significance, La Couvertoirade is listed as one of the “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France” (The Most Beautiful Villages of France), a distinction given to the most picturesque and culturally significant villages in the country.
  5. Getting There:
    • While La Couvertoirade is somewhat remote, it’s accessible by car. If you’re planning a trip, it’s best to check the routes and transportation options ahead of time.

In summary, La Couvertoirade is a living testament to France’s medieval history, offering visitors a chance to step back in time and immerse themselves in a rich tapestry of history and culture, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Aveyron landscape.