One of the most fascinating places I’ve ever seen is the tiny village of Peyrusse le Roc. It’s the adventure we remember as kids, scrambling thru the woods pretending to be in an abandoned castle. Except this is the real thing along with an entire village, all mysterious and hidden in the trees on the hillside and stretching all the way down to the valley floor. It is remarkable, completely accessible and that is actually part of the problem. It is suffering from neglect, making you wonder if there will be anything left in the future. There are restoration efforts underway at the edge of the newer village at the top of the hill but the site is vast, it will be tough to save it all.
We stayed in Belcastel, another gem in the Aveyron region of France. As out of the way as Belcastel is, this is far more remote and no one seems to visit, or very few. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon following trails from one surprise to the next and didn’t run into another soul. We heard voices once in a while somewhere nearby, but that may have been our imagination.
It’s a bit erie, dark shadows across the mossy trails, a heavy mist in the air as you descend to the 12th century hospital or ancient king’s tomb or the ruins of a once massive church, Notre Dame de Laval. At the bottom is a very old stone bridge crossing a rushing stream and the trail continues off into the darkening forest – just like in a great novel…
Can’t wait to get back there again!