Roquefort in Aveyron, located at the bottom of the rock of Combalou and registered as Site Remarquable du Goût, is an unique village. Here, and only here, at the depths of the caves, the famous Roquefort cheese, First Appelation of Origin, is ripened.
Roquefort is located in the Grands Causses Regional Natural Park. It is a village of 679 souls, and the altitude is 630metres -2066ft-. The cheese city clings precariously to the side of the Combalou Rock in the South of Larzac.
Even if Roquefort seems to be peaceful, it is also an industrial village where about a thousand people work to ripen the famous Roquefort cheese. The tradition dates back to a thousand years, and this secret is kept at the depths of its natural caves. Those caves are directly laid out in the slide rock of Combalou and measure 2km -1.24mi- long and 300m -984ft- wide
Laid out with overlaid levels, the caves are ventilated by faults called fleurines which keep up all year around a constant temperature between 8°C -46,4F- and 10°C -50F-, and a hygrometry of 95% thanks to water seepage caused by the rock slide. Roquefort breads slowly ripen in this natural environment made of stones and wood. You can visit the ripening caves all year long in order to discover the world of the mysterious King of the Cheeses.
Open: daily. Closed: 25th December and 1st January
* Last admission / possible change of opening times
Groups only on reservation (+ than 10 people)
Avenue François Galtier
Phone number: 05.65.58.54.38 - Fax : 05.65.58.57.17
November to March : 10am - 12pm* and 1.30pm - 4.30pm*
April / May / June / September / October : 9.30am - 12pm* and 1pm - 5pm*
July: 9.30am to 6pm*
August : 9.30am to 6.30pm*
The guided tour of the ripening caves in activity lasts for around an hour. Various activities are proposed all course long: animated scale model with sound and light on the legend and way in a museum with famous Roquefort characters. A free tasting is given at the end of the visit. There is also a shop at the end of the visit.
: the visit course is partly open only on reservation.
8 bis, avenue de Lauras,
Phone number: 05.65.58.50.08 - Fax : 05.65.58.50.31
October to March : 9.30am - 11.30am* et 1.30pm - 4.30pm*
April / May / June / September : 9.30am - 11.30am* and 1.30pm - 5.30pm*
July / August : 9.30am - 6.30pm
Free guided tour of their ripening caves in activity. The visit begins with a film about the making from 1927 to nowadays. Then a guide takes over to lead you to the heart of the caves walking under a fleurine. Tasting and sale at the end of the visit.
5-7, av.de Lauras,
Phone number: 05 65 59 24 27 - Fax : 05.65.59.96.60
January: week-end only from 9.30am to 11.50am and 1.30pm to 4.50pm
October to March: 9.30am -11.50am and 1.30pm to 4.50pm
April: 9.30am -11.50am and 1.30pm to 5.50pm
May / June / September: 9.30am to 5.50pm
July / August: 9.30am - 6.50pm
Free visit with free admission in a cave recreated inside an old salting-tub. A documentary film relates the story of the Coulet family and the making process. Tasting and sale at the end of the visit.
Visit of caves
When you come for a walk through the village, do not hesitate to visit the seven makers in their shops. They really enjoy their job and will be happy to give you some advice and to help you to choose the Roquefort you like. If you feel like it, you can take back some souvenirs!
8 bis, avenue de Lauras
Tel.: 05.65.58.50.08 - Fax : 05.65.58.50.31
Open: daily (25th December and 1st January)
October to March: 9.30am - 12.30pm and 1.30pm - 5.30pm
April / May / June / September: 9.30am - 12.30pm and 1.30pm - 6.30pm
July / August: 9.30am to 7.30pm
Rue de la Créance
Tel.: 05.65.58.54.37 - Fax : 05 65 58 57 17
Open: daily (except 25th December and 1st January)
All year long: 9.30am - 12pm and 1.30pm - 5pm
July / August: 9.30am to 7pm
Lauras ZA de Lauras, route de Tiergues
Tel.: 05.65.59.90.23 - Fax : 05.65.59.92.45
Open from Monday to Friday: 8.15am - 5.30pm (Friday: 4.30pm)
6, Avenue de Lauras
Tel.: 05.65.59.90.28 - Fax : 05.65.59.94.44
Open from Monday to Friday : 8.15am - 12pm and 1.15pm - 4.30pm
Combes "Le Vieux Berger"
Av du Combalou
Tel.: 05.65.59.91.48 - Fax : 05.65.59.96.90
Open from Monday to Friday: 8am - 12pm
and 1.15pm - 4.30pm
5-7 av.de Lauras
Tel.: 05.65.59.24.27 - Fax : 05.65.59.96.60
Open: daily (except 25th December and 1st January)
October to March: 9.30am -12.30pm and 1.30pm – 5.30pm
April: 9.30am -12.30pm and 1.30pm – 6.30pm
May / June / September: 9.30am – 6.30pm
July / August: 9am - 7.30pm
Les Fromageries Occitanes
Tel.: 05.65.59.90.34 - Fax : 05.65.59.98.06
Open from Monday to Friday 8am - 12pm and 2pm - 5.30pm
1 – In front of the car park Tourism Information Office, walk up on a path along the cemetery. When you reach a tarmac road, turn on the right then on the left following the switchback road (pass the “Le Vieux Berger” business on the right). After 300m -984ft-, turn on the left to reach a house and a waterspout of drinking water.
2 – Take the little path going up on the right (on the left if you come from Tournemire) to the Combalou plateau. On the right, you can see the rock slide. Turn on the left and follow the path going up to the spring of the Aucelos (name of birds). Go on straight ahead to the Combalou plateau, and climb up the two ladders. When you reach the plateau, go between the sheepfold and the edge of the plateau. Go along the cliff and take the path in the pine forest. Then, go on following the marking. Turn on the left and start to go down.
3 – At the col des Aiguières (pass of the Aiguières), follow the direction to Roquefort going on straight ahead to the « Sotch de Balhols » (big fault), and go down to chapelle Saint-Pierre. You can go up the stairs on the left to the viewpoint indicator. At the pass, you can join Tournemire crossing the road: see option n°1 of the Trompette path. Go down the street of Créance to the Baragnaudes plaza. Go on in the street of the Baragnaudes which go up in front, and follow the direction of the Quilles (vertical monolith) of Baragnaudes. Pass in front of the Quilles, go along the cliff, and go down the stairs.
4 - Down the stairs, turn on the right, and immediately on the left to pass under a porch. You get the Avenue de Lauras which will lead you to your starting point: the Tourist Information Office.
When you go out from the Tourism Information Office, turn on the right and go along the Conteynes’ wood to the waterspout of drinking water. Turn on the right and take a little path. Then, cross the housing estate by following the tarmac road. Go on straight ahead to a big white and green building. Leave it on your right, and take on the left a shadowed path, behind the workshop of the municipality. At the end of this path, go down on the left to the crossroad with a larger path, and turn on the left to the double bends. Before crossing the river using the footbridge, you can go back and forth to the menhir downstream. Go along the river on the bank opposite to the menhir to join the second footbridge. Cross again the river. After 300m -984ft- and a little ascent, turn on the left to get to the road. Cross it to take a path going up to the Tourism Information Office and throughout the Conteynes' wood.
Starting from Tournemire railway station, go to the tennis court. Cross « the Soulzon » beck and turn on the right. You can follow the marked track. Turn on the left after the wastewater treatment plant, then on the right before the small house. After 50m -164ft-, on the left, leave the uphill path, and follow the direction to Roquefort by the Bousquet farm. After having crossed the wood, you can go to the deserted Bousquet Bas farm (ancient reinforced farm). Then, go back on the initial track. Reach the D93 road and go up over around 300m -984ft-. From this point, two possibilities:
Option 1: back to Tournemire. On the left, go into a box-tree forest to go down to the village of Tournemire. When you arrive down below, turn on the right to reach the railway station.
Option 2: the Ladders Path and back to Tournemire. Across the road, on the right, walk up on a twisting path over 200m -656ft- to the Ladders Path. Then, see paragraph 3 of the “Ladders Path” description. After the quilles (vertical monolith) of Baragnaudes, turn on the left to go up the stairs to the waterspout of drinking water. Then see paragraph 2 of the “Ladders Path” description. Then reach the D93 road and see the option n°1 of the Trumpet path description.
INFORM SOMEBODY BEFORE LEAVING
Do not forget to inform somebody when you decide to go for a walk. Tell the person where you want to go and what time you plan to come back. Make sure weather conditions are favourable.
HAVE A GOOD EQUIPEMENT
Put on appropriate shoes. Your shoes must support your ankles to ovoid sprains. Take warm clothes with you; you might be surprised by the fresh evening air, even in summer!
RESPECT THE PLACE
Do not step back from the marked track when you cross private properties. Do not build fire, do not throw waste and do not camp out. Please respect wildlife, animals and cultures. Thank you… and have a good walk!