Rando Aerienne Villages Troglodytiques Aventure 1 Gorges Du Tarn Laetitia Raisin RobertRando Aerienne Villages Troglodytiques Aventure 1 Gorges Du Tarn Laetitia Raisin Robert
©Rando Aerienne Villages Troglodytiques Aventure 1 Gorges Du Tarn Laetitia Raisin Robert|Laetitia Raisin Robert

Aerial hike to the troglodyte villages of the Gorges du Tarn

A spectacular hiking route

Spectacular hiking itinerary to the troglodyte villages of the Gorges du Tarn

Liaucous, a village of character... and charm

Get to Liaucous, a jewel of Caussenarde architecture. This little village charms from the very first second, with its houses all in stone and vaulted ceilings, clinging to the side of the Causse de Sauveterre, at the foot of a “forest of stones”

The hike gets off to a good start in Liaucous’s little calade lanes, like a stroll in the footsteps of our ancestors taking this “trail to the end of the world” to the troglodyte villages, way up there…

Two options: follow the signposts in the village or “let go” and wander at random through this labyrinth of lanes, porches, staircases…

Luzes roofs
Look closely at the traditional roofs of houses, bread ovens… The limestone lauzes here are very thick (1.5 to 4cm), hand-cut one to the other like a jigsaw puzzle, and often simply laid and arranged. A masterpiece of craftsmanship!

On the trail to the end of the world

The path is narrow, just room enough for a man or a mule. It slopes gently down the hillside towards the Gorges du Tarn.

Here and there, low stone walls appear beneath oaks, pines, boxwoods…. These are the remains of “bancels”, terraced cultivation. Just imagine, 1 century ago: all this sunny slope covered with crops, especially vines, and peasants on every level of the terraces. Quite disconcerting, isn’t it!

Following these low walls, the walk goes back in time… and little by little, the slope brings us closer to the cliffs!

The first views of the Gorges du Tarn and the cliffs of the Causse Méjean (opposite) are impressive.

On these well-exposed low walls, protected from the wind, the green lizard loves to sunbathe on a flat stone. The brightness of its colors is always surprising!
A little trick to recognize Mr. and Mrs.: the male has a turquoise-blue throat.
The green lizard is protected in France: we observe it but leave it alone 😉

Assaulting the rock fortress

The scenery is gradually changing. The vegetation is thinning out and the cliffs of the Causse de Sauveterre now appear like a rampart above the Gorges du Tarn moat.

Your turn, ours to play! Who’s standing guard? What do you see? A tower, a guard, a battlements… a hen, a mushroom, a face… The rocks, sculpted by erosion, take fantastic breaks and often play with light and shadow.

Let your imagination run wild and feel free to play and share your discoveries with the family. It’s called pareidolia.
The trail climbs towards the cliffs and offers vertiginous passages.

Theaters of light and shadow

The Grands Causses are home to many fantastic… and rocky creatures! You too can play at finding these stone creatures in this Giant Theater of Shadows and Lights…

Eglazines, troglodyte village

At the bend in the path, at the foot of a huge cliff: Eglazines, the first troglodyte village.

A small spring provides a pleasant and well-deserved cool break on this itinerary!

The inhabitants have deserted the area, but the houses are still there, as are the terraces that seem to cascade down to the Tarn.

Who would live here today? Year-round, hard to say, but for a weekend, to recharge your batteries, certainly!”

Facing due south and clinging to the cliff, the little semi-troglodytic houses of Eglazines exude warmth and serenity. And what can we say about the breathtaking panorama over the Gorges du Tarn!


Did you know? It’s said that the last inhabitant still lived here in the 70s. In her old age, she communicated with her daughter in the gorge by hanging a white tea towel in her window: the signal that she needed something.

The vertigo of the Cirque de St-Marcellin

The hike continues with the crossing of the Cirque rocheux de Saint-Marcellin. Spectacular! The cornice passage is vertiginous between the high cliffs sculpted by Mother Nature and the depths of the Gorges du Tarn.

It makes you feel very small! Take time to contemplate this fascinating landscape and watch griffon vultures, turkey vultures, lammergeiers… cruising through the air. The chirping of chickadees, nightingales, goldfinches… echoes through the Cirque. The echo of the Cuckoo’s song accompanies your footsteps.

At the very bottom, on the banks of the Tarn River, you can make out the hamlet of La Sablière, also inaccessible by road! Access is via the river, which you have to cross on foot, by swimming or by boat to reach the rocky outcrop that houses the hamlet!


Thanks to 2 reintroductions in the 90s, vultures are once again flying over the Grands Causses and Gorges. There are almost 2000 of these scavengers, Nature’s cleaners.

  • Warbler vulture, (the most common with 800 pairs), up to 2.70m wingspan
  • Monk vulture, up to 3m wingspan (one of Europe’s largest raptors), it’s Lucky Luke’s vulture
  • Percnoptera, small white vulture, 1.60m wingspan, very rare (2 pairs)
  • Bearded vulture, the “bone breaker”, up to 2.90m wingspan, very rare (3 pairs, reintroduction in progress)

Saint-Marcellin, troglodyte village

The history of this hamlet can be discovered in reverse:

  • at the entrance, a tiny cemetery and a stele indicating 1927.
  • then we walk past semi-troglodytic houses and a small chapel.
  • hanging into the cliff, the troglodytic castle, a refuge for the inhabitants.
  • finally, the spring, undoubtedly the origin of the village’s settlement.

Here too, the inhabitants have left, but recent renovations give the impression of a living village… but taking a siesta! The impression of being at the end of the world is no exaggeration!

The bread oven bears the marks of recent use. The patios are planted with flowers (naturally) and welcome hikers.
In front of the chapel, the panorama is striking over the Gorges du Tarn and the Causse Méjean. It’s easy to understand why Saint-Marcellin was the site of numerous pilgrimages, often invoking rain and protection against crop and human disease…

What a feeling of freedom!”

Cardabelle, symbol of the Grands Causses
At Saint-Marcellin, as just about everywhere else in the surrounding area, you’ll find strange suns nailed to doors. These are the acanthus-leaved Carline, commonly known as Cardabelle.

This plant, a symbol of the Grands Causses,

  • is an incredible barometer: it closes with humidity and therefore rain, and opens with sunshine and warmth
  • protects against evil spells and welcomes visitors
  • was used to card wool from sheep
  • was sometimes eaten (its heart), like an artichoke
    Beware, this plant is protected.

Local picnic

The hamlet of Saint-Marcellin is ideal for picnics. This is where we stop.

The patios of the houses provide some shade. The spring flows by the side of the path. The view is breathtaking… but not the hunger!
Aveyron is gourmet and close to its producers. “Eating well” is an integral part of “living well”!

Here’s an example of a special hiking picnic that’s 100% local:

  1. farçous (galette de verts de légumes +/- hash)
  2. dried sausage with Roquefort
  3. ewe’s apple
  4. fouace or spit-roasted cake
  5. cherry nectar from Maison de la Cerise
  6. local beers (in moderation)

Here we are, well rested and invigorated!

Did you know?
You can order your 100% Millau Style hiking picnic directly from Millau Tourist Office.


Siesta at the Fontaine des Paillasses

After the comfort, the effort?!

Direction to the Corniches du Causse de Sauveterre, 1 floor above, on the cliffs. The climb is a little steep (especially after digestion) but well worth it for the splendid panoramas it offers over the Gorges du Tarn.

On the Causse, the scenery changes completely. Pine or deciduous forests alternate with areas of grassy “steppes”. This is the paradise of orchids, asters, anemones… of Nature!”

After effort, comfort!”

A baume bâtie (baume = natural rock cavity), a wooded clearing, a small spring gushing from the rock, restful silence… the perfect place for a little country siesta!

La Fontaine des Paillasses is a genuine Caussen oasis, full of charm and surprises, created by our ancestors.

If you’re lucky, you’ll come across a mouflon.

Did you know?

Mouflons have long been hunted and then poached. Today, they live peacefully on the Sauveterre and Méjean Causses. The mouflon is very difficult to observe, discreet and not very visible in the wild. Be patient and prefer dawn and dusk to observe it.




When hiking meets via-ferrata

Unusual tour: the Tabulaires

Also known as prehistoric mushrooms, these rock giants are just incredible!
While these tabular rocks must once have served as rock shelters for men and herds, today they’re an exceptional playground for all budding onlookers!
Climb over them, enjoy the panorama, beat the record for the round the foot, pretend you’re a Smurf, take the funniest selfie of the moment…

The 1.3km detour is a must, especially as the walking is without great difficulty.

When the hike crosses the via-ferrata

The scenery changes again for the return to Liaucous. The path winds its way through an almost invisible fault, wooded and rocky. The descent is steep and fast. Take care at the end of the hike. The path leads to the Liaucous via-ferrata – a different, more vertical way of hiking! In fact, we’re crossing the “stone forest” we’d admired at the start, against the backdrop of the village of Liaucous.

Practical information

Starting point: via ferrata parking lot, on top of the village of Liaucous.