Dans Les Pas Des Dinosaures Adventure 1 Peyre Laetitia Raisin RobertDans Les Pas Des Dinosaures Adventure 1 Peyre Laetitia Raisin Robert
©Dans Les Pas Des Dinosaures Adventure 1 Peyre Laetitia Raisin Robert|Laetitia Raisin Robert

Oh! A dinosaur, a real one!

Time travel to the land of the dinosaurs and their world.

Dinosaurs fascinate young and old alike. Just 2 minutes from Millau, you can walk on their footprints in the heart of nature, imagine what life was like in those days, meet a dino and a real one, become an archaeologist and discover a treasure…

Discovery 2023 : The adventure continues!

Discovery 2023: The adventure continues! A major paleontological discovery has been unearthed at Thérondels (Peyre), like yet another Jurassic Parc sequel.

3 new theropod footprint surfaces have been added to the footprints already known on this site, just a few meters apart! Impressive, clearly visible footprints. From its Greek etymology, “theropod” means “feet of a beast”! Quite a foot… which could have done with a manicure given the lengths of the claws!!!

At least 3 families of dinosaurs passed through these surfaces. We knew that the country was a land of itinerancy, from shepherds and their flocks to hikers on the GR736… and now we discover that these little beasts were also in transit here! A wonderful discovery that completes the exploration to be read below…

Temporal rift?! Peyre vs Millau Viaduct

Since we’re about to take a trip back in time, let’s start with a trip to Peyre, one of France’s most beautiful villages. On one side, a semi-troglodytic village of pale stone houses, built into a tufa cliff inhabited since prehistoric times, above the emerald waters of the Tarn. On the other, the Millau Viaduct, the world’s tallest structure of the 21st century, an incredible technological feat.

A breathtaking view from Peyre! In both cases, it’s time to “wow” and stop and discover!

Did you know?
“Peyre” comes from the Occitan word for “stone”. A good mnemonic for spotting beautiful caussenard villages like Compeyre and its fleurine wine cellars, Peyreleau and its calades topped by the Tour de l’Horloge, Peyrelade and its perched medieval fortified castle. Discover these villages of character by strolling through their houses or on a guided tour.

“Peyre” comes from the Occitan word for “stone”. A good mnemonic for finding beautiful Causse villages like Compeyre and its wine cellars with fleurines, Peyreleau and its calades topped by the Tour de l’Horloge, Peyrelade and its perched medieval fortified castle. Villages of character to discover by strolling through the houses or on guided tours.Practical
To facilitate your discovery of Peyre and the continuation of your walk, park at the “parking haut”.

At the exit of Peyre, direction Thérondels, the road rises to the right to reach the top of the cliff in which the troglodytic houses are built.

From this parking lot, access to the village is signposted. Access to the dinosaur footprints is only 1km away by road.


Approach to the past

The path starts out amidst fields and a few stone farm buildings.
As we passed, we noticed the orchards trimmed like a French garden! It’s like one of Le Nôtre’s topiaries… the Aveyron version! Very amusing.

Let’s set off for a short country stroll, since the first tracks are only 400 meters away!
It’s springtime, and the lapping of a spring at the edge of the path accompanies us and refreshes the dog’s paws.

The route is pleasant for young and old

The best time
If the access is passable in any season, spring remains the best time, with its orchids, bellflowers… and the scents of wild thyme all along the trail.

Stromatolites as an appetizer

Let’s imagine. 200 million years ago, we’re wandering through a shallow swamp on the edge of the sea. Si si…

A small sign points us to stromatolites. Fortunately, otherwise we’d probably have walked over them without noticing! These sort of large rock bubbles are in fact the work of bacteria and marine algae that used to live here in community… #JeSuisStromatholithe! They’re among the earliest known forms of life on Earth.

We can’t say it’s spectacular, but rather astonishing and disconcerting!

Little ones build up a vision of the History of Life… and grown-ups revise their classics, or flesh out their general culture!

Dinosaur footprints

A few metres further on, under a tree, a large limestone slab. And here, 3 toes of a carnivorous dinosaur’s foot emerge. And then more tracks. Not easy to decipher at first glance! Explanations, diagrams… are grouped together on a panel at the edge of the path.

These are probably large dinos, carnivorous theropods of the Carnosaur family. They must have measured in at around 9 meters in length and nearly 4 meters in height.

“Remember Jurassic Park?” Let’s take 5mn to imagine a dinosaur tumbling down the ravine in front of you… The path isn’t wide enough for them and us and yet there they were

Slabs with dinosaur footprints are rare on a planetary scale. Here, the largest footprint measures 51cm long by 40cm wide, the largest known in the world of a tridactyl dinosaur!”

“The walk is great, instructive, fun and in the fresh air… as long as you let your imagination take you back in time.”

A cousin of T-Rex awaits us

For 200 million years, these dinosaur footprints have been there, right in front of our eyes!

A little game to really get a feel for the size of the beast’s foot! Pauline takes a piece of chalk and draws the outline of the footprints… Compared with our own feet, chills guaranteed!”

Don’t forget to erase your passage 😉

A little dinosaur quiz (on the explanatory panel) lets us test our knowledge as a family.
Dinosaurs fascinate young and old alike, but who knows them best?!

We also found a geocache, under a boulder at slab level, behind some pebbles, on the left as you climb the path. That one, the dinosaurs didn’t find!


Say hello to the plesiosaur

That’s not the only dinosaur we could have come across around Millau and on the limestone and clay Grands Causses.

An essential addition to our adventure: a visit to the paleontology area of the Millau Museum. Recently renovated, this space houses an incredible complete skeleton of a plesiosaur elasmosaur discovered not far from Millau, in the Cirque de Tournemire some 30 years ago.

Responding to the gentle name of Occitanosaurus Tournemirensis, this 4-meter-long marine dino lapped in the warm waters of the Tethys ocean that covered the region 180 million years ago.

With its very long neck (some had nearly 80 vertebrae!) and 4 flippers, it’s a mixture of sea serpent and mini T-Rex… Its reconstruction and presentation, in its simplest form – its bones – is impressive. It would appear that it fed only on small fish or molluscs. It’s up to you to decide whether your encounter with him will be frightening or touching!


Jurassic Park des Grands Causses

Around Millau and more particularly in the Tarn Valley, around Rivière-sur-Tarn, areas of gullied “black earth” stand out: these are marls, a natural mixture of clay and limestone, derived from deep sedimentary deposits in the Jurassic ocean.

These “elephant’s backs” are full of very well-preserved fossils, ammonites, wood

With bare hands or a small tool, we have fun scratching (with respect and delicacy all the same) these “black earths”. The treasure is there: ammonites, traces of marine animals, bones, fossilized wood… and a feeling of being Indiana Jones discovering the treasure.

With a bit of luck, we’ll find a dinosaur… ” Papi, it’ll be a Paulinosaurus!”


Near the Terres Noires of Rivière-sur-Tarn, the Piedestal de Fontaneilles hike offers exceptional panoramic views and landscape reading of the Tarn Valley and the Grands Causses.

It’s worth the detour
Near the Terres Noires of Rivière-sur-Tarn, the Piedestal de Fontaneilles hike offers an exceptional panorama and a reading of the landscapes of the Vallée du Tarn and the Grands Causses.


Continue the adventure