Some of my first memories in France were with my family. My mother being born in France, and grandparents coming from different parts of the country, has led to some fond times traveling back to their home. I visited Villefranche-de-Rouergue when I was 13 years old with my grandparents to visit my grandmother's mother who was living there at the time. I remember walking to the square, being amazed by the beautiful door of the church, and enjoying a soda overlooking the historic buildings.
Coming back this time with my mom and grandmother at the age of 26, I was very excited to see it with new eyes. The region is in the Aveyron department, an area known for the great outdoors, quaint villages along the river, and iconic farmer's markets. The more known city is Najac and has been noted as one of the prettiest places in France. A few more stops up the train line, is Villefranche-de-Rouergue a smaller and historic town. It's one of those places to add to this list and especially for the Thursday market.
What to Know Before Visiting Villefranche-de-Rouergue, France:
- The entire town is walkable.
- Trains depart via the TER regional train from stations like Toulouse.
- Be sure to get a room with AC as the summer can be very hot.
- For those looking to stay outside of town, be sure to rent a car ahead of time.
- 1-2 nights here is plenty to see the town.
Where to Stay in Villefranche-de-Rouergue, France:
- Le Relais de Farou: An icon of the area, this is a great choice for those looking for a quaint and comfortable stay.
Where to Eat in Villefranche-de-Rouergue, France:
- Univers: It's no secret that this is the star of the show in Villefranche-de-Rouergue after the chef was on Top Chef. The restaurant upstairs is wonderful and a must-do while in town (only dinner). During the day, the downstairs restaurant is open for lunch with a pre-fix menu.
- L'Épicurien: A great option for a good meal with seasonal cuisine.
- Relais de Farrou: Just outside of town is this icon, somewhere my mom grew up eating at and is still open today! The pre-fix menu is wonderful and one of the best meals I've had in France.
- The Assiette Gourmand: A correct, no-thrills meal in town for those looking to try regional food.
What to Do in Villefranche-de-Rouergue, France:
- The Thursday farmer's market is a must visit and be sure to grab a basket to pick up essentials for a lunch.
- Walk through the center of town, stop by the church and take a guided tour to the top.
- Rent bikes and ride along the river.
- Take a day trip to Najac to see the town.
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