Peyre France, designated as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, is an enchanting village nestled in the heart of France’s stunning Aveyron region. With its picturesque stone houses clinging to the cliffside and commanding views over the Tarn River and the Millau Viaduct, Peyre is a hidden gem that effortlessly combines history, natural beauty, and timeless charm.
Heading north from Arles, we decided to head a little out of our way to see the Millau Viaduct, a must for bridge lovers, and landed in tranquil Peyre France for the night.
Here’s what we discovered.
1. Be Amazed By The Views Of The Millau Viaduct From Peyre
It’s hard to tear your eyes away from the Millau Viaduct, the architectural marvel that spans the Tarn Valley.
The Viaduc de Millau is the tallest bridge in the world standing at 1125 feet/ 343 metres. Let your eyes wander and discover its immense height. Or stand on the hill above the Viaduct where the paragliders sail from above the town of Millau. The Viaduc de Millau is impressive from all angles. As you drive across the 1.5 mile/ 2460 metre long bridge, it is hard to imagine just how high you really are.
Needless to say, from Peyre, the view is exceptional and photographers will love capturing the way the light falls on the steel cables and the surrounding hills. Peyre is about 5.5 miles/ 9km downstream from the Millau Viaduct.
Quick Facts About the Viaduc de Millau:
The Viaduc de Millau took three years to build and was inaugurated in 2014.
It was designed by the British architect Norman Foster and the French engineer Michel Virlogeux.
2. The Landscape Around Peyre France Is Breathtaking
Wandering along the narrow streets of Peyre France it is hard not to be captivated by the beautiful Tarn Valley. The river sparkles, birds soar, and the surrounding hills are lush and green in June. It is no surprise that Peyre is located in the stunning Regional Natural Park of the Grands Causses.
Quick Facts About The Regional Natural Park of the Grands Causses:
The Parc Naturel Régional des Grands Causses is a protected area in the south of France that is approximately 386 square miles/1000 square km.
The Grands Causses is known for its beautiful landscapes of forests, cliffs, lakes, and rivers.
This regional park Is a great place to plan camping and hiking adventures in France.
3. Peyre France: A Village Carved Into The Stone Cliff
It’s hard to imagine what prompted people to carve their homes into a rock cliff. But off the beaten path Peyre bears testament to ancient cave dwellings and modern-day homes clinging to a cliffside. I’ve seen this once before in France at Le Roque-Gageac in the Dordogne Valley and it truly is impressive.
Wander through Peyre’s charming streets past quaint stone houses adorned with vibrant flower boxes, cats lazing in the sunshine, and awe-inspiring panoramic views.
4. The Troglodyte Church: St Christofol de Peyre
It’s a must to enter the Troglodyte Church in Peyre France with its remarkable location under a rocky overhang. Today St Christofol de Peyre is empty, hosting exhibitions from time to time, but it is easy to imagine a time when it was filled with worshippers.
Up until the end of the 17th century, the Church at Peyre served as a fortification to protect its population. The entranceway and the bell tower were key points in the defence. The bell tower played its role as a defensive tower providing a sightline to approaching enemies and the place from which cannon fire was launched.
According to the sign posted in front of the church, legend has it that when the village came under attack the inhabitants could make their way to the church by a series of passages from one house to another.
5. Wander To The Tarn River By Peyre France
There is a small beach on the bank of the Tarn River where locals swim and kayak. Follow the road out of Peyre towards Millau and you’ll see the right turn. Cross the railway tracks and here you will find superb views of Peyre nestled into the rock face.
6. What To Expect In Peyre France
A visit to Peyre is about tranquillity, landscapes, and views. There are no boutiques, no tourist trinkets, and no cars. How refreshing! A quick walk through Peyre doesn’t take too long but staying the night afforded a glimpse into how the locals live in an ancient village carved out of a cliff.
7. Where To Stay In Peyre France
Les Roches, Comprégnac (which is Peyre): This charming host family has beautiful rooms with a balcony offering views over the Tarn and the Millau Viaduct. Breakfast was just perfect.
Millau France: Or stay nearby in the city of Millau
8. Where To Eat In Peyre France
There are no restaurants providing dinner service in Peyre, France. Hop in the car and drive to Millau. Our hosts recommended Au Jeu de Paume and La Mangeoire. We made a reservation at Au Jeu de Paume and had a fabulous meal. Being in Aveyron, it was no surprise that my dinner came with aligot. It was my first time tasting the delectable buttery whipped potatoes with oodles of melted cheese.
Please Note: There is a café in Peyre with a terrace. Only open in peak season, the hours are rather sporadic. Don’t count on having a coffee here but if you happen by and it’s open, stay a while and enjoy the views!
9. Travel Tip: Do Not Drive Into Peyre France
We were following Waze and Google Maps right to our hotel door. Or so we thought. In Peyre, GPS just gets you into trouble. We managed to wedge our vehicle between a house and a rock face. A rock wall on the driver’s side and a house on the passenger side. True story. Luckily a local helped us back up. It was a little touch-and-go!
As you approach Peyre along the D41 from the east, free parking for Peyre is in the parking lot by the Church of Saint Christopher. From there it is a short walk to your hotel or to explore the village.
There are no cars in Peyre France and that is one of its charms!
For Viaduct Lovers
If you’re planning a road trip in this area, a short 90 minutes from Peyre is the 19th-century viaduct built by Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame! If you love bridges, this makes a great stop. The best view of the Viaduc de Garabit is from the service centre, Aire de Service Viaduc Garabit Eiffel. Stand and admire the red railway bridge, still in operation today, that spans the Gorges of the River Truyére. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to see a train pass by or time your visit for the nighttime illumination.
I hope you love discovering Peyre France as much as I did.
Until next time,
More Travel Info
Further Reading About France:
Here are all my articles about visiting different regions of France.
If you are interested in Normandy, there are plenty of Normandy tips here.
And if you want to explore Provence, here is a 7-day itinerary.
Is Brittany on your travel bucket list? Here are 13 Reasons to Fall in Love with Brittany
How about visiting the delightful villages of the Dordogne Valley?
The Loire Valley in France is dotted with magnificent châteaux (castles). Chaumont-sur-Loire is a great one to add to your itinerary.
Love quaint, medieval towns? How about visiting Bormes les Mimosas on the French Riviera?