Hiking in Balsac: a stone’s throw from Rodez, a tame wild

A very “natural” hike through the forest, between Causse and Rougier and in the middle of the vineyards. Three hour walk without much difficulty (10 km, 350 m cumulative elevation gain), but not recommended for small children and provided you go with good shoes. All this thanks to the good advice of the topo guides from the Aveyron hiking committee.

Balsac, the starting point of this hike, has the double advantage of being not far from Rodez and at the end of the world… “Married” in 2017 to the town of Druelle, the village overlooks the Vallon, at the junction of a road leading to Bruéjoules. Almost a dead end. An oasis of peace in lush greenery with its small church planted in the middle.

A 10 km walk for three hours, in the undergrowth of the Cirque du Sauvage.
Aveyron Press Center

It is precisely from this Gothic-style building (1) that the “Cirque du Sauvage” walk begins. Very quickly after crossing the old school to the south, you are already in full nature. We follow the yellow markings – always very visible during the whole trip! – which takes us to the left along a small road before we go down a rather steep path.

In gray weather or under the sun, the hike

In gray weather or under the sun, the “Cirque du Sauvage” hike, which departs from Balsac, a stone’s throw from Rodez, offers a real breath of fresh air and nature, out of time.
Aveyron Press Center – Victor Pons

Between stones and red soil typical of Vallon – the famous red rock that owes its color to iron oxide – the path, sometimes narrow and furrowed by time, can be slippery. Not recommended for small children and reserved for the most experienced mountain bikers.

In gray weather or under the sun, the hike

In gray weather or under the sun, the “Cirque du Sauvage” hike, which departs from Balsac, a stone’s throw from Rodez, offers a real breath of fresh air and nature, out of time.
Aveyron Press Center – Victor Pons

Several stops allow you to admire the famous circus, drowned in the vegetation, before continuing to the left along a well-paved and more passable path (2), in the shade of the tall trees that will make you appreciate on this hike, even under a scorching sun.

The Prieuré du Sauvage, a unique site founded in 1200, has regained its splendor thanks to work begun in 1995.

The Prieuré du Sauvage, a unique site founded in 1200, has regained its splendor thanks to work begun in 1995.
Aveyron Press Center – Victor Pons

The route continues on a forest path. At the big bend, at the level of the Théron du Sauvage – the possibility to cool off (but not to drink!) in the water in the stone troughs – we begin the ascent, left on the track, towards the monastery of the monastery. Sauvage. The plot, which was founded around 1200 and which work – begun in 1995 and still ongoing – has transformed, is revealed around a bend, located in the middle of the vegetation. A stop is essential to admire the building, which you will have the chance to discover every Sunday afternoon in June, July and August, or during group visits (by appointment).

The vines from Marcillac

Back on the track, whose soil is still wet, allowing us to identify more tracks of wild animals: deer, wild boar… At the first crossing, turn left along a farm road towards Capdenaguet, a village that we will only bypass road (3), the entire hike takes place in the middle of rich nature.

After the treatment plant, a very discreet plant hidden by the reeds, the walk continues along a small road lined with vines – some abandoned, others still in use. The possibility of remembering that we are in the domain of the marcillac designation.

The descent takes us to the entrance to a field. There you have to turn left in the tall grass – the path is not very well marked – before you come to a stream that you have to wade.

After 400m on a steep dirt road, be careful not to miss the hairpin on the right (4), which goes up the side. The return is pleasant in the coolness of the forest, despite the steep slope and the narrowness of the path, which requires vigilance.

At the end of this climb and at the end of this hike a little out of time, in this omnipresent nature, without any building on the horizon, return to “civilization” and to the village of Balsac along a housing estate that joins the site of the church.

To find out more about the monastery: https://unionsauvegardedurouergue.fr/le-prieure-du-sauvage/

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