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Visit Laguiole – everything you need to know
Whether you need a stopover on your way to the South of France or you are keen to explore France off the beaten path, Laguiole is, either way, a great destination.
The small village of Laguile lays in the heart of the nature park L’Aubrac, in the French department Aveyron. The area is very sparsely populated and perfect for shorter or longer hikes. The scenery is simply beautiful.
We visited Laguiole on our way to Carcassonne during summer, but it’s actually also known as a winter vacation spot. Due to its location within the Massif Central and its altitude of 1000 m, Laguiole comes with a snow guarantee. You have several ski stations around the city.
What to do in Laguiole?
If you think that Laguiole is not more than just a small village with 1300 inhabitants, you are mistaken. Well, it IS a small village with 1300 inhabitants but there is so much more to it. I was actually pretty surprised to find such a broad range of activities in Laguiole. We had a hard time fitting everything in our 2 days in Laguiole.
As we were on our way south with already a lot of driving involved, we decided not to use our car during our stay in Laguiole. But if you are keen, there are of course plenty of other activities around Laguiole: Castles, thermal baths, lakes, a wildlife park and of course an uncountable amount of walks and hikes.
But coming back to what to do in Laguiole:
Buy a Laguiole knife
Click here to know more about Laguiole knives
Does the name Laguiole sounds somehow familiar, but you can’t pinpoint it? That’s not too surprising, Laguiole is world-famous for its knives! The knives with the little forged bee are handmade in Laguiole – with blades coming from the local forge and the handles crafted from locally grown woods. Click here if you want to know how the Laguiole knives look like
Visit the Knife Museum
Knowing that Laguiole Knifes are appreciated and bought all over the world, it’s not surprising to find a Knife Museum in Laguiole. The museum is open from 9-18h, but closed for lunch from 12-14h. Except for July and August, the Knife Museum of Laguiole is closed also on Sundays.
If you visit during the summer months and would like to see the forge, don’t come on a Sunday, even though the museum is open, the forge is closed.
Fromagerie of Laguiole
Like many (all?) French regions, Laguiole has a local cheese specialty, called … wait for it… Laguiole! You can visit the Fromagerie of Laguiole, learn about cheesemaking, sample cheese, and of course buy it.
Go on a hike
The Aveyron region provides excellent surroundings for hikers. Laguiole is a good starting point for several hikes for all durations and for all levels. We did a small 4 km hike, mostly on an ancient Roman pathway, and enjoyed it a lot. It was a rather moderate hike, however, the last third was along the street. For more information on hikes in the area, I suggest visiting the Laguiole Tourism Office, they have maps of many hiking options starting from Laguiole.
As I walked the Portuguese Camino de Santiago a couple of years ago, I was surprised and equally intrigued to learn that a section of the French Camino runs very close by.
Visit the Whisky Distillery “Twelve”
A surprising activity in Laguiole is visiting the Distillery “Twelve“.
Twelve is a young French whisky distillery that chose the unexpected location of an old Presbyterian building in the center of Laguiole.
However, the first three whisky releases they released (two single casks and a blend) were very well-received by the whisky lovers. Not a surprise when you know the attention to detail and the passion from their master distiller, Florent Caston. And if you are more of a rum person, not an issue, Twelve is also bottling some very interesting rum blends from various famous sugarcane spirits countries, such as Barbados, Jamaica, or Guyana.
Visit the Taureau
The bull (French: Taureau) is the landmark of Laguiole and you find a life-size statue of this beast close to the post office. Don’t hesitate to touch its private parts, it’s supposed to bring luck!
I learned that the Taureau of Laguiole is not just a bull, it’s THE PERFECT bull!
I don’t know about other countries, but France holds many competitions when it comes to agriculture. For example, the Salon de Agriculture in Paris runs yearly competitions to find the best bull, the best cow, the best sheep, etc. and the bull statue of Laguiole represents the perfect beast. The perfect tail size, the perfect distance between the ears, the perfect weight, and so on.
Visit the Church
Like in many mountain villages, the church is located on the highest point of the town, so it is in Laguiole. It’s a short walk up, and you’ll be granted a scenic view that reminded me a bit of The Shire, if you are familiar with Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit.
Even though the Church is nothing spectacular, I still recommend taking a walk on the esplanade. It’s a nice walk around an old cemetery that is adjutant to the church, and you have a great view of the entire area.
I walked up twice during my stay in Laguiole, and both times a woman was playing the organ beautifully and atmospheric.
Where to eat in Laguiole?
There are quite a few restaurants and bars in Laguiole. The most famous one is the 2 Michelin Star Restaurant Bras. Well, bummer, we didn’t eat there.
But we still had a very nice lunch at the restaurant La Bardière. They have a monthly changing menu from €25 to €32 and – compared to Paris – refreshingly affordable drinks.
Beetroot carpaccio with goat cheese and nectarines.
What are the regional specialties you should try in Laguiole?
Sausage with Aligot
Like every French region, Aveyron has certain specialties. When visiting Laguiole you certainly should try Sausage with Aligot – a potato mash with melted cheese inside. It’s delicious, creamy like mash, soft like melted cheese.
Local Meet Specialty: Aubrac
If you are an avid meat lover, the Aubrac beef will interest you. The local Aubrac breed is known all over France and a local specialty of Laguiole.
They also have excellent cheese, especially raw cow milk. If you can’t visit the Fromagerie, you still can buy local cheese in town in the different cheese stores. You don’t need to worry to get ripped off, by the way – the prices of local products are fixed and are the same everywhere in Laguiole. We also tried a cheese called Le Therondels that is also made in Aveyron – but in a village called Le Therondels, another big surprise in the French cheese naming.
Where to stay in Laguiole?
Laguiole is a quite small town, so there aren’t dozens of hotels to choose from. As we were very late in organizing our trip, everything within our budget was already sold out. Luckily there are also a few Airbnb available.