Aubrac is eternal but its cuisine has been changing all along the time. Gilles Moreau menu perfectly succeeds in matching both the territory and the chef creativity.
Gilles Menu is a real ode to Aubrac region. Aubrac farm beef, Aligot (local potatoes and cheese purée) as well as other typical dishes and iconic products are revisited by the chef.
Laguiole comes from « La Gleisola » meaning small church. This etymology explains certainly why the local pronunciation is "Layul". Today, everybody knows Laguiole for its knives. Representative of our land, they are part of its history and have known a revival 20 years ago. Even though, this village hasn't been waiting for the knife to make its fame.
Aubrac capital town
Laguiole is Aubrac head town. The Foirail Square where the mighty bronze Aubrac bull statue designed by Georges Tuyot stands, was once the location for the Cattle Fair. On Thursday, farmers and dealers used to gather on the Foirail, weighing and watching with a suspicious eye the animal they were offered, negotiating hard.
Laguiole, wealthy thanks to its farming and knives making activities, is not deprived from an old cultural heritage.
Discover the Bousquet castle, the most beautiful and stronger medieval fortress in Rouergue, that is most of all the best preserved.
Listed as historic monument, this 14th century building has six towers, crenels, machicolations and sentries' walkway. It is furnished the old-fashioned way, and has a great little chapel as well as a beautiful genuine medieval kitchen with a fire that never stops to smoke. The owner of the place, Pierre Dijols takes his time to explain all you want to know about this castle and its location on the St James way between Sainte Foy du Puy and Conques, the "1st European route".
Discover the village's soul strolling along the steep streets of the old town, its old basalt houses, is former stalls with wooden storefronts that used to be during Fair times, butcheries, cafés and old cutlery workshops.
Climb up to the Fort and discover the breathtaking views unveiling the Auvergne mountains and the neighboring valleys.
A knife and an iconic cheese
Laguiole is usually famed for its sake name knife.
Up to the middle of the 19th century, when the long and harsh winter was starting, many Aubrac farmers were going to Catalunya to work as pit sawers.
Back to their country, they brought back "Navaja", a Spanish switchblade pocket knife. At the time, the knife usually used in Aubrac was a fixed blade, riveted to a piece of approximatively shaped beechwood that was called "Capuchadou".
The combination of both cultures gave birth to the first Laguiole knife in 1829. 20 years ago, the revival of the Laguiole knife made in Laguiole has contributed to the town rebirth.
Laguiole is known as well as a cheese. Raw whole milk, pressed uncooked cheese with a dry rind, it meets the requirements to be labeled AOC (Designation of Controlled Origin). During centuries, it has been made on the mountains "burons" (local stone huts with slate roofs called "mazucs" in the Occitan language). The diverse and reach flora of Aubrac region gives its unique and outstanding taste.
Made in a milk factory nowadays, you can still appreciate its refined and powerful taste that make this cheese special.
A town influenced by Paris
Thousands of local Aubrac farmers at the end of the 19th century left their region for Paris facing the problem of over population and looking for a better future.
The first arriving there worked as water porters, before they started to sell coal and wine as "bougnats" (immigrants coming from the Auvergne region, including Aveyron, to Paris) and eventually making their dream come true as a café owner.
Marcelin Cazes, the most popular of them all, the owner of Brasserie Lipp, created a literary price named after him. He never forgot his homeland.
In Paris or at home, he worked along with his fellow countrymen gathered in the "Amicale" (association of "expatriated" people from Aveyron) to maintain alive their traditions and folklore.
He started a fish farming, Le Moulin de Gagnot, right where he was born and worked on promoting the place among his customers and friends from the whole of Paris coming to Lipp. His fellow countryman, Goutal, Fine Arts school director during the 50's, wasn't outdone. He contributed to make Laguiole and Auguy hotel renowned has a popular destination among artists in the 50's who used to gather there around a good table (Guyot, Brayer, Cavaillès, Jean Eve ...)
August the 8th used to be a popular fair day, not because of the amount of cattle, but because Parisian people from Northern Aveyron gathered there, among colleagues and with the family who remained at home.
How could we imagine that Aubrac lights and colors haven't inspired Gilles cuisine? It is right there on this wide plateau so different to any other place in France he draws his inspiration. Here, Nature is still queen and each season enchants and influences Gilles. With an altitude above 1000 meters high, Aubrac fresh air invigorates! The Lot Valley and its most beautiful villages of France, Conques as a medieval jewel. Here, history can be read naturally.
Aubrac, horizon on a plateau
Open the window of your room and in the distance Aubrac will unveil its round shapes. Puech de Servel, Digitale, Buronnière, each one of the 20 rooms is named after a place of the plateau, a flower or a tradition.
Maryline and Gilles are passionate about their country. They are deeply rooted to this unique land.
Meadows smelling off daffodils, Aubrac tea and Artemisia; a place where Aubrac breed cows live free during summer mountain pastures.
"As far as I can remember, I have always felt like walking and breathing on this plateau. Aubrac is a very special to me, it takes a big part in my life. I experience a feeling of infinite space, solitude and taste a great sense of freedom."
Maryline and Gilles will advise you on their best walks. Fishermen will show you the way to trout spots, on the "Bés" or neighboring creeks, or refer you to local fishing guides.
"Olt", Valley of the most beautiful villages
From time to time, we should go down from Aubrac. You must follow the "boraldes" (the local rivers name) natural slope to reach the Lot river banks.
Between St Geniez d'Olt and Entraygues, the Lot river has been called Olt in Occitan Language. It is worth a look, immerse yourself into history.
- St Geniez d'Olt, jewel from the 18th century
- Espalion and its old Renaissance Palace
There is St Geniez d'Olt reputed for its 18t century architecture and some of the villages labeled as the most beautiful in France.
Sainte-Eulalie d'Olt, Saint-Côme d'Olt, Estaing and its castle. And even if they are not labeled as such, Espalion and its Palace and its old bridge and Entraygues right where the Lot river and the Truyère river, coming from Cantal, encounter. It is worth a visit. The Lot is a great river both for canoeing beginners or enthusiasts. You shouldn't miss either Conques Abbaye, a roman art jewel.
- Sainte Eulalie d'Olt village
- Saint Côme d'Olt and its famous twisted bell tower
- Estaing and his castle
Aveyron, a land of contrasts
Aveyron is a small France. Few regions offer such contrasts. It has a great variety of landscapes. There are altitudes, summer pastures and hiking plateaus such as the one in Laguiole or even lakes that are so wide they look like fjords or inland seas.
A few kilometers away from Laguiole, Sarrans or Couesque lakes are great places to go for a swim with very pure and clear water that can hardly be competed. You can also practice water sports.
The Tarn Gorges
Cultural and landscape contrasts are worth a look. The grey slate roofs of North Aveyron influenced by the Auvergne style houses contrasts with Millau area where both the vegetation and the red tiled roofs architecture have a very Mediterranean influence. And history has marked our land. Conques, the Aveyron medieval jewel dedicated to the young Sainte Foy martyr or the Templar towns of Larzac, only 2 hours away with the A75 highway and the Millau suspension bridge.
Conques, the medieval pearl and its treasures