So this time tomorrow, I will be heading to Rodez for the last day of the #InAveyron bloggers trip. Although famous as the birth place of the now 85 year old artist Soulages, it is the Gothic cathedral that dominates the town – Cathédrale Notre-Dame. In medieval times, the city’s history was marked by strong rivalry between the Counts and the Bishops of Rodez, who exerted their authorities in different sectors of the city, divided by a wall. The counts were able to defy the royal French authority until the submission of Count John IV by the future Louis XI in the 15th century. In the following century, Bishop François d’Estaing built Rodez Cathedral. The last Count of Rodez, Henry VI who became Henry IV of France, sold his title to Royal Crown in 1589.
The Cathedral with its intricate bell tower is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture inspired by the great cathedrals of northern France. The choir and the vast nave were built between the 13th and 16th centuries and from the top of its bell tower, there are superb views over the town and surrounding countryside.
We will, of course, visit the brand new Soulages Museum that opened in June 2014. Soulages gave over 500 works and documents to the town of Rodez, one of the most valuable donations of art by any artist in his lifetime, valued at over 35 million Euros. We will also have lunch in the new Café Bras in the museum. Michel Bras is from the area and and is one of the most prestigious chefs in France – his restaurant near Laguiole has three Michelin stars. The Café Bras is a symbol of the closeness between the two men, who are close friends and who not only share exceptionally successful careers, but who maintain a deep affection for their home town, Aveyron.
Contributor: Alexandra Pinhorn
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