At the heart of Aubrac regional natural park, scenery that you cross are the result of successions of volcanic activity and glacial periods, having shaped the landscape and given its character to the territory. The geology, history, atmosphere of these places, as well as the work of men, have created a unique landscape identity. An experience to live by discovering over the water and the rock the Natural Heritage Aubrac and its hilly foothills. Capture the spirit of these iconic landscapes.

A territory marked by its geological past

Located in the south of the Massif Central, the Aubrac plateau is a ancient volcanic massif, from 5 to 9 million years ago, the highest point of which is the signal of Mailhebiau in Lozère (1 meters). Its morphology is the result of volcanic episodes which have drawn its features, although its relief remains relatively unmarked on the summits, unlike its neighbours, the Cantal mountains. The Aubrac plateau charms for the fluidity and softness of its undulating stretches which take place as far as the eye can see.

Draille and plateau grazing

The landscapes that extend from the foothills of the plateau to its heart are differentiated by the nature of their rock. To the northeast of the plateau we find granite as in the neighboring Margeride, with large granite blocks. In the center, the basalt is omnipresent and culminates up to 1 meters and forms the heart of the plateau where one can observe lava flows, some of which have prisms also called basalt organs. These are visible throughout our territory. On the foothills of the plateau, towards the Lot valley to the west and south, gneiss and schist dominate on the plateau of Viadène and Carladez.

Geology map of Aubrac

A volcano you say?

During your visit to Aubrac, you can discover sites that bear witness to the former volcanic activity of the plateau:

  • The town of Laguiole with its basalt organs, observable on the retaining wall of the church, on the road to Soulages-Bonneval, or at La Roquette.
  • The neck of Belvezet, towards Saint-Chély-d'Aubrac, old volcanic chimney which solidified after eruption and which appears following erosion.
  • The Alcorn dyke, magma which has infiltrated a fissure in the rock which forms a “wall” as it cools and erodes.
  • The Déroc waterfall in Nasbinals, which falls 32 meters high from a cliff made up of basalt columns.
  • The Giant's Causeway in Nasbinals, prismatic basalt flow, crossed by the Plèches stream.
B. Colomb – Lozère Sauvage for PACT Aubrac

The Neck of Belvezet. Surprising volcanic remains.

The Aubrac plateau: the meeting of water, stone and people

André Meravilles
Draille and pastures

The plateau is an open environment, made up of vast expanses of lawns and summer meadows, punctuated by groves of beech trees. With an average altitude of 1 meters, it culminates for the Aveyron at 1 meters at Truques d'Aubrac. Its reliefs, soft and wavy, are the heritage of theglacial erosion and volcanic activity past, very visible especially with the remains oforgans, scree or necks, as well as the dug valleys that formed the glacial lakes or bogs. These environments are a reservoir of biodiversity, both for the flora (sundews, Siberian ligularia, narcissi, yellow gentians, orchids), and for the fauna (cervids, passerines, birds of prey).

The balance between the human hand and the board is remarkable. The construction of the Aubrac domerie, which led to the summering of the forest landscape for livestock farming, thus contributed to the landscape that we know today. This vast granite plateau, whose epochs have shaped the relief, serves as a solid base for thecattle farming and economic activity in the region. Today, one cannot approach Aubrac without mentioning its mountain pastures criss-crossed by low stone walls called “drailles”; especially used for transhumance and which serve as paths to connect the valley to the plateau. On the Aubrac plateau mingle various panoramas of slightly hilly expanses, dotted with rocks and water where Man has been able to take place naturally.

The boralds

The term “boralde” designates fairly short streams (10 to 30 km), which have dug valleys on either side of the basaltic flows. These rivers, due to the steep drop (1 meters between upstream and downstream) are transformed into torrents all flowing into the Batch. They flow parallel to each other from the plateau, in the woods and rocky forest slopes.

The two most important boraldes on the board are:

  • The boralde flaujaguèse or Flaujac, 19 kilometers long, is born in the Truques d'Aubrac (1 meters above sea level), it flows near Espalion.
  • The Boralde de Saint-Chély-d'Aubrac rises east of Aubrac at the Roc de Campiels (1 meters above sea level) and joins the Lot at Saint-Côme-d'Olt.
André Meravilles
Boralde in the heart of the plateau

The bogs

Centuries-old ecosystems and havens for unusual animal and plant species, peatlands are wetlands where organic matter accumulates and does not decompose. These materials become peat and create this unique ecosystem where rare species such as the sundew on the Aubrac. These environments remain almost unchanged since the period of glacial melting. On the botanical trail starting from the Laguiole ski resort, a pontoon has been set up on the Vergne Noire peat bog. To Botanical Garden in Aubrac, bog plants are presented in a reconstructed living environment.

Laguiole peat bog Aubrac plateau
André Meravilles


Small stone shelters covered with lauzes or slates, emblematic of the plateau, you will see some when crossing it.

They adapt perfectly to the harshness of the mountains and are part of a pastoral tradition. Used from May to October, the burons once served as a refuge and seasonal workplace for the buronniers who watched the herds and made the cheese. They were often located near a source, water being essential to their activity. Here is once again the meeting of water and stone.

the viaden

The Viadène is a vast plateau, mainly granite, delimited by the steep-sided valleys of the Lot and the Truyère. Its altitude varies between 300 meters in the gorges to 1 meters on the plateau. The landscape is open and bocage, consisting mainly of meadows where herds of cattle graze. They are crossed by many rivers, in particular the Boraldes which flow into the Lot. Below, the valleys are wooded and wild. Just like the central plateau of Aubrac in Aveyron, the Truyère gorges are classified as a Natura 2000 zone for their faunal interest. They are home to many species of birds and raptors and are a popular territory for bats.

The Viadène plateau will charm you with its mountains and pastures interspersed with small valleys and the omnipresence of water coming from rivers, lakes and waterfalls that meander the territory. These landscapes are conducive to hiking and short excursions leading to unspoiled natural areas.

carladez it

A compact massif of granite and metamorphic rocks, the Carladez is partly covered by volcanic outpourings from the Cantal volcano and bounded by the valleys of the Truyère and Goul. The Carladez landscape is made up, among other things, of permanent meadows and punctuated by remarkable trees (Tilleul de Nigresserre). The Truyère river has dug wild and deep gorges there. The Valon site is marked by a terraced layout of the slopes.

Truyère gorges and Valon castle on its rocky peak

mineral earth whose power is exposed along the blocks of stone scattered here and there.
land of water where rivers, streams and waterfalls meander, bringing life and movement.
land of men who have drawn inspiration and materials there to blend in and be adopted by the landscape.

Faced with the immensity of this plateau, no one remains unmoved. Let yourself be carried away by these undulations, gaze into the distance and let yourself be overwhelmed by the serenity that these spaces reflect. The plateau is the friend of solitaries, walkers in search of peace, nature lovers. Travel the winding roads to approach the space, where the changing light gives the landscapes several faces. Take advantage of these spaces suitable for hiking, across this limitless horizon, shaped over time by geological activity and agricultural activities.

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