Saturday, March 04, 2006

Learning to Love Rodez

Aveyron is all about country living, and its administrative capital, Rodez, is much maligned. College students say there's nothing to do: "C'est pas vivant." New residents from other areas of France sometimes complain that it's difficult to fit in, and arrivals from big cities regret the supposed lack of cultural activity. Long-time Ruthénois moan about the traffic jams and parking problems, although these are laughably few compared to Toulouse or Montpellier. Some point out unfortunate architectural contrasts (see photo above!)

I must admit that Rodez takes a little getting used to, but I usually defend it against the above criticisms. I can see why college students find it dull, but adults will get out of it what they put into it.

For tourists, the place won't knock your socks off like Arles or Albi. My French Michelin guide gives it only one star: intéressant. Not worth a separate trip (three stars) nor even a detour (two stars.)

I would beg to differ. The town has a quiet, staid beauty that I have learned to love, and it's a fascinating place for any tourist who wants to get off the beaten track. You'll be hearing more about it in this blog.

No comments: