The French Town On The Edge Of A Giant Hole

© beatrice chapillonOn the lip of a lush cliff in Aveyron hides a place exempt from logic. Granted we’re not scientifically inclined, but there has to be some kind of sorcery bubbling under the bedrock of Bozouls, the ancient French village that’s been teetering on the edge of a massive hole – without totally crumbling in on itself – for about 1,000 years. ©merion333 / FlickrBozouls endures as one of the country’s rarest and most overlooked gems, a place as entertaining to see as it is to say ( Boz-oole ). Today, we’re diving head-first into the depths of the town that time forgot, to meander its cobblestone streets and knock on the doors of its castle ruins.© / Instagram ©syl.lemouzy / Flickr To understand Bozouls, it helps to understand the vibe of its encompassing Aveyron region . Not close enough to Paris to be day-trip-able, nor southern enough to be truly on the Côte d’Azur circuit like its neighbour, Nice, this is the land of sweeping, silent gorges. It’s an endless horizon of tumbling gold fields, cows born with black-lined eyes, and Griffon vultures. It’s bar none at making knives, and hiding a medieval treasure in mountain village. Above all, it’s the old stomping grounds of the Knights Templar, and an essential leg of the pilgrimage route of Saint Jacques de Compostelle, a network of ancient roads that culminate at his tomb in north-west Spain. The air is filled with a silent, palpable intensity. The tourist slogan is, “Welcome to Aveyron, Land of Emotion.”©Chauvier Geérard / Flickr Bozouls as we begin to see it started in the Iron Age as an “oppidum,” meaning the protected heart of an ancient settlement. It still wears the traces of its prehistoric and Roman history with pride, from the Celtic “God of Bozouls” sculpture unearthed on its premises (and on view at this nearby museum), to the remains of the massive, cyclopean stone walls enshrouding it. Hole Street circa 1910. ©Mairie de Bozouls / FacebookToday, about 3,000 persons live in Bozouls proper, and arguably the best part about viewing the 400 metre wide Trou de Bozouls (Bozouls Hole) is that it’s free. Sip an espresso at a cafe on its edge, walk the Rue du Trou (Hole Street) or look smack down its 100 metres drop – not for the faint of heart. ©Roger Feugas / Flickr ©Cherryl.B / FlickrIf your vertigo hasn’t bested you yet, head into the belly of the horseshoe shaped hole. You’ll find the two surviving turrets of an ...Read more

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