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Visiting the True France in Laguiole

Visit Laguiole to experience the true France. From beautiful scenery to amazing cheese, this quaint village has everything that makes France so special.

Scenes from Laguiole in Aveyron
The tiny commune of Laguiole in Aveyron is famous in food circles for the restaurant, Maison Bras. However, visitors can enjoy this charming village for its local food and culture.

Important Update
Many businesses have revised their hours due to COVID-19. Some may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information.

The people of Laguiole possess a great amount of pride over their town’s authenticity. One sign on the main drag goes so far to proclaim that Laguiole is ‘the True France.’

True France Laguiole
Could there be a better picnic spot? We say no.

Lacking a train station and without a comprehensive bus system, Laguiole is off the tourism radar. That’s not to say that you won’t see any tourists in Laguiole, but chances are that they’re mostly French.

How to Visit the True France in Laguiole

On the surface, aside from making a mecca to the great restaurant, Maison Bras, there are few obvious reasons to rent a car to visit this commune of 1,200 people.

But, like many under-the-radar attractions, Laguiole is worth a few hours of your time, maybe more if you want to hang out, throw a blanket on the side of the road and lay out one the best, most authentic picnic spreads of your life.

We recommend that you do the following in Laguiole:

Taste Local Cheese

Les Buronniers Fromagerie in Laguiole France
At Les Buronniers Fromagerie, cheesemonger Emmanuelle Vidalene tickled our taste buds with samples of Laguiole cheese. This small shop is the perfect place to buy cheese to enjoy on the spot as well as for later.

It’s a well-known fact that France produces some of the best cheese in the world. It’s a lesser-known fact that some of that cheese is produced in Laguiole. We didn’t understand this fully until we saw Aubrac cows grazing on the grassy meadows in and just outside of Laguiole.

These cows not only produce outstanding beef, but they also produce outstanding fromage!

Dating back to the 19th century, Laguiole’s cheese legacy enthusiastically continues but now with a coveted A.O.P. designation. Modern cheesemakers age the cooked and pressed raw milk cheese for four to 24 months and sell it in shops throughout the commune.

In order to make Laguiole cheese, cows are moved once a year from higher to lower grassland elevations in a process called transhumance. The annual process culminates in a big festival in late May which we hope to attend one day.

Cooperative Fromagère Jeune Montagne
Outside Cooperative Fromagère Jeune Montagne, a large cylindrical mockup of a wheel of Laguiole cheese greets visitors. The co-op sells the local cheese at various ages as well as boxes of refrigerated Aligot, the stretchy, cheesy mashed potatoes of the region.

Top spots for tasting Laguiole cheese include downtown Fromager Les Buronniers and Coopérative Fromagère Jeune Montagne – both are generous with their samples. As an extra bonus, Fromagère Jeune Montagne also offers an entertaining and amusingly dated film (in French) about the cheese and Aligot that they produce at their factory.

Ah yes, Aligot! We bought a box of the co-op’s take-home, refrigerated version of the stretchy, oozy mashed potato concoction, which easily survived our five-hour return trek to Lyon.

Pro Tip

If have access to a kitchen, buy a box of Aligo and pair it with Aubrac beef. This special, grass-fed beef is readily available throughout France. Ask a butcher for the faux-filet cut, which generously serves two.

Les Buronniers is located at 5Allée de l’Amicale, 12210 Laguiole, France.
Coopérative Fromagère Jeune Montagne is located just a couple blocks from the center of town at La Borie Neuve in Laguiole.

Eat Your Way Around Town

Leg of Pintade Café Francais in Laguiole France
Right in the town center of Laguiole, Café Francais serves satisfying food like this leg of Pintade (guinea hen) and local chourcoute.

The mighty Aubrac cow is important enough that Georges Guyot’s bull statue has graced the town’s Place du Forail since 1947, but Laguiole’s culinary footprint goes beyond cheese and beef. Surprisingly, considering the town’s small size, there are several bakeries, patisseries and a well-curated wine shop, La Cave de Sergio, created by Maison Bras sommelier Sergio Calderón.

Laguiole has some interesting low-cost dining options right in town. For example, Cafe Français sells French lottery tickets at the counter and offers salt-of-the-earth food like pintade – guinea fowl served with surprisingly tasty choucroute filled with bits of stewed carrot and cooked in duck fat – a customary preparation in Aubrac.

This is the kind of food that American tourists dream about eating in France – simple, fresh and finger licking good. It’s also inexpensive and uniquely French. When we finished our lunch at Café Francais, the server was more interested in eating his lunch than giving us dessert and the check – ahh, Vive la France!!

Café Francais is located at 7 Allée de l’Amicale, 12210 Laguiole, France.

Buy a Knife

Knife at La Forge de Laguiole in Laguiole France
La Forge de Laguiole sells some great knives including this cheese knife used for cutting Roquefort cheese. The knife industry in Laguiole dates back over 150 years.

Cheesemongers and fine restaurants across the world serve cheese with knives produced by La Forge de Laguiole. This century-old knife maker manufactures specialty knives for cheese and kitchen tables along with hunting knives and corkscrews.

These aren’t the kind of knives we associate with cooking – we leave that to the Japanese and Germans. Laguiole knives are wonderfully decorated with fine handles made from cow horns and blades that curve into unique points and shapes.

Knife Maker at La Forge de Laguiole in Laguiole France
La Forge de Laguiole allows visitors a close-up view of the knife making process. A tour of the factory is one of the key attractions in town.

Though a multitude of shops and boutiques sell these knives in the namesake town, why not visit the forge for a quick tour and knife purchase?

The forge’s self-guided tour lets visitors literally stroll through the factory and get an up-front view of the knife production. Workers sharpen and hammer new blades with precision, working the machines without even a glance toward curiously gawking tourists.

With historic photos and a fascinating display of knives, both old and new, the free tour is worth a quick stop. Admit it – a new ivory-handled Laguiole cheese knife would be a fine addition to that awesome cheese plate at your next cocktail party.

Pro Tip

Buy a Laguiole knife on Amazon. It’s the next best thing to buying one at the source.

La Forge de Laguiole is located on Route de l’Aubrac in Laguiole.

Enjoy a Picnic Surrounded by Natural Beauty

Sign to Laguiole France
All signs lead to Laguiole.

Despite its gastronomic richness, Laguiole’s best feature may very well be the natural beauty that surrounds the quaint town. The Aubrac area is mountainous, with picturesque vistas at every twist and turn just outside the city center.

This beauty is why the Bras family set their compound up on a hill in this spot. And this is the reason why Laguiole’s piece of the ‘True France’ is worth a visit.

What could be better than using a new knife to cut locally purchased cheese and charcuterie on a lush field filled with wildflowers and stunning views of the Aubrac countryside, especially when you’re eating locally purchased baguettes, pastries and wine?

We dare you to come up with an answer to this question as we don’t have one.

Plan Your Laguiole Stay

Click here to research hotels in Laguiole France.

Or, if you want access to a kitchen, click here to find an Airbnb apartment.

Hungry for More French Food?

Read about our luxury dining experience at nearby Maison Bras.

Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

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Buena Montero

Friday 17th of June 2016

Wow!!! My husband and I definitely would love this place. We are cheese and nature lovers:) Thanks for the info. xoxo