Aubrac and its "domerie"
Aubrac is the highest village in the Department of Aveyron. With a mountain climate, winters are harsh and long and bring intense cold and snow storms, while summer is sunny. This village owes its existence to the creation of a monastic hospital which was initially a refuge for pilgrims en route to Santiago of Compostela. The bell, known as “bell for the lost”, housed in the church tower, was used during the operation of the hospital to guide pilgrims or travelers crossing the plateau during bad weather.
The existence of Aubrac dates back to the 12th century and its history is inseparable from the pilgrimage to Santiago of Compostela since the village was built near a passageway of ancient origin for crossing the Aubrac plateau: the Via Podiensis, which is today one of the most frequented routes by pilgrims in France. The Compostela paths were classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. The section passing through the village of Aubrac has been classified as "Natural Property" for its fauna and flora diversity.
The Domerie* of Aubrac, from which the village inherited its name, would find its origin from the Latin "Alto Braco": high place, but also from the rouergat "brac" meaning "mud", due to the numerous peat bogs and marshy areas present on the territory. The name was later passed on to the plateau as well as to the Aubrac cattle breed. Today, only three of the many buildings that made up the old Domerie remain, including the Notre Dame des Pauvres Church, listed as a Historic Monument, the "English Tower", as well as part of the buildings of the old hospital.
* Domerie: name given to monasteries whose abbot had the title of dom.
The village also took off as a place of habitation. These will all be built around the monastery. Aubrac is today one of the main tourist centers on the Aubrac plateau, despite a small permanent population. Following this growth, a fair for young farm animals and working animals for traction has been created, held every year on October 3. A transhumance festival also takes place every year on the weekend closest to May 25, the date when the herds reach the mountains for their summer stay, when the Laguiole cheese is made in the buron mountain huts.