It is impressive... This 30 m high hospitable tower located on the famous causse du Larzac is the largest tower-grenier built in Aveyron. Its objective was to shelter the population of Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux. It offers to the visitors an exceptional panorama, to really cut the breath.
Today restored, the building offers on each floor, elements of this built heritage: fireplaces, small windows with cushion, large vault in cloister arch, covered way with machicolation, roof of lauzes.
To better understand the history of this place and its major stages of restoration, the projection of a video will be proposed to you.
At the top, view on the Larzac
Once at the top, you will be able to appreciate the extent of the landscape on both sides of the tower and to realize its utility. Indeed, one could see the attacker arriving from afar and thus prepare the defense of the tower and the protection of the inhabitants.
You will be able to admire the panorama on the causse, the protective alleys of hundred-year-old boxwoods, the lavognes where the ewes drink, the drailles and passades, reserved for the passage of the herds.
All these heritage elements were shaped by the Templars and the Hospitallers throughout their presence.
From the top of its summit terrace, you will discover an imposing panorama of the Causses and the Cevennes, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a "Cultural landscape of Mediterranean agropastoralism".
And at the foot of the tower...
At the foot of the tower, you can see the knights' dwelling and its annexes to the east, the threshing floor to the south, the village with its low stone walls protecting the gardens from the wind to the west, the 19th century church and the old typical Caussenard farms with their slate roofs.
For security reasons, the tower was separated from the dwelling and access was through a door on the second floor by means of a drawbridge. A gallery surrounded the walls of the tower (false-braie) for a better defense. In front of the south façade of the Hospitallers' house, in the 15th century, a two-story building was erected.
Its first floor was used as a stable, at the bottom there is a large cistern which collected rainwater from the roofs, the other two floors were used to store fodder and straw.
Throughout the year, the Tower offers permanent and temporary exhibitions that will delight culture lovers.
The souvenir store offers a range of regional products, and gourmets can choose between pâtés, cheeses or sweets...
Amazing, isn't it?
At the bottom of the latrines on the 2nd floor, a workshop of counterfeiters was found. In the tower, they minted copies of "Hardi", a coin used from 1461 to 1483 during the reign of Louis XI.
The right to mint money was given by the king (it is a regal right) and any transgression was severely punished. Counterfeiters were scalded alive in a large cauldron.
The Tympanum of Conques (North Aveyron) represents the torture of a counterfeiter to whom molten metal is poured down the throat. The counterfeiters were however very numerous!
Tower of Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux
Association of the Tower of Viala
Tel : 05 65 58 91 89