Ferme Equestre des Monts d'Aubrac
“To reach Tel-Al-Amarna, drive eight miles South of Mallawi to the point where you cross the Nile. On the East side of the Nile the distance is less than a mile and can be covered on foot or on donkey. Behind the present village, at the ancient site of Tal-Al-Amarna the ruins known as the Palace of Nefertiti are among the very few remnants from the Akhnaten period. Tablets from cuneiform writing, which contained correspondence between Egypt and Syria were found here and are now in the Cairo Museum. (To see any sights on the Eastern bank of the river you must cross by ferry which carries cars along with the usual donkey carts and local traffic. The ferry docking station is located at the Southern end of the town. You should arrive there at least one half hour before the 6 A.M. crossing. The ferry does a brisk business and you will need every available second for sight-seeing.) There is nothing left of this glorious city of temples and palaces. The mud brick buildings have long since crumbled and little remains of the immense stone temples but the outlines of floor plans. In addition to the tombs and ruins of the city, there are several stelae scattered around the plain which marks the limits of the land belonging to the city — most of them are too widely scattered to visit and are also in bad condition.” -- (Glass, 1983)
To reach Nasbinals, drive 140 km South of Clermont-Ferrand to the point where you leave the highway (A75). On the West side of the highway the distance is 23 km to Nasbinals and can be covered on foot in one day. Indeed this is one segment of the famous route to Compostelle that follows the footpath GR65. Beyond the present village, about 850 m from the Roman-style church of Nasbinals (XI-XII century), following the road to Saint-Urcize, you will find the "Monts d'Aubrac" equestrian center: our conference site. (To get to Nasbinals from Aumont-Aubrac, other than by foot or by automobile, you must take a taxi or get picked-up, as there is not bus or other public transportation. The taxis do a brisk business shuttling hikers and luggage between the train station in Aumont-Aubrac and Nasbinals.) The Sainte Marie Church is considered one of the gems of Roman art in the region. It is famous for its polychrome building material, it octogonal bell tower and its arched vault. In addition to the hotel/restaurant and the several small shops in the town, there are many group hostels where pilgrims on their way from all over Europe (and the world) to Spain can stay.
Nasbinals is located in the Aubrac plateau (altitude 1200 m) in the Lozère department, in the mountainous region in South central France. Although it is far from everyone, travel to the meeting should be made up by the friendliness of our hosts, Gérard and Marie-Claude Moisset, by the quality of the food that is raised locally and by the relative economy that this will represent, even in France. The experience should be rather unique.
The highway (A75) passes only 23 km from Nasbinals and the road (D809) between is pretty good even though it runs through a mountain plateau region.
The nearest airport is Rodez (RDZ), 73 km and a little over an hour away as the roads are small and mountainous, with domestic routes to Paris and international routes to Brussels/Charleroi, Dublin and London/Stansted. There is no easy transportation from Rodez to Nasbinals other than being picked-up.
The next nearest airport is Clermont-Ferrand (CFE) 165 km with domestic routes to Paris, Lyon and Nice and international routes to Amsterdam and London. One can get to the central train station from the airport by bus or by train. From there, one can take a train or a bus to Aumont-Aubrac.
The airport at Lyon (LYS) 350 km away will have more flights and one can reach the Lyon Part Dieu train station by tram, by train or by bus, taking then a train to Aumont-Aubrac via Clermont-Ferrand.
This may not be any easier than flying to one of the Paris airports: Charles de Gaulle (CDG) or Orly (ORY) and then transferring to the Paris Gare de Lyon train station and then taking a train to Aumont-Aubrac via Clermont-Ferrand.
The Aumont-Aubrac train station can be reached via Clermont-Ferrand. Travel from Clermont-Ferrand is 1:45 by bus (from the train station, subcontracted by the French train company) or 2:45 by train! Clermont-Ferrand is 3:30 by train from Paris Gare de Lyon. Total travel time from Paris is about 5:30, about the same as by car. One can also reach Aumont-Aubrac by train from Montpellier (and the SNCF sometimes proposes this route as they try to promote taking the high-speed train from Paris to Montpellier but this is much longer and more expensive!)
From Paris: Take the A6 from Paris Porte d'Orléans or Porte d'Italie (direction Lyon and Bordeaux) to the A10/A11 (direction Bordeaux, Orléans and Tours) to the A10 (direction Orléans and Tours). At Orléans, take the A71 (direction Toulouse and Clermont-Ferrand). The A10+A71 are toll roads (36.5 €). From Clermont-Ferrand, take the A75 to Aumont-Aubrac (no toll! exit 35 Aumont-Aubrac/Nasbinals). From Aumont-Aubrac center, take the D809 to Nasbinals.
From Lyon: Take the A89 to Clermont-Ferrand (toll 14.2 €) and than the A75 to Aumont-Aubrac as from Paris. Travel time is 3:20 (320 km).
When driving in France, be careful as there are very many radar speed traps, both on and off highways. They are generally announced by a warning sign, but not always!
Given the location and its accessibility, we will try to help arrange for carpooling between attendees. Please do not hesitate to contact Alan Braslau <alan.braslau at cea dot fr> with any questions that you might have.
Websites(still only in French!)
Company specialized in the transportation of luggage and of passagers on the Compostelle trail: Regularly scheduled shuttles Bicycles accepted, 8 seat minibus carrying hikers. Rates: 7€ per suitcase. Online reservation (in French only!) http://www.lamallepostale.com/ or by telephone +33 4 71 04 21 79 Payment: check, cash, bank transfer, or credit card (online only). Arrival/departure at Nasbinals : 10:00 and 15:00 daily, by reservation.