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A Day Trip Itinerary...print this out   print the content item
Roquefort: the town that cheese built

Downtown Roquefort
The full name is Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, and since Roman times, it's been known for one thing: a creamy unpasteurized sheep's milk cheese laced with veins of blue penicillin mold. All the world's Roquefort cheese is made in this one small town, clinging to the side of a mountain. The cheese ages in moist, cool limestone caves that you can tour. Time to destination: 1 hour 30 minutes. NOTE: you can easily combine this day trip with an outing to La Couvertoirade, a fortified and picturesque Templar town. See the La Couvertoirade day trip for details.
From the house in Valros, take the N9 toward Pézenas. Stay on the N9 through Clermont-l'Hérault. There the N9 widens to become the A75-E11, a major highway. Stay on the N9-E11 through Lodève. You're climbing steeply to the Larzac plateau. The terrain changes, and the climate. A hot day in Valros can be windy and 15 degrees cooler on the causses (French for plateau or mesa).At La Cavalerie, turn left onto the D999, toward (and then through) St. Rome-de-Cernon, always following the signs for Roquefort. Stay on the D999 until you see a left-hand turn onto D23. This road takes you up to the town of Roquefort. Signs for "Visite des Caves" are prominent.
The Société is the largest Roquefort producer, and runs regular tours through its caves. Each tour ends with a tasting. There are 10 types of Roquefort cheese. The Société makes three including Baragnaudes, an extra-creamy (and extra-expensive) Roquefort that's hard to find even inside France. Once you've tried Baragnaudes, you might find it hard to settle for anything less. There is a small fee for the tour (15f, 2.29 euros). Bring a sweater for the caves, if you chill easily.

First you eat the cheese. Then you walk
it off. Hikers are welcome in Roquefort.
If you'd like some bread with your cheese, take a side trip to Nant. There's a baker there in the middle of town named W. Foissac who makes the best bread we've tasted in France. (Preferring it to the world-famous Poilâne bread we've eaten many times in Paris.) Foissac uses Egyptian wheat and bakes in wood-fired ovens. The baguette crust is crunchy and nut-flavored, the inside meltingly tender. It's worth the extra little drive east on the D999 from La Cavalerie. Hikers: You can enjoy several well-marked hikes (1 to 2.5 hours in duration) around the Combalou plateau above the town. You can park in the same lot where you park for the cave tour. There's a signboard there that shows the hikes.
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