I say not to have expectations while traveling. Expectation, I believe, is the root of all disappointment . . . and for a traveler, the disappointment at the hype of a particular place can particularly sting. But I won’t lie when I say that I hoped my October birthday trip to Aveyron (and the blue cheese caves of Roquefort) would be filled with trips to small stone towns surrounded by fall foliage. It did not disappoint.

Aveyron is a region in France perhaps best known for Roquefort or the largest bridge in the world, Viaduc de Millau. However, the region is also dotted with small villages. We spent a foggy fall afternoon exploring Peyre, a village built on the side of a mountain and overlooking a river below.

Peyre belongs to Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (the “Most Beautiful Villages in France”), which is an independent association created in 1982 to promote the tourism in small rural villages with rich cultural heritages. Villages belonging to the association must be rural, have no more than 2,000 residents, and must include a minimum of two national heritage sites.

We didn’t see a soul.

And perhaps that was what made it magical.

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