Clocher illuminé de la cathedrale de RodezClocher illuminé de la cathedrale de Rodez
©Clocher illuminé de la cathedrale de Rodez|D.VIET - CRT Occitanie
Feel on top of the world.

Climb up the belltower

You can see it in the distance when you arrive in Rodez. This belltower and cathedral have watched over the city for centuries.

The true experience of

Climbing the belltower.

The Gothic cathedral perched on its peak is like Rodez’s nerve centre. Dive into the place where the count and bishop of Rodez fought over the city.

We meet our guide, Annabelle.

A guide is compulsory if you want to reach the top. After a few explanations at the bottom of the cathedral, we can’t wait to get started! We’re told there are 400 steps up

Let’s go! We go through a little wooden door next to the rood screen. The spiral staircase is narrow, the stone steps are uneven and worn down by time. With our trainers on our feet, the adventure begins.

1st stop: the “planets”

Careful, the ground slopes and arcades pepper the terraces. The Rodez rooftops are within reach. We’re just above the gargoyles and we’re already struggling to get our bearings, Annabelle helps us.

We walk a bit and reach the bottom of the belltower. New staircase: even narrower than the first, it’s hot, the sun beams in through the windows.

2nd stop: the bells’ floor

“A belltower with no bells isn’t a belltower! ” says Annabelle. The eight working iron bells hang in the square tower (our ears are still ringing!).

The guide tells us a bit of history and a few stories about the cathedral’s life. We get back onto the stone stairs and spot engravings by artisans at the time: hearts, initials etc.

3rd stop: hidden sculptures

Annabelle points out strategic points to try to get a glimpse of the famous secret sculptures.

Children and adults throw themselves into the fun! The little game makes us forget how close we are to the top.

But the last staircase stands in the middle of this round and windy gallery. It’s a clerestory staircase so if you’re scared of heights then this is your last stop!

4th and final stop: the “grail”

No pain no gain! You forget the 400 steps soon after you see the 360° views. The view of Rodez and its surroundings is jaw-dropping! Well worth it!

We swarm at the foot of the Virgin Mary surrounded by four angels! Cameras and phones come out to capture the memory.

Annabelle reminds us it’s already time to go. We watch where we’re walking as the way down is just as challenging as the way up!

Further information.

Are you daydreaming about experiencing it for yourself?

Find out more and book (compulsory) at:

Rodez Tourist Information

10-12 place de la Cité
12000 Rodez – France 

Tél. + 33 5 65 75 76 77

Book online