Founded in 1280 by the Raymond de Calmont the bishop (Evêque) of Rodez to compete with Villefranche-de-Rouergue, the bastide is built on a granite plateau that overlooks the Gorges de l’Aveyron where numerous martinets (hydraulic forges) beat copper in the Middle Ages.
Its architectural heritage and its natural environment have enabled this Bastide du Rouergue to be classed amongst the "Plus Beaux Villages de France" (most beautiful villages in France), to boast the title of "Pays d'Art et d'Histoire" and to recently join the "Grands Sites Midi-Pyrénées" with Villefranche de Rouergue.
13th century bastide royale, Sauveterre de Rouergue, built around the largest arcaded square in the Rouergue, is an architectural gem. Timber framed and corbelled houses, ornamental carved stone, finely wrought doors, vestiges of fortifications, moats, towers and entrance gateways invite you to take a trip back in time.
The bastide of Villeneuve was built on a Romanesque sauveté, a defined area of refuge, founded around a Benedictine monastery at the beginning of the 13th century. Villeneuve was successively a sauveté, a bastide comtale (under the control of a count) then bastide royale at the end of the 13th century.