Parc National des Cévennes Travel Guide

  • Barre des Cévennes
    Barre des Cévennes
    by kokoryko
  • Heather on schist ridge
    Heather on schist ridge
    by kokoryko
  • Main street
    Main street
    by kokoryko

Parc National des Cévennes Things to Do

  • Make a short stop in Anduze

    If you drive south, to the Mediterranean Sea or to Nimes or Montpellier, leaving the Cévennes, you will soon leave the rugged mountains made by the granite massifs and the schist and arrive on low limestone plateaus, where the sun enlightens the landscape, where you feel you arrive in a different country. You will pass through Anduze and may want...

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  • St Jean du Gard (2)

    St Jean du Gard has a Mediterranean character, it is at the southern edge of the mountains, and the big central place, with its big planes is an example of this Mediterranean influence.Where ever I travel on the planet, I like to visit markets and here, I wanted to see if old friends were still there: in the end seventies, the village was very...

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  • St Jean du Gard

    St Jean du Gard was the end stop of Stevenson’s trip through the Cévennes; with his donkey Modestine, he walked down the Corniche from Col de St Pierre and soon arrived in a village which may not have changed a lot since his time.Narrow streets, arcades, coloured walls, almost Mediterranean, only the pavements and the presence of cars are signs of...

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  • More mountains

    When you wander around, by car, or walking, in the Cévennes, you see of course the mountains, and if villages are the places where people live, many places of the mountains also witness for human activity, far on the crests, on the slopes and this, since ages. . . . . On one of the passes of the “Corniche des Cévennes”, you may even see meadows...

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  • St André de Valborgne

    Between Florac and St Jean du Gard, you will pass through only two villages, on the Corniche and if you want to see some typical villages, you may want to drive down one of the narrow windy roads to the valleys; each village has its personality, its history, its people, colours, scents, atmosphere. . . . St André de Valborgne is built on the banks...

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  • Je m’appelle Fritz Lafont. . . .

    During my explorations in the Valfrancesque, I one day arrived at a half ruined farm, where only one old man lived, with his dogs and sheep; after chatting for a while he told me his name was Fritz. Surprised, I asked him how come he has a German name? And Mr Lafont told me a beautiful story of a French soldier (his father) who had his life saved...

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  • The moving little church of Le Pompidou

    Pompidou is the name of a French President (1969-1974), and it is also the name of the village you see on picture 2; St Flour is the name of a nice small church located on the territory of the village, but it is also the name of the city where President Pompidou was born, few hundred km from here. . . . . There are some strange coincidences...

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  • Barre des Cevennes from just above

    After a walk one way in the main street, the other way can be done on a small street and trail just above the village from where you can reach one of the churches and see the roofs and chimneys. Yes the chimneys here are a bit special.As much as the houses are well aligned in the main street, on the back, they are like intricate one in each other,...

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  • A typical Cévennes village

    When you drive up the Corniche, you will see at Col du Rey, towards north a high limestone cliff, witness that the Jurassic seas covered the whole Cévennes, and at the feet of that cliff is the small village of Barre des Cévennes (picture 1), a very picturesque small settlement at more than 1000 m elevation. Except in Summer, few people inhabit...

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  • Not anymore accessible. . .

    I was incredibly angry when I wanted to visit the bridge of Soucy, I had seen last time in 1983! The little track has been closed, the houses on each side have been renovated, are now holiday houses, and the owners closed the track with high fences and steel doors, with alarms; I don’t know who is the owner, but I thought to write to the prefect of...

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  • In mountains, there are bridges. . .

    In the deep narrow valleys, the rivers are wild, make natural borders, more than the crests, and since middle age, bridges were the links from one mountain to the other; when you walk or drive in the area, you cross bridges which stand there since 500 years, 700 years sometimes; they have been restored sometimes, but they kept their original...

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  • Walk in the village

    Florac is worth a stop, even for a few hours, looking at the old streets, having a rest before driving up the corniche; Make a visit in the church and look at some of the statues (picture 1) there, notice that like in every French village there is a monument to the dead of WW1 (picture 2) (Florac to her sons dead for France), look at the locals,...

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  • This was once a big city. . .

    Florac is still a sous-préfecture , with its 1900 inhabitants, but it is a small sleepy town with a few cafés, nice streets, some houses witnessing its former “splendour”, a nice stop before driving up the Corniche des Cévennes.The Tarnon river is the main river flowing on the eastern side of the city and the small Vibron river, its affluent,...

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  • Silk Road ?

    The concept of “Silk Road” is a rather recent one in history (1876), created by German geologist, geographer and explorer Ferdinand Von Richthofen, during his travels in Central Asia; what we call Silk Roads exist of course since antiquity, but the name and concept is very recent, contrary to common belief. But what have the Silk Roads to do with...

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  • Did you ever try chestnut honey ?

    When you walk on small paths on the mountain slopes in May-June, you certainly will notice all the scents of the woods and scrubland, and one dominates over all: it is the scent of the blooming chestnut trees (picture 1), and getting close, you will see these are modest flowers, pale yellow strings like bounded in airy tufts at the end of the...

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  • Beautiful colours of the heather

    In spring and summer, the heather of the Cévennes bloom brightly and their colours spot beautifully the mountain slopes in some areas; this common heather is adapted to the rocky environment and with the grass, rude rocks, and other small flowers, they make beautiful compositions (picture 1).Some parts of the crests are literally covered with...

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  • Corniche des Cévennes

    If you travel in Southern France by car, a wonderful scenic road to discover the Cevennes, is the “Corniche des Cévennes” between Florac (44° 19’ 34”) and St Jean du Gard (44° 06’ 21”), D9 road .If you head south, 5 km after Florac, take the small road left at “Le Mazel”, and soon the road winds up, taking you to the Col du Rey (the king’s pass),...

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  • Brooks

    In the numerous small valleys, small brooks run. In some places there are old stone bridges. In others, even if now there is a modern bridge, the brook was for long crossed at fords. This is why for centuries, these valleys were difficult to travel and became hides.

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  • The bread tree

    In the Autumn, the chestnut tree, the bread tree, becomes the main feature of the landscape. It is also the main crop and for centuries it was the main food for the people living here as well as for the travellers. It symbolize well the Cevennes : harsh and difficult to penetrate from outside, smooth and welcoming when inside.

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  • Chestnut trees blooming

    Of course, chestnut trees are blooming too but they will remain nearly unnoticed by the traveller as the flowers are very small. Actually, they are looking closely like the nettle flowers, as you can see on the picture, especially if you enlarge it.

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  • Broom flowers

    In the Cévennes, brooms grow along the roads and paths, between the fields, on the embankments. In May, they blossom and for a few weeks, they bring a touch of gold in this harsh landscape. Goats try to feed on them in spite of their thorns.

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  • Typical village

    Very small villages cling to the hillside. They are usually built on a rocky bump where nothing would grow, in order not to loose any square meter of precious land. Anyway, even the best fields are small, difficult to work and will not give much crop.

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  • Menhirs and other standing stones

    During the Neolithic (6000-3000 BC), inhabitants of C?vennes erected many stones, called menhir or dolmen (when there is a flat stone on top of the others).Here is a website describing a hike through a menhir rich plateau (West of Mont Loz?re): http://causses-cevennes.com/randonnee/bondons.htm

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  • Eglise St Flour du Pompidou

    This adorable little romanesque church is just a gem. It dates back from the XIIth century. Up to 50 years ago it was used as a barn! It makes a nice little excursion and is located in a peaceful setting.Concerts are organized regularly in this church with a very good accoustic. Here is a website with the concert schedule:...

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  • Heather covered mountain tops

    The tree-less mountain crests and plateaux are covered by a low lying bush called bruyères (heather) which makes pretty blue-violet flowers at the end of the summer.

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  • The chestnut

    The main type of tree in the C?vennes schisteuses is the chestnut (le ch?taignier, Castanea sativa). Chestnut cover most of the mountain sides. The fruit is edible and used to be the survival crop for lean days, long before the potatoe made it accross the Atlantic! It was also used as timber and fire wood.

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  • Traditional roofs

    The traditionnal roof of the Cévennes shisteuses is made of local stones. Shist is a type of rock (a metamorphic rock) that break into flat pieces. A bit more chipping, and it is perfect for a roof tile!In the old days, great care was taken to make the shist roofs with natural materials to insure no leaking would occur during rains. Now, people put...

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Parc National des Cévennes Transportation

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo

    by XenoHumph Updated May 21, 2003

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    To go to and around Cévennes, the best is to have a car. And not any car, a small car, because most roads are really narrow and twisty, wide enough for one car only.
    There are also buses which go from one village to the other.
    Hitchhiking would probably work too, except you might end up waiting for hours for a car to pass by in the middle of nowhere in the off-season (outside of summer). It is not a very populated area!

    Parking lot at La Fare near St Germain de Calberte
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip

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Parc National des Cévennes Shopping

  • XenoHumph's Profile Photo

    by XenoHumph Written May 15, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I strongly recommand you to go to the local markets. They generally happen once a week in each village on the main square or road. Ask for the days to the locals. You can buy local products such as patés, sausage, honey...

    Do not miss the bakery of St Germain de Calberte: delicious bread and pastries (go early in the morning, the best stuff goes away fast!).

    The bakery of St Germain de Calberte
    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Food and Dining
    • Road Trip

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Parc National des Cévennes Sports & Outdoors

  • Parc National des Cévennes

    This national park is very green and lush.We went there in the end of May to early June of 2004.The Cytisus Praecox (yellow herbs) was flowering !You can do hiking as well as mountainbiking in this park..In the Gorges du Verdon, you can rent canoes/kayaks to go down the Verdon river alongside the huge cliffs (Gorge). Good hiking boots !Water and...

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  • Bicycle riding: better be tough...

    Riding your bicycle in Cévennes is a great way to discover the region. The roads are small (I mean secondary and not wide) and have hardly any traffic. However, in the Cévennes schisteuses, you'd better be in great shape; it is endless up and downs, and sometimes very steep!! Wear a helmet, and take water... duh... A raincoat is sometimes useful.

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Explore Deeper into Parc National des Cévennes
Cemeteries
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Un petit pastis!
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Visit villages (2)
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Hiking
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