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Welcome to Hooked on Walking Holidays and our walking holidays in France. This particular hiking vacation in France is a walking tour in the Cevennes region of South France. This walking tour will take you along the southern sections of the Stephenson’s Trail. We have graded walking holiday in France as a level 3 self guided walking tour.
In the autumn of 1878, R.L. Stevenson, the young Scottish writer who would become famous for his book Treasure Island, settled into a small village to the south of Le Puy-en-Velay so to prepare an initiatory journey across Les Cévennes. One month later, he left Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille with his lone companion Modestine, the temperamental donkey which carried his baggage. His journey was to bring him in contact with the Cévenols, descendants of the Camisards who fought and were persecuted after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. For 12 days he travelled across Le Velay, Le Gevaudan and the Cévenol region to arrive in Saint Jean du Gard. He tells of this voyage in his book entitled Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes.
This hike covers the second part of R.L. Stevenson’s journey. From Chasseradès you will cross the Goulet Mountain to Le Bleymard and climb up Le Mont Lozère. You will descend into the Cévenol region, heading towards Le Pont de Montvert and the Tarn Valley, so to arrive in the magnificent little village of Florac. You will disappear into the Cévennes, a deep and mysterious region, and into the chestnut forests that cover the hillsides and valleys, hiding the peaceful, picturesque villages that sleep there. Slowly, you will descend towards Saint Jean du Gard and the Midi of France.
Day 1 Arrival in Chasserades
A taxi will meet you and transfer you from the La Bastide Puy Laurent train station to Chasseradès. Chasseradès has a beautiful 12th century, roman-style church with a lauze-covered roof (lauze is a stone created by lava that is specific to this region of France).
Day 2 Chasserades to Le Bleymard 8.75 miles 14 km 3.5 hours
You will make your way to Mirandol and its famous viaduct and continue on to l’Estampe, at the foot of the Goulet Mountain. The path zigzags through the forest, passes through the abandoned village of Serremejean, and then heads down the southern slope to Bleymard.
Day 3 le Bleymard to Le Pont de Montvert 11.3 miles 18 km 7 hour walk
Here starts the long climb up Mont Lozère. You will pass by Le Mazel, which holds ancient mines, and follow the long and difficult climb through the forest. When you need a rest, sit alongside one of the few waterfalls along the route. Just beyond Le Chalet du Mont Lozère, the landscape changes. The crests become covered by nothing more than a sad prairie from which rise towers of granite stone (called montjoies) marking the footpath. You will have a startling view of the Pic de Piniels at 1699m. Finally your work will be rewarded with the downward conclusion of the hike, bringing you through the forest to Finiels, and then further still to Le Pont de Montvert, at the bottom of the Tarn Valley.
Day 4 Le Pont de Montvert to Florac 17.5 miles 28 km, 8 hour walk
You will visit the village where, in 1702, the assassination of the Abbot Chayla marked the start of the War of the Camisards. You will pick up the path again, though not that which R.L. Stevenson followed through the Tarn Valley, as it is too dangerous today, but the lovely route passing through the Montagne de Bougès and the Col du Sapet (pass) to arrive in Florac, a magnificent little village which you simply must visit!
Day 5 Florac to Cassagnas 10.6 milles 4.5 hour walk
After leaving Florac, you will climb up the steep-sided valley of La Minente to arrive in Saint Julien d’Arpaon and the looming ruins of its medieval château. You will follow the old train tracks to Cassagnas.
Day 6 Cassagnas to Saint Germain de Calberte 17.5 miles 28 km, 8 hour walk
You will climb slowly through the forest to La Plan de Fontmort where stands an obelisk commemorating the martyrs of the War of the Camisards. You will arrive at the Pierre Plantée Pass where you will admire the dolmens, menhirs, and other roman ruins that decorate the route. The day ends above Saint Germain de Calberte, at the hamlet of La Serre de la Can, where your hotel is located.
Day 7 Saint Germain de Calberte to Saint Jean Du Gard 13.1 miles 21 km,7.5 hour walk
You will climb down into the very typical village of Saint Germain. The 12th/14th century church houses the tomb of Abbot Chayla. The path will lead you down valleys towards Saint Etienne Vallée Française, a wonderful village of narrow streets. You will then climb towards the Saint Pierre Pass for a beautiful view of the region, and descend again, this time into the Valley of Gardon Saint Jean, to reach Saint Jean du Gard.
Day 8 Saint Jean Du Gard
Tour ends after breakfast.
Grade 3: Walks of between 5 and 8 hours a day with ascents up to 700m. Some hiking experience is advisable. A reasonable level of fitness and some stamina are required for these walks. You may cover long distances in remote countryside and the terrain will be rough underfoot. In mountainous areas you will encounter some sustained ascents and descents.
Accommodation: 2 star hotels and Inns, one clean 1 star hotel.
What is Included
Tour Code HOWCEV1
Price per persons based on 2 persons sharing double room
How to get there
By Plane to Marseilles, Monpellier, Nimes airports and then by train to La Bastide Puy Laurent on the “Clermont Ferrand – Alès – Nimes – Monpellier” route. Several trains pass each day. A taxi will bring you from La Bastide Puy Laurent to Chasseradès.
To return, you will take a bus from Saint Jean du Gard to the Alès train station (several routes daily).
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