A Bite size Guide to Cévennes Park
Dave Johnson | On 12, Nov 2013
Created in 1970 the Cevennes National park is located in southern Frances’s most mountainous area. Stretching over three départments – Lozère, Gard and Ardèche and two regions, Languedoc-Roussillon and Rhône-Alpes the park seamlessly blends the uplands of the Massif Central with the fertile agricultural plains of Languedoc. What follows is a bitesize guide to the best that this park has to offer visitors.
Due to the exceptional natural environment, especially in the central area of the park, ecotourism has been encouraged and is now flourishing. Look out for the Panda Gite logo. Owned by the World Wild Life Fund in France, it is only awarded to those properties that are built to traditional styles using sustainable materials and techniques. The owner of the property must live on the premises and be committed to helping guests maintain the local flora and fauna by maintaining pathways, creating observation points and providing clear information for visitors.
Staying in Cévennes
There are a large number of hotels that offer a flavor of life in Cévennes. Wonderful three and four star hotels such as the Chateau d’Ayers in Millau offer a welcome that is elegant and comfortable while smaller premises such as the Hotel du Mont Aigoual put you right in the heart of this spectacular area of France. There is also a wide range of traditional gites across the region that make for perfect self catering accommodation.
Visitors to the Cévennes Park are always drawn by the outdoors activities that are widely available. With more than 3,500 km of sign posted pathways there is no shortage of walks. There are twenty “topoguides” that can be purchased and provided detailed information on 275 different walks. Mountain bike trails are also found in the higher areas of the Causse Méjean and the Aigoual massif. Professional guides are also available to make the most of your mountain bike experience. With 400km of sign posted horse riding trails the area is also a mecca for horse lovers.
The Cévennes Park is also home to three spectacular caves. Aven Armand, Dargilan, and Bramabiau have all regularly attracted visitors since the 19th century. Aven Armand is breathtaking for its sheer size, large enough to house the Notre Dame cathedral it also has more than 400 giant stalagmites. Driglan is widely known as the “pink cave” due to the mineral colourartion of its calciteflows, one of which at more than 2,000 square metres is the largest in the world. The third cave worth visiting is Bramabiau which is an underground canyon cut by the subterranean River Bonheur.