Let's be clear: we are not going to extol the merits and interest of the territory's great natural sites here. The cornice of the Cévennes, Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, the Sautadet river waterfalls, Mont-Aigoual and his observatory, the Bamboo Grove near Anduze, the sources of the Tarn river at Mont-Lozère and all the others... these are must-sees. They are majestic and naturally we love them. Of course, you must include them in your programme of discovery of the Cévennes if you don't already know them.
Here, we prefer to recommend you the side step, the small deviation from the marked out paths... Like a little drift in short.
Picnics and swimming in the wilderness
It will take you a good 45 minutes to get to this little corner of paradise. There are wide beaches for picnics and sunbathing. The Cèze River offers water holes for cooling off and swimming. But it is also, a few metres further on, so shallow that even the smallest children can wade in safely. Parking is easy.
This is our favourite swimming spot! To keep it that way, don't forget to bring your rubbish back, respect the parking regulations and don't damage the surrounding flora. Also think about the wildlife that lives around, on land and underwater. If you build a dam with your children, you will inevitably disturb the biodiversity of the area. Destroy it before you leave.
On the Sénéchas commune, along the D134 (44.357390, 3.996201)
Journey to the centre of the Earth
If only there was one in the area! We had to choose among the many caves within an hour's drive. Far from the jewels that are Chauvet and Aven d'Orgnac, we have chosen to tell you about La Cocalière and Trabuc, less known but present in our memories since childhood.
La Cocalière, recognised as one of the most beautiful caves in France, can be visited in about an hour and by all ages. We love it for the diversity of its concretions which are reflected in the blue water of its natural pools. A guarantee of confidence: it was Pierre's mother's favourite cave!
Trabuc or the scientific mystery! The enigmatic "room of the 100,000 soldiers" is famous throughout the world because no one has ever understood how these miniature concretions are formed. In addition to the classic visit, which allows you to descend following the interactive route, we also recommend reliving the emotions of the first explorers by descending by the light of a carbide lamp. Sensations (and coolness) guaranteed!
Grotte de la Cocalière – 30500 Courry – +33 (0)4 66 24 34 74 – https://www.grotte-cocaliere.com
Grotte de Trabuc – Route des grottes de Trabuc – 30140 Mialet – +33 (0)4 66 85 03 28 – https://grotte-de-trabuc.com
In the footsteps of history
Mialet, once a small village symbolising the Huguenot and Cévenol identity, is home to the “Musée du Désert”, which is the guardian of this ancestral memory. The valley, carved out by the “Gardon de Mialet”, is prized for the calm and beauty of its landscapes and offers particularly pleasant places to swim. In 15 minutes, you arrive at Saint-Jean-du-Gard (this is where R. L. Stevenson ended his journey with Modestine), the last stop before taking the Cévennes cornice and its mythical panorama.
From Mialet to Saint-Jean-du-Gard
A trip to Lozère
There are many routes to this town nestled on the southern slopes of Mont Lozère and crossed by the Tarn river, which rises from the heights of the massif. Its granite houses, the natural pools formed by the river and the various hiking trails that cross it make this picturesque village a great place to stroll.
Le Pont-de-Montvert is also a place of Huguenot memory: the Camisard war began here on 24 July 1702, following the assassination of the abbot “du Cheyla” who persecuted and tortured the Protestants.
48220 Le-Pont-de-Montvert - One hour of winding road minimum