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Menhirfeld Cham des Bondons

Menhirfeld at the Cham des Bondons is one of the largest cities in the megalithic culture in Europe. A circular route (about 2 hours) runs through Menhierfeld. From Anduze via Florac to Cham des Bondons takes about 60 minutes by car. However, if you drive via the Corniche des Cevennes and enjoy the magnificent view, it will take a little longer.

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Menhirfeld Cham des Bondons

The plateau of the Bondons Cham is a part of the Southern French National Parks Cevennen, which is located in Lozère. It is not only the austere beauty of the landscape that impresses the visitors, but also the accumulation of 154 Menhirs. The upright stone blocks are from prehistoric times and are referred to in the German language as the “Standing Stones”.

The plateau Cham des Bondons

The Cévennes National Park is part of the Cevennes, the Karst Mountains in south-eastern France. The 321,378-hectare park gives the impression of a primaeval forest landscape, from which hills, as well as craggy rock formations, rise. Especially in the middle, you can see an impressive flora and fauna with plants in an exceptional assembling. It’s not only tulips that grow here, but also orchids; as well as animals like the mouflon or the deer the genet, woodpecker or beaver share this area too. At the sight of this magnificent nature, you can imagine that thousands of years ago people used the plateau for their cultural festivals.

Cham des Bondons – pre-historic graves

The approximately 10 km2 large limestone plateau Cham des Bondons is located in the northeast of the national park near the village of Les Bondons. From an archaeological point of few this is a place of worship. It lies on a hill at 1,000 meters above sea level, enriched by about 150 menhirs. The stones are made of granite from Mont Lozère. Their height is between 2 – m. Usually, they are standing by themselves or in groups or 2 – 3 stones. It is noteworthy that the stones are from the southern hills of Mont Lozère and had to be transported over a distance of between 800 meters and 3 km.

Part of those rock formation was recognised as Monuments Historique in 1941 and belongs therefore to the Listed Buildings. The Menhirfeld, the Cham des Bondons, is one of the largest cities in the megalithic culture in Europe developed most likely about 4500-5000 years. Experts say that there are fewer tombs at the Cham des Bondons, but more so-called grave mounds. In the proximity of Caosou, two more grave mounds have been discovered. However, neither containing an urn even bones. These findings are related to the copper Stone Age settlement, whose remains were found here.

Hiking at the Cham des Bondons

A slightly shorter walk through Menhirfeld takes about 2 hours. On the way, you will walk past about 20-30 menhirs. When you reach the idyllic village of "Les Combettes" you have covered half the way. A marked trail hike around the two imposing mountain hills takes about 4-5 hours. Start and finish is Malbosc.

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Lookout Anduze Fort Rohan

The lookout of "Fort Rohan" is located on the eastern side of Anduze. It is at 334 meters above sea level, exactly 200 meters above Anduze [5]. Of course, this also promises a great view down on Anduze. But that is not all. From up here, you also have a great view in the Cevennes in west and north as well as in the south and east.

We park parallel to the Route d'Ales at the height of [1] the Chemin du Bois. (about 100 meters further on you can see a bus stop. That’s where we took shelter in a parallel running road). Of course, you could also start from Anduze.

From here the small street "Chemin du Bois" hike leads 70 m uphill. Then the street turns right, and you follow another 60m. From here on you hike along a private property on a gritty and rocky path (yellow marking). After about 5 minutes, and another 150-200 meters you meet a dirt road (called Pastourelle, located 259 meters above sea level) [3]. Here you turn left. According to the sign, you walk approximately another 900 meters to Fort Rohan. After a further 200 meters, you see another sign (Babylone, 269 meters above sea level). Here you find the directions to Fort Rohan [4]. The information board also provides information on the specifics of the rock formation of "Falaises d'Anduze", its flora and the protected bats.

Along the way, you can enjoy the views of the Provence to the east and south. The wide trail will be slightly narrower and runs along an electric fence to your destination.

As you reach the lookout [5], you can see Anduze from the east. You can see the large roundabout, the two bridges over the Gardon, the railway bridge, as well as the special attractions of Anduze such as the Tour d'Horloge, the churches, the courts, the supermarkets, the Parc de Cordeliers and the train station.

If you hike towards Cevennes, you can discover many peaks, such as the Mont Brion, or the Mont Aigual.

Right in the opposite of the rock formation above Anduze, you can see the lookout "Rocher de Saint Julien". Information on this trail you can find here: Hiking tip for Rocher de St.Julien. Starting in Anduze, this hike takes one hour.

Closed Captioning:

Hike to the lookout Fort Rohan [2]

Hike to the lookout Fort Rohan, between [2] and [3]

Hiking and information board [4]

Looking to the east and south to Provence

View on Anduze from the lookout Fort Rohan

Overlooking the rooftops of Anduze and the church Saint Etienne

View at Anduze: Tour de l'Horloge and its Temple

Panorama Anduze and the Cevennes and Provence. Compared to the viewpoint Rocher de St.Julien

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Lookout Anduze Rocher de St.Julien

Anduze is located approximately 134 meters above sea level, compared to Rocher de St.Julien which is approximately 325 meters above sea level. This difference of altitude can be managed within 30 minutes. The hike starts at the church of Saint Etienne [1], continues between two houses and leads uphill to the "Rue de Chateaux Vieux" and hits the road "Chemin des Prisons" where you keep right.

This tour has been redeveloped in 2016. After about 150 meters, just after you passed a dilapidated (uninhabited) house on the left hand, the path leads uphill.

On a path fork, you keep left [2]. It is hard to miss because there is a cable and a "catch fence” attached.

The narrow footpath now leads steeply uphill in bends. Partially there are very slippery sections, (rubble). The descend further ahead is particularly difficult, and I urge you do be careful.

Again, and again you can enjoy the view of Anduze. In the background, you see the castle Tornac, further behind the Provence. In the foreground, you can see the one or other place in Anduze from a higher vantage. For example, you can see the train station of Anduze, the Parc de Cordeliers, the churches and the bridges over the Gardon.

Indeed, it is almost impossible to miss the way, which continuously leads uphill. If you mastered about half the way, then the trail leads slightly uphill again. [3]. There you can take a break on green grass fields with colourful flower carpets. Once at the top you have a magnificent view of the Provence in the direction of Anduze and the Cevennes Mountains to the north. [4]

Clearly visible is the railway viaduct over the Gardon in the north; while in the front you can see the camping area, Castel Rose.

In the east, you can see the railway bridge, which immediately after the tunnel exit leads over the Gardon. On the other side, you can see the rock formation and the lookout Fort Rohan. Directions to the lookout Fort Rohan.

The way home follows the same path. The descent is partly small, rocky and slippery. Caution is recommended.

Closed Captioning:

Chemin des Prisons

View of Anduze, with the Castle Tornac in the background

The trail to the lookout Rocher de St.Julien. From here the trail becomes steeper and more demanding.

View to Anduze

Looking north toward Cevennes. Clearly visible the railway viaduct over the Gardon in the north, and in the front the camping area, Castel Rose

Railway bridge, which immediately after the tunnel exit leads over the Gardon.

On the way back from the Rocher de St.Julien. Be aware of small rocks

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Nîmes-le-Vieux: Bizarre rock formations

At first glance, the rock formations of Nîmes-le-Vieux resemble a ruin-like setting. Located is this place in the northeast of the calcareous plateau of Mejean near the pass of Perjuret and Fraissinet-de-Fourques and thus in the heart of the Cevennes National Park. This intriguing rock formation, consisting of individual rocks and fascinating formations.They were created through the power of erosion thousands of years ago. Everybody who would want to know more about the geology of this region can find more information in the Weiler Veygalier. Here is all year round an exhibition on the entire subject of the calcareous tableland.

Where exactly is Nîmes-le-Vieux?

The rock formation of Nîmes-le-Vieux is located between the towns of Meyrueis and Florac north of the Col de Perjuret. Interested visitors can reach the area best over the pass over. There is also a hiking trek, the GR which runs from 60th Gally, le Veygalier and l'Horn from a circular route. Visitors can see and explore the rock formations on this trek. Nîmes-le-Vieux extends over a length of about 4.5 km from south-west to northeast and is located at the height of about 1,100 meters above sea level. The name of Nîmes-le-Vieux was coined by Paul Arnal already in 1908, who worked as a pastor in Vébron.

What can visitors expect in Nîmes-le-Vieux

Between the rocks, the settlements of Galy, Villeneuve, L'Hom and Veygalier the visitor can gain a great insight of the typical rural life in France. This part of France is still dominated by agriculture and still farming sheep. This created a small-scale grass landscape which gives numerous insects and birds a habitat. These include the red-backed shrike, the wood lark, but also hawks and rock thrush. Typical representatives for this region from the world of plants are the Cévennes saxifrage and the limestone rock cinquefoil.

You can park near the settlement. There is a small parking lot. Dogs always have to be on a leash. In every settlement has at least one watch dog, which will bark at the visitors, which walk from the parking lot to the rock formations.

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Mont Aigoual: Enjoy the original nature of France

Mont Aigoual is considered the natural reservoir of France. And not in vain. At this 1,567-meter high mountain six springs originate. Those springs and respective rivers create their own weather, marked by fog, rain and snow. Here is an annual average of 2,200 mm rainfall, which you can find nowhere else in France.

Therefore, the weather around Mont Aigoual is usually wet.

The Mont Aigoual is the highest mountain in the Département Gard, whose southern border is the Mediterranean. Therefore, this mountain is the first obstacle for clouds. It literally draws the looming clouds from the Mediterranean which then creates the rain fall.

Mont Aigoual is also known for storms and high winds which sweep through at a rate of up to 250 km per hour. For this reason, Mont Aigoual received the nickname “Stormy Mountain” from the locals.

The weather observatory on Mont Aigoual

Located on Mont Aigoual at an altitude of 1567 m you can find a meteorological station and the observatory Météo France. This offers visitors a panorama view over a quarter of France. Besides that, you can see 800 photos which show the world throughout its four seasons.

The road to the Mont Aigoual

Visitors reach the summit of Mont Aigoual about the popular hiking route "Montée des Marches 4000" with its 4,000 steps. The hikers start in the town of Valleraugue. Following this route, they will overcome an altitude of 1,200m at this 9-km long trek. Since 1988 this trail is also a most popular location for a well-known competition. The objective for the participants is to run a 1.8 km trail through town and then accomplish the steep climb to Mont Aigoual.

Once at the summit is recommended for visitors to make their descent towards Prat-Peyrot. There they will encounter a small street on the so-called Arboretum de L'Hort-Dieu. This is a natural museum, where visitors can identify the different types of trees in the region.

Traditions around Mont Aigoual

Those who want to experience the traditions of rural France should visit the region around Mont Aigoul mid-June. This is the time when the annual cattle drive takes place. To mark this event cattle and sheep herds are magnificently decorated and are driven by the Prat-Peyrot towards Mont Aigoual.

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Sainte-Croix-de-Caderle: a place of worship with a moving story

All culturally interested visitors can look forward to a “gem” in the town of Sainte-Croix-de-Caderle in the Gard with its 120 inhabitants: There they can see an eponymous Romanesque chapel, which most likely was built in its present form during the 12th century. This church suffered massive damage throughout the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries.

The story of Sainte-Croix de Caderle

It is assumed that the chapel Sainte-Croix de Caderle was built in the Merovingian period, between the 5th and the middle of the 8th century AD. The reason for this assumption is: As part of the excavations a sarcophagus from that period was found on the grounds. The name Villa Caderliam is known since the 892. A priory was established in 1420.

Especially during the Huguenots and the Camisard Wars, this chapel was violently impacted. The Huguenots raged through this area from 1562 to 1598. The Camisard Wars happened between 1702 to 1704. During this time, it was repeatedly looted and the chapel even destroyed. For example, the Camisards, also called Huguenots in Cevennes, set Sainte-Croix-de-Caderle ablaze in 1702. The town was finally occupied by the Royal Dragoon garrison in 1704. Until 1711 the Dragoons exercised a reign of terror, with only one objective: for the Huguenots to renounce their faith. Although the chapel was spared at this time, the bell tower was demolished none the less. Above the entrance, they built a storage place. It was not until 1802 that the Protestants regained the chapel once again.

A site to behold

However, Sainte-Croix de Caderle itself is worth seeing. The stroll through the partial cobble stoned streets is worthwhile for the visitor. You walk past old buildings. If you happen to fall in love with the charm of the past with its seclusion, you can book a holiday home here as well.

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Vézénobres: a charming place

At the foot of the Cevennes, in the small village Vézénobres with no more than 1,700 people, the visitor will find himself in a Mediterranean climate. However, there is also a variety of plant life and a rich historical heritage. And of course, guests can also enjoy a lot of outdoor leisure activities.

Vézénobres: Where the Middle Ages are at home

This village is situated directly on the flanks of a hill between the towns of Alès and Nîmes. Noteworthy are the many historic buildings that were built between the 12th and 15th century. Newer buildings, on the other hand, you will find further downhill.

Foreign visitors should know that cars are not allowed in the historic centre of Vézénobres. However, further down the village, you will find a huge and secure parking lot. From there it is only a short walk up to the village. While walking, you will pass several vineyards, which will get you in the right mood.

Among the most impressive buildings is the Hotel de Montfaucon, with its most impressive and decorative side entrance. The main tower and windows were built during the 16th century.

Worth seeing is also the lower part of Vézénobres and the Church of Saint-André. Among the highlights of this building are the frescoes in the apse, which came to be in the 18th century.

The authentic village

The special charm of Vézénobres is due to its very authentic look. It is not only the roads which run alongside the historic building. Much of the charm is due to its picturesque landscape you can see from the foot of the village. In the town centre, you can see several buildings, which are built in the old Roman style. Attentive observers will notice the numerous architectural features at the houses that have been preserved over the past six centuries. Some of the most beautiful homes in Vézénobres are the way to the Rue des Maisons Romanes. On top of the hill, you can visit the ruins of Château de Montanègre, which has its home here since the 12th and 13th centuries. From this altitude, you also have an enjoyable view over the surrounding countryside.

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Saint-André-de-Valborgne: Green tourism is paramount

The 400-resident community Saint-André-de-Valborgne is known mainly as the centre of its Silkworm farming back then. Today, however, the economy of Département Gard is dependent on its green tourism.

Where is Saint-André-de-Valborgne?

The municipality of Saint André-de-Valborgne is located 65 km northwest of Nimes and about 64 km north of Montpellier in the mountains of the Cevennes near Mont Aigoual. This municipality is characterised by several ridges, with the highest of 1,200 meters above sea level. The city centre, however, is right in the valley of the river Gardon.

The history of Saint-André-de-Valborgne

In writing this village was first mentioned in 1275. Around the same time, they also built the church in Roman style. Initially, it only consisted of the nave and apse. The two chapels were built at a later date. In the Middle Ages, there was also a castle close by, which over time developed around the village.

Monuments of people who fell victim of the religious persecution during the Camisard Wars are exhibited under the bridge.

A stroll through the streets of the town is very impressive, as is the Roman village church. The absolute prime time of Saint-André-de-Valborgne was during the 18th and 19th centuries: The breeding of silkworms made a huge economic impact on the town at those times. Not only grew the wealth but also the townscape changed through the mulberry trees, which were planted for the silkworms.

However, in the 1900 this industry experienced its decline and with it came a massive weakening of the population. Today, Saint-André-de-Valborgne depends on its tourism, with a clear focus on sustainability of the branch.

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Barre-des-Cévennes

Barre-des-Cévennes is a small spot in the Cevennes and located along the route from St. Jean du Gard to Florac. If you want to experience a portion of the panoramic view of the Corniche des Cévennes this place is a must to visit.

Barre-des-Cévennes is a popular place. It consists only of a long main street, with 1 – 2 smaller streets running parallel to it. The street is located on a slight slope with 900 m above sea-level.

At the end of the village, a large car park is provided for the visitors. It will not take you more than 30 minutes to walk the entire village up and down. Partially the buildings are restored. However, there are still enough buildings needing restoration. The stroll through town leads you along meadows and fountains. If you want to walk a little more, you can trek along the circular route. This will take you about 2 hours.

The trail also leads behind or above the town to the rock formation (about 1000 meters above sea level). Here you have spectacular views over the village below and of course - depending on the time of day, weather and lighting conditions – the well-known Cevennes panorama.

What is there to see? Apart from the streets and houses, there is a Protestant and a Catholic church.

The Catholic Church was probably built in the 12th century. The nave is built in Roman style. All the other later added features are Gothic and served to enlarge the building. This church belongs to the listed buildings. However, in the Middle Ages, this place was a sheep and grain market.

Today's Protestant church (temple, built around 1823) is the second Protestant church of Bar. From the previous church, built in 1608 there is nothing left except one stone. This church was destroyed by order of the king during the Camisards war.

The small fountain "La Fontaine du Theron" in one of the pathways to the parallel streets looks very nice. Somewhere in town you still encounter the “Chateau" from the 12th or 13th century. However, it had to be rebuilt after being destroyed in the 16th century. In the 17th century, the then Lord Bar added a blazon above the entrance and two more towers. However, the main tower was removed later. In proximity to the Barre-des-Cévennes is a holiday village. An ideal starting point for hiking in the surrounding Cevennes and to relax.


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