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To the West of Rhone valley,...

... in the Departement Lozere, the mountain range of the Cevennes forms one of the most scarcely populated areas of France. Car may prove to be the easiest and most flexible way to get you there. A good alternative are the TGV trains, of which some departures also allow bicycles.


The Cevennes

are criss crossed with roads perfect for bicycling, with very little traffic. On basis of the 1:100,000 maps minor roads and tracks are adressed. Even a small area as the Cevennes can give you good cycling for two or three weeks without having to do the same road twice.

The villages are often dating back to medieval, or even roman times, and there are plenty of ancient bridges and imposant castles for the intrested. The highest top is Mount Aigoual, which is 1565m high and hosts a metereological science station.

Le Rozier,

a short drive from Millau, formed our base camp. Here we leave our car in the shadow of a chestnut tree (chataigniers) - typical to the region.

Starting the last week of August, we cycle two weeks into September. Towards the end of the season, it is less crowded on the campings as well as the road. Though, at the end of the second week of September a lot of campings are closing down.

Following the Tarn river,

from Le Rozier we cycle downstream in the general direction of Millau, along the quiter South side of the gorge. A steady downhill, with magnificent views of a rolling, rural landscape protected by the steep sides of the gorge. As we round the Causse Noir, the parapents and vulptures were flying high above us.

Most of the visitors stay in the river gorge of the Tarn, whereas it is quiter along the Dourbie, that flows right to the south of Caussse Noir.

In Nant,
we share the camping facilities with an american family that has taken the last bicycle train for the season down from Paris, in about 4hrs. they are in the Cevennes 'avec le bicyclete'. Other than a few german and italian visitors closer to the shoreline, the people we met where very much french speaking.

Via Soubes and Lodeve,
the terrain changes from forest and moors of the rugged mountains, to gentle hillocks, where winyards and fresh vegetables are abundant. Following the river Herault, even in beginning of September the temperature hoovers around 30 degrees Celsius close to the sea.

From Meze,
we cut across to Haute Languedoc, via surrealistic valleys and a dried out landscape a baking sun accompanies us to the village and monastery of St-Guillaume. St-Guillaume is a knight, turned monk, turned saint. In the dark ages, he first stopped the moor with sword in hand, then made redemption and founded a monastery in this dreamlike landscape.

Dio,
a tiny village located like an eagles nest is a welcoming stop. For the last decades, the restoration of the local castle has been on-going. From here the road leads back to Larzac.

The distance Ceilhes to Campestre is covered, and now the Cevennes are entered from the South side.

Treves - Meyrueis - Florac,
completes the traverse of the mountain range, with scenic by-ways and scattered villages there are more racing cyclists to meet than motor traffic.

From Florac, the Tarn is followed back to Le Rozier.






Click to entlarge

Bee

Typical house in the Cevennes

Soubes

lava

Haute Languedoc

Haute Languedoc

Dio

Climat: generally cool winters and mild summers
Mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in north and west
Mountainous, Pyrenees in south, Alps in east
Languages: French 100%, take a dictionary with you!
France claims antartica, but the claim is not regonized bij the USA
Bike CULT, routes listed by country
France suffered extensive losses in World Wars I and II
Highest mountain, Mont Blanc 4807 m, highest in Europe
Country Population 59,551,000