In addition to superb walking, the Lozère, Haute Loire, Ardèche regions offer a huge range of varied of activities for you to enjoy during your stay, whether you want to particpate in a sport, go on a fun day out, visit an animal conservation park or take part in local rural life. The local tourist offices of Langogne, Mende and Le Puy en Velay will provide further information.
Swimming & Sunbathing
Forget the overcrowded beaches of the Mediterranean! So much nicer, less crowded and much more beautiful are the numerous lakeside and riverside beaches, set in the shade of pine trees amid stunning mountain scenery with swimming in clear, fresh water. In summer, there are beaches with swimming, (some are supervised) at Lake Naussac, (1km from Villa les Roches), in the Loire Gorge at Goudet, (29 km away), at the foot of a castle in stunning Arlempdes, (31 km), at Lake Issarlès, (32 km), at Solignac sur Loire, (34 km), at Ste Eulalie, (34 km) and at Lake Villefort, (44 km).
Within walking distance, (15 minutes on foot) is the beautiful Lac de Naussac, with sailing, windsurfing and swimming, plus mountain bike trails. The Lac d’Issarlès (½ hour drive) and le Lac du Bouchet ((½ hour drive) have non motorised sailing.
Canoeing and white-water rafting are available in the Gorges de L'Allier, about an hour's drive away. Further afield, in the Gorges du Tarn and the Gorges de l'Ardèche, you can hire a canoe for one or several days.
Lozère, crossed by the rivers Lot, Allier, Tarn, Truyère, Bès, and Jonte offers 2 800 kilometres of exceptional fishing making it one of the finest departments in all France for this sport. And, what's more, the rivers are unpolluted and crystal clear. The flourishing lichen you see here everywhere on the trees bears witness to the purity of the air and the absence of pollution.A professional fishing guide can be hired to take you to the choicest spots. Otherwise you can take your pick from the numerous rivers around or go no further than our own stretch of the Langouyrou at Villa les Roches, where you can fish for wild fario trout. Holiday-makers fishing permits are available locally which entitles you to 15 consecutive days of fishing. Click here for more details in English.
Caving, Canyoning and Climbing
There are opportunites canyoning and climbing in the Gorges du Chassezac (1/2 hour away) and for caving and climbing in the Gorges du Tarn There are also local guides who can accompany you on caving or climbing expeditions. Caving, canyoning and climbing are also available in Ardèche,
The Little Tourist Train of the Allier Gorge
The special train Le Petit Train Touristique des Gorges de l'Allier runs from Langogne to Langeac through the spectacular scenery of the Allier Gorge and is open May to September but booking is essential. On arrival in Langeac, before your return journey, you can bathe in the river, visit Langeac or dine in the restaurant.
The Vélo-Rail at Pradelles
Have fun on pedalling on this 15km decommissioned track of railway line. The Pradelles Vélo-Rail passes through tunnels, over viaducts and through landscapes formed by ancient volcanic activity. Booking recommended.
There are several kinds of animal parks in Lozère, often combining conservation of endangered species with fund-raising tourism.
The Wolves of Gévaudan
In the 19th century, a mysterious wolf-like creature roamed through this countryside, (then called Gévaudan) for almost 3 years, slaughtering animals and killing people. The animal became legendary and is referred to as the "Beast of Gévaudan". There are no wild wolves today in Lozère, but in the Loups du Gévaudan Animal Park you can see four species of wolves – Canadian, Mongolian, Siberian and Polish. From mid July to mid August you also have the unusual opportunity to visit the reserve between 10.30 and 11.30 at night, when, with a guide, you can observe the wolves’ nocturnal movements. This visit terminates with all guests "howling" out loud with the wolves!
The Bisons of Europe
bison roamed through European forests from pre-historic times till the
Middle Ages when it became almost extinct. Only a small herd survived
till modern times, in Poland. Fearing that, if ever
there were an outbreak of disease, the European bison would be
wiped out completely, an additional reserve was sought in another part
of Europe. Lozère provided the perfect climate
and hence the
Bisons of Europe park came into existence.
The guided tour of the park is conducted in a horse-drawn carriage, which is not only charming but safe, too.
The Przewalski Horses
The Przewalski horse is the last surviving wild horse in the world, but only 1000 remain and all are kept in semi captivity at the moment. The conservation project on the Causse Méjéan is an attempt to encourage breeding in semi-captivity with the ultimate aim of re-introducing these horses back into the complete wild in their native Mongolia. There are no guided tours but if you are visiting the Gorge du Tarn area, stopping to watch these small, prehistoric horses running freely over the Causse is a very beautiful sight.
Discovering Historic Villages
For those who enjoy wandering through historic villages, there are 6 villages within easy travelling distance of Villa les Roches that are listed among the Most Beautiful Villages in France. These are Pradelles, (10 mins drive), Arlempdes, (20 mins drive), La Garde Guérin, ( half an hour's drive), Ste. Enimie, (2 hours away), Vogüé and Balazuc, (both about 2 hours away). In addition, there are numerous other charming rural villages to see.
Markets and Antique Fairs
Markets are held in Langogne every Saturday morning and in summer on Tuesday mornings too. There are numerous antique fairs (foires à la brocante), attic clearances, (vide-greniers) and shop clearance markets (braderies) in and around Langogne and if you'd like to see if any coincide with your visit, you could consult the Brocabrac site, which is constantly updated.
Fêtes & Festivals
You might be tempted to think that, tucked away in this mid-mountain area, not much goes on. Wrong!! The summer brings a constant round of festivities in which you are cordially invited to participate – indeed, if you do, the locals will be delighted to proudly share their local traditions with you!
Fairs & Festivals in & Around Langogne
Every June, Langogne celebrates the glory of the yellow broom (genet), with La Foire du Genet. At that time of year, the mountainsides are ablaze with the sweet-smelling, yellow blossom.
The 14th July is Bastille day and is celebrated in Langogne with an excellent firework display and dancing in the streets.
Every July, Langogne hosts a week-long International Folk Festival, with first-rate performers from all over the world. The performances are held every evening, outside, in the square beside the church.
Langogne Annual Town Festival
In summer each village in the area has its own annual fair. The Langogne Town Festival is held in the opening days of August and includes a carnival procession, open air concerts (the Festiv’Allier), street markets plus a giant, communal meal of traditional Aligot followed by a fireworks display.
Festivals in Chastanier
The nearby village of Chastanier has a particularly active programme of fairs. Not to be missed, if are lucky enough to be here at the time, is the Grand Accordion Gala, with a dinner and dance in the evening. Everyone welcome!
Bread Festival, Chastanier
The Chastanier Bread Festival in July will really immerse you in local traditions. Here, you can watch how Henry, the baker, uses ancestral bread-making techniques to fashion the dough, ignite the wood fire in the village bread oven and bring it to just the right temperature before he pops in the loaves. Then comes the divine smell of baking bread and, finally – best of all - when the loaves have cooled a bit - he’ll offer you a freshly baked chunk to sample! There are also attic clearance and craft sales and, in the evening you will be invited to join the locals for a grill and fries while watching an entertaining performance or two.
Wool Spinning Mill
Right on our doorstep, in the town of Langogne, is the Musée des Calquières, a water-driven spinning mill which demonstrates how wool from mountain sheep was traditionally spun here, in Lozère.
A visit to the nearby Toison d'Or farm is an opportunity to see wool providing animals such as llamas, alpacas, goats and rabbits.Today, however, you are more likely to see cattle grazing on the hillsides than sheep as cattle production has laregly replaced sheep farming in this region.
You may not expect to find a theatre tucked away in a tiny mountain village, but YES, there is one! Just a 10 minute drive from Villa les Roches, in the village of St Flour de Mercoire, you will find a simply charming little theatre called Arentelle. Going to one of the excellent performances would make a delightful evening out during a stay at Les Roches. There is a wonderfully intimate atmosphere and, after the performance, you get to meet the actors over home-made cakes and a glass of wine!