A Superb Walking Holiday
lovely region is a walker's delight. On
the borders of three different departments:
the area is criss-crossed by some of the most dramatic river gorges in
The Lovliest Walks, Translated into English
Numerous walking guides are published in France but they are all in French! We are delighted to be able to offer our English speaking guests instructions for the best walks in this lovely region, written in English. Every winter we are out and about testing new walks, the best of which we translate into English for our Anglophone guests at Villa les Roches.
We have compliled a self-guided week's walking holiday on the theme of River Gorges and Lakes. It is available free of charge to our guests and includes detailed itineraries in English for 6 days of superb walking, plus suggestions for 2 alternative ‘days off’. Most days consist of a way-marked walk in the morning and another in the afternoon, but together, they total no more than 12 km per day. You can do both, or one or the other - just as much as you feel you want to - and there are suggestions for other activities too, if you prefer, such as relaxing on a lakeside beach.
Please note that you will definitely need a car to get around on this holiday. Also, the car will enable you to drive through some glorious scenery! The starting point of most walks is within 30 – 45 mins. driving distance from Villa les Roches.
For a summary of the week's walking itineraries, click here.
Walking in Wild and Rocky Lozère
If you love dramatic gorges, rocky terrain and endless mountains, then Lozère is the place for you to do some unforgettable walking! Not far away, the Chassezac Gorge has several superb way-marked walks through spectacular mountain scenery.
The Margeride Mid-Mountains are just a short drive away where you walk through tiny, forgotten hamlets that huddle timelessly within vast landscapes. In springtime, the meadows are full of narcissi and the mountains are ablaze with yellow broom.
No visit to this area would be complete without spending a full day in the Gorges du Tarn, (1½ hours away by car) and the Gorge de la Jonte where there are some simply unforgettable walks high over the gorges and passing by such amazing natural rock formations as the famous Sèvre Vase.
(See also the "Other Activities" page of this site for more photos/info. on the Gorge du Tarn).
Walking in the Volcanic Haute Loire
Here the landscape is flatter, punctuated by mysterious, rounded volcanic outcrops, (long since dormant), which afford panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
A walk around the Bouchet Lake, formed in a volcanic crater,(½ hour away from Villa les Roches), followed by a trek through wooded countryside to see the Baume waterfall makes a pleasant day out. You could also top off the day with a visit to the nearby village of Arlempdes with its spectacular medieval castle perched high on a rocky volcanic peak (open air Theatrical Festival last weekend of July).
Walking in Rugged Ardèche
The Ardèche border is only a short drive away but as the altitude lowers, so the landscape changes. There is dramatic scenery to enjoy, including the famous Gorges de l'Ardèche, (2 hours away). There are walks through thyme scented heathland, beside olive groves and vineyards and through picturesque sun-lit villages. Some of the loveliest are Balazuc, Vogüé and Banne- another fabulous day out!
One charming way of enhancing a day’s walk, is to hire one or more long-eared friends to accompany you. Donkeys make endearing walking companions and they will willingly carry your lunch (and theirs too!) You can hire a donkey from Gilles Romand in nearby Pradelles, (listed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages of France).
For those who enjoy the challenge of a long-distance trail, stopping each night at a different location, there are several GR routes (grandes randonnées) that cross this region. The Stevenson Trail, for example, retraces the steps of the young Robert Louis Stevenson who hiked here for 12 days in the company of a donkey called Modestine. He set out at Le Monastier in Haute Loire, passed through Langogne and carried on through the Cévennes mountains to reach his ultimate destination in St Jean du Gard.
Long-distance trails passing near Langogne are:
Others can be found on the Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre website http://www.ffrandonnee.fr/