C259ST - SOUTH PART OF STEVENSON TRAIL – 8 DAYS/7 NIGHTS - $1848.00
Price per person on twin share basis: $1848.00
In the autumn of 1878, R.L. Stevenson, the young Scottish writer who became famous for his book Treasure Island, settled into a small village to the south of Le Puy-en-Velay to prepare an initiatory journey across Les Cévennes. One month later, he left Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille with his lone companion Modestine, the temperamental donkey which carried his baggage. His journey was to bring him in contact with the Cévenols, descendants of the Camisards who fought and were persecuted after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. For 12 days he travelled across Le Velay, Le Gevaudan and the Cévenol region to arrive in Saint Jean du Gard. He tells this journey in his book entitled Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. This hike covers the second part of R.L. Stevenson’s journey. From Chasseradès you will cross the Goulet Mountain to Le Bleymard and climb up Le Mont Lozère. You will descend into the Cévenol region, heading towards Le Pont de Montvert and the Tarn Valley to arrive in the magnificent little village of Florac. You will disappear into the Cévennes, a deep and mysterious region, and into the chestnut forests that cover the hillsides and valleys, hiding the peaceful, picturesque villages that sleep there. Slowly, you will descend towards Saint Jean du Gard and the Midi of France.
Day 1 - Arrival in CHASSERADES. A taxi will bring you from the La Bastide Puy Laurent train station to Chasseradès. Beautiful 12th century, roman-style church with a lauze-covered roof (lauze is a stone created by lava that is specific to this region of France) - Dinner, lodging and breakfast in a one-star hotel.
Day 2 - CHASSERADES – LE BLEYMARD (14 km – 3.30 hours walk). You will make your way to Mirandol and its famous viaduct and continue on to l’Estampe, at the bottom of the Goulet Mountain. The path zigzags through the forest, passes through the abandoned village of Serremejean, and then heads down the southern slope to Bleymard - Dinner, lodging and breakfast in a two-star hotel.
Day 3 - LE BLEYMARD – LE PONT DE MONTVERT (18 km – 5 hours walk). Here starts the long climb up Mont Lozère. You will pass by Le Mazel, which holds ancient mines, and follow the long and difficult climb through the forest. When you need a rest, sit alongside one of the few waterfalls along the route. Just beyond Le Chalet du Mont Lozère, the landscape changes. The crests become covered by nothing more than a sad prairie from which rise towers of granite stone (called Montjoies) marking the footpath. You will have a startling view of the Pic de Finiels at 1,699 metres. Finally your work will be rewarded with the downward conclusion of the hike, bringing you through the forest to Finiels, and then further still to Le Pont de Montvert, at the bottom of the Tarn Valley. Dinner, lodging and breakfast in a two-star hotel.
Day 4 - LE PONT DE MONTVERT – FLORAC (28 km – 8 hours walk). You will visit the village where, in 1702, the assassination of the Abbot Chayla marked the start of the War of the Camisards. You will pick up the path again – though not that which R.L. Stevenson followed through the Tarn Valley, as it is too dangerous today, but the lovely route passing through the Montagne de Bougès and the Col du Sapet (pass) – to arrive in Florac, a magnificent little village which you simply must visit - Dinner, lodging and breakfast in a two-star hotel.
Day 5 - FLORAC – CASSAGNAS (17 km – 4.30 hours walk). After leaving Florac, you will climb up the steep sided valley of La Minente to arrive in Saint Julien d’Arpaon and the looming ruins of its medieval castle. You will follow the old train tracks to Cassagnas - Dinner, lodging and breakfast in a charming guesthouse
Day 6 - CASSAGNAS – SAINT GERMAIN DE CALBERTE (16 km – 4.30 hours walk). You will climb slowly through the forest to Le Plan de Fontmort where an obelisk commemorating the martyrs of the War of the Camisards stands. You will arrive at the Pierre Plantée Pass where you will admire the dolmens, menhirs, and other roman ruins that decorate the route. The day ends above Saint Germain de Calberte, at the hamlet of La Serre de la Can, where your hotel is located - Dinner, lodging and breakfast in a two-star hotel.
Day 7 - SAINT GERMAIN DE CALBERTE – SAINT JEAN DU GARD (22 km – 6.30 hours walk). You will climb down into the very typical village of Saint Germain and visit the 12th/14th century church which houses the tomb of Abbot Chayla. The path will lead you down valleys towards Saint Etienne Vallée Française, a wonderful village of narrow streets. You will then climb towards the Saint Pierre Pass for a beautiful view of the region, and descend again, this time into the Valley of Gardon Saint Jean, to reach Saint Jean du Gard. Dinner, lodging and breakfast in a two-star hotel.
Day 8 - SAINT JEAN DU GARD. Tour ends after breakfast.
From beginning of May to middle of October but be careful this area is very crowded in summer time. Nevertheless this area attracts a lot of tourists and you have to reserve earlier to get the best rooms.
- 7 nights’ accommodation in selected 1 & 2-star hotels or guesthouse
- 7 breakfasts – 7 dinners
- Hotel to hotel luggage transfer along the trail.
- Taxi transfer: La Bastide rail station to Chasseradés
- A set of maps (1/25 000 scale) with the route marked on and detailed route notes describing the trail
- A daily itinerary together with information about facilities and places of interest along the trail.
- Emergency assistance
- Transportation to and from the walk area
- Transfers except those mentioned above
- Drinks and additional meals
- Personal expenses
Getting there and away
By train: You will arrive at La Bastide Puy Laurent. For your return, you will take a bus from Saint Jean du Gard to the Alès train station
Grade 3 - walks of between 5 and 8 hours a day with ascents up to 700 metres. Some hiking experience is advisable. A reasonable level of fitness and some stamina are required for these walks. You may cover long distances in remote countryside and the terrain will be rough underfoot. In mountainous areas you will encounter some sustained ascents and descents.