This extraordinary national park is bursting with peaks, gorges and caves
The valley’s high passes and deep gorges typify the grand landscapes of the Cévennes. Its rock-strewn chestnut and oak forests are especially stunning in autumn. Thines itself has an extraordinary 12th-century church and breathtaking views.
This ancient forest of scrubby oaks and limestone boulders weathered into fantastical natural sculptures is a classified Sensitive Natural Area. Nicknamed ‘forest of the fairies’, these natural labyrinths, cover 16km and harbour a wealth of biodiversity.
This high pass through the Tanargue Massif connects the regional parks of the Monts d’Ardèche and the Parc National des Cévennes and offers exquisite views of the entire countryside. At nearly 4,500ft, it’s a favourite with hikers and paragliders.
This remarkable formation of sheer granite cliffs and outcrops offers a stunning variety of landscapes and activities. Its rugged terrain and tumultuous river make it a favourite for river sports and trout fishing.
This rugged stepped landscape has been compared with Mongolia for its wide-open spaces and high limestone plateaus. Giant dolomite structures, interspersed with ancient hamlets, are home to a 3,000-year-old pastoral tradition and four rare vulture species.
A mighty roar precedes your view of this famous waterfall, reached via a pretty 10-minute walk down rocky steps to the perfect viewing spot. Rising 200ft above crystal clear pools, it is set among forest and the giant granite boulders of the Mont Lozère.
One of the most remarkable landscapes of France, its gorges, forests and fertile valleys are protected natural sites and a Special Protection Zone for its abundance of birds, including raptors and the endangered Ortolan sparrow.
GROTTES DE L’AVEN ARMAND AND DARGILAN
Aven Armand’s glittering formations include the tallest known stalagmite (100 ft). “The cave of a thousand colours”, Dargilan is hailed by cavers as one of the prettiest in the world.
A circuit on the Tour de France 2020, this 5,100ft peak offers unlimited panoramas with views of the Med and the Alps. It’s a spectacular place to visit, especially the fortress-like observatory, France’s highest weather station. Don’t miss the Meteorological Museum.
A Grand Site de France and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this extraordinary natural amphitheatre offers three lookout points over one of the deepest canyons in Europe and some of the most breathtaking hikes in France.
Unique in France, this 160-year-old park and forest harbours 240 species of bamboo, Japanese maple, Ginkgo, Sequoia, and so much more, covering 84 acres of rolling hills and lakes. Stroll through the Dragon Valley, Laotian Village and water gardens.
The Musée du Désert tells the violent history of the Camisards, protestant insurgents who resisted the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Don’t miss the Trabuc cave, the Cévennes’ largest underground network.
From France Today magazine
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