Lozere – Languedoc-Roussillon’s secret department

Lozere – Languedoc-Roussillon’s secret department

Discover a land of endless beauty where the great outdoors is king!

To say that the Lozere department in the northern Languedoc Roussillon has been largely overlooked by English speaking tourists would be something of an understatement; many tourists to the region may not even be aware that the Languedoc Roussillon has a fifth department.

In fact, the Lozere is the least populated department in France with a mere 73,000 inhabitants – the city of Nimes alone has roughly twice as many inhabitants – and the main industry is farming. So it’s easy to see why that the Lozere isn’t one of the busiest or most talked about European destinations. Without a major airport servicing the UK and with a capital city no larger than a medium sized town the Lozere has been bypassed by many conventional holiday makers looking for the sun and sea along the Languedoc’s Mediterranean coast.

This however is a real shame as improved road links means that the Lozere is easily accessible and, even better, the Lozere offers its visitors something really special: miles and miles of unspoilt, glorious countryside and rich local history and traditions to discover. The incredible natural beauty of the Lozere makes it the perfect destination for those who truly appreciate the great outdoors and really do want to “get away from it all”.

With an average height of over 1000m, the department is one of the highest in France, and this makes for a wild and rugged terrain where, in the summer you really feel closer to the sky, and in winter you can enjoy many winter sports available at extremely affordable prices.

The Lozere is divided quite naturally into four area each with its unique character and attractions.

Aubrac – This wide open plateau is one of the highest in the region and is the Lozere’s cattle rearing centre, home to the Aubrac cows that graze in the beautiful pastures, prairies and moorlands. With almost 2000 species of flora and many lakes and stream it is a nature lover’s paradise.

Margeride – This area to the north-east is known for its granite. More rugged but no less beautiful this land of forests, moors and grass lands are home to bison and wolves living in semi-captivity. This landscape, strewn with naturally eroded boulders and rocks, seems like a beautiful natural sculpture garden and is a sight to be seen.

Tarn Gorges and the Grands Causses – Here the Tarn River has cut through the limestone landscape of the Grands Causses creating the dramatic canyon that is the Gorges de Tarn. The scenery is breathtaking and this is the place to take advantage of caving and canoeing. Here too you can indulge in some of the department’s greatest culinary traditions: fédou, lévéjac and roquefort cheeses all have their origins in this striking landscape.

The Cevennes & Mont Lozere – This area to the south-east of the Lozere offers yet another panoramic experience as the harsh mountains start to give way to the Cevennes National park in the south and the warmth of the Mediterranean Sea beyond. Steeped in history, the Cevennes is the former stronghold of the Huguenots and the area Robert Louis Stevenson famously explored by donkey.

You can choose to take a family camping trip or rent yourselves a self catering gite. Alternatively you can travel light and tour round the region while staying in B&B’s or hotels. Either way this is a “green” holiday destination where you will want to be outside.

Rambling anywhere in the region is a pleasure and the Lozere has over 2000km of well maintained and sign posted trails. This type of terrain is also perfect for horse riding and mountain biking. And for the keen fisherman the area is renowned for its trout fishing. Throw in canoeing, paragliding, potholing, climbing and of course winter sports and you have the making of an unforgettable holiday.

Transport links to the Lozere from destinations like the UK have also improved. The Lozere is easily accessible from Rodez (1 hour, thirty minutes), Nimes and Montpellier (both two hours).0


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