Hiking Cevennes Heaven encompasses a multitude of themes and is an excellent introduction to hill-walking in Unesco’s most recent World Heritage site.”
- Maddie-Morganne - The Enlightened Traveller.
Hiking Cevennes Heaven introduces you to the rolling waves of hills and valleys of an area of extraordinary diversity possessing a strong self-identity expressed through several universal themes:
i) Having oppressed Protestant Huguenots in the early eighteenth century, a Spirit of Freedom evolved that sought to champion The Rights of Man. The Cevennes turned volte face and became a refuge for those escaping oppression, be they Spanish Republican, Jew, French Resistance Fighter or Hippy.
ii) The struggle for self sufficiency against ineluctable economic forces – the birth and decline of ways of life due to pestilence, competition and ‘progress’ and countryside exodus, followed by tentative re-settlement by those wishing to preserve ancient crafts or seeking an alternative, organic future.
iii) Man’s struggle to master nature – dams, irrigated terraces and aqueducts are testimony to man’s structuring of his environment to both protect himself from the ravages of water and capture it for his needs.
- £435.00 GBP or €490.00 Euros [per person in a shared double or twin-bedded room]
- Enjoy a fabulous walk along the mountain crest en route to St Jean du Gard.
- Walk the final section of the Stevenson Trail.
- Visit the Museum of the Desert in Mialet [in memory of the Protestants persecuted in Cevennes] and the Museum of Cevenol Life in St Jean*
- Opportunity to enjoy a steam train ride to Anduze and back*.
* Costs are not included in the tour.
- 4-night, moderate, self-guided tour
- Start any day, mid-March to mid-October.
- Tour starts in Ales and finishes in St Jean du Gard.
- Best access: Nimes airport or SNCF, with alternative options from either Lyon, Montpellier or Marseille.
- Welcoming mix of ‘2-and 3-star standard’ hotels.
- We transport your luggage, you just carry a light day pack.
- 4 nights B & B and all hotel taxes
- 1 evening meal and a picnic lunch included – leaving you free to choose where to eat dinner in Ales and St Jean du Gard.
- Luggage transfers and transport integral to the programme, incl. transfers on Day Two to the start of the trail.
- Hiking Insight Notes™ that empower & make orientation easy
- 1:25,000 scale maps & themed vacation dossier.
- Emergency telephone help-line service with native-English speaking local backup.
- Convenient from either Nimes airport or TGV railway station, with onward train to Ales taking 40 minutes.
- Next-best access is via Avignon, Lyon, Marseille or Montpellier airports, with onward TGV to Nimes – 30, 60, 90 and 60 minute journeys, respectively.
- Departure from St Jean du Gard is by bus [60 mins, but not on a Sunday] or taxi [45mins costing 60 euros]. Please ask for details.
- Two 3-star hotels and one 2-star hotel.
- En-suite facilities.
- Two hotels with outdoor heated swimming pools.
- Warm summers; mild and sunny spring & autumn
- Enjoy Mediterranean flora and schist valley topography.
Hiking Cevennes Heaven comprises a high standard of accommodation and three full-day walks, with the option to shorten the second [middle] day to the morning only. The last day has you sampling the final stage of the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail, which you will hopefully come back to walk in the future.
Hiking Cevennes Heaven – Tour Itinerary
[Times, distances and elevations are approximate.]
Day 1: Arrival in Ales and hotel check-in. Then visit this attractive and modern market town that is the gateway to the Cevennes. Night in Ales.
Ales to Mialet
[12 miles-18 kms, +520ms/-565ms, 6 hrs.]
Short morning transfer to the Cevennes foothills. Your walk brings you outstanding views as you cross the mountain crest: eastwards over the entire garrigue as far as Mont Ventoux and beyond to the Alps; northwards to Mont Lozere, south-westwards to Mont Aigoual and southwards to Pic St Loup and the Mediterranean. You then head south and past a dolmen site before arriving at a key heritage site of Cevennes culture – Mas-Soubeyran and The Musee du Desert – a shrine of tolerance.
Night near Mialet.
Mialet to St Jean du Gard.
[light: 6 miles-9.5 kms, +160ms/-155ms, 4 hrs; or
[moderate: 11.5 miles-18 km, +/-315ms, 6 hrs]
Gardon du Mialet
Today you follow hill-crests and drop down into picturesque valley. The views are stunning. The Camisards are never far away, as you cross the Gardon Valley and follow the GR 61 to the charming town of St Jean, with its picture-postcard ‘gare’, fascinating museum, castle, cafes and restaurants.
Night in St Jean du Gard.
St Jean du Gard circular.
[10 miles-15kms, +/-485ms, 5 hrs.]
Corniche des Cevennes
Climb an ancient drovers’ trail, walked by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1878, to a memorable 360 degree panorama.
Second night in St Jean du Gard.
Day 5: Departure day – Enjoy your breakfast and onward travel to Ales by either bus [except Sundays] or taxi. Please ask us for details.
Read our articles on:
Independent testimonials about The Enlightened Traveller can be read here:
- Enjoy a fabulous walk along the mountain crest from Ales to Mialet.
- Walk the final section of the Stevenson Trail – a taster before returning to walk it all?
- Visit the Museum of the Desert [in memory of the Protestants persecuted in Cevennes] and the Museum of Cevenol Life.
- Too hot to handle from July to late August - best in early-to-late spring and from September to mid-October
- One dinner and a picnic lunch included – you choose where to eat dinner in Ales and St Jean du Gard, where options are plentiful.
Cevennes is an oasis of peace and tranquility; and just like the myriad peoples who have sought refuge there over the centuries, you too can get away from it all and back to nature. And access and departure is remarkably simple!"
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