Stevenson Trail – Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR70

Stevenson Trail – Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70 is not only a classic walk; in many ways it serves as the benchmark for leisure hiking. It’s your chance to walk the world’s original recreational hike.

Overall amazing experience – life changing!”

- John & Therese from Australia.

Since Robert Louis Stevenson walked through Cevennes in 1878, he ignited a curiosity that has become a national treasure: The Stevenson Trail. Originally way-marked in the blue and white of the St Andrew’s Cross, the nineties saw it re-branded as the GR70. Now Cevennes’ most famous trail, you will find various ways of walking this literary classic on this page. However, whilst it serves as a fine introduction to Cevennes walking, note that you traverse three other ancient and natural ‘regions’ before you reach the Cévenol valleys: Velay, Gevaudan and Mont Lozère.

For concise tour details, download the appropriate tour pdf. Run your cursor over the image to download either the 10-night [left] or the 12-night [right] version to suit. Alternatively, click through the sub-headings in the right-hand column for information on tour access, accommodation, availability, content and costs and read the summary below.

New – please check out the independent customer reviews for the tour at the foot of the page!

Stevenson Trail – Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70 links Le Monastier, near Puy-en-Velay in the Haute Loire, to St Jean du Gard in south-eastern Cevennes, a distance of 156-miles/252 kms. Walked by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1878, the trail inspired him to write Travels with a Donkey in Cévennes (1879). That ground-breaking book is considered a classic of outdoor literature and set the standard for travelogues. Moreover, Stevenson can be considered in many ways to be the pioneer of the whole modern hiking movement, as the book was the first to present hiking and camping as recreational activities.

Stevenson Trail – The Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70 sees you walking what’s now considered one of the top ten trails in France, increasingly popular with hikers wishing to retrace RLS’s footsteps. If you are someone who loves classic inn-to-inn trails, in deepest rural France, then this hike across volcanic upland and down steep schist valley is guaranteed to delight. And if you only ever plan to do one such trek, then this is arguably the one to do.

Stevenson Trail - Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70 map

    10-night rate:

  • Per person in a shared double or twin-bedded room:
    £895.00 Pounds Sterling or €1040.00 Euros
  • Single person rate:
    £1195.00 Pounds Sterling or €1395.00 Euros


  • 12-night rate:

  • Per person in a shared double or twin-bedded room:
    £1095.00 Pounds Sterling or €1220.00 Euros
  • Single person rate:
    £1375.00 Pounds Sterling or €1555.00 Euros
  • A ‘world’s top travel adventure’ by Forbes Traveler- who recommend The Enlightened Traveller – see ‘yellow highlighted’ link below.
  • Enjoy sub-alpine to Mediterranean flora and volcanic plateau to schist valley topography.
  • Hike the best of the Cevennes’ hill-crests and Mont Lozere – 5573 ft/1699 m.
  • Choose from the options available to personalise the trek to suit your needs.
  • Visit fascinating and historic villages en route.
  • 10 or 12-night, moderate self-guided tour
  • Several options exist to reduce the challenge: a 13-nighter cuts Day 2 in half; walk just the northern or the southern half, the ‘Best of’ or the ‘very best of’ – see appropriate categories or ask us for details.
  • Start any day, mid-April to mid-October.
  • Tour starts in Le Puy-en-Velay and finishes in St Jean du Gard, near Ales.
  • Best access: Lyon airport or SNCF, with onward train to Le Puy via St Etienne.
  • Welcoming mix of ‘2-star standard’ hotels and auberges.
  • Optional end-of-tour transfers to Ales, Nimes or Le Puy – please ask us for details.
  • We transport your luggage, you just carry a light day pack.
  • 10 or 12 nights nights B & B in ‘2-star standard’ hotels and auberges and all hotel taxes
  • 8 or 10 evening meals – leaving you free to choose where to eat dinner in le Puy and St Jean – several options are available, listed in the tour dossier.
  • Luggage transfers¹ and transport integral to the programme, incl. transfer from Le Puy to Le Monastier, 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.

Notes:
¹ You are entitled to take up to three pieces of luggage per couple, each weighing up to 13 kgs – i.e., no suitcase must exceed 13kgs and the max. weight is 3 x 13 kgs or 39 kgs. Single travelers may take two cases or up to 26 kgs. Supplements are payable for extra or overweight luggage.

Note: we are able to arrange for your excess luggage to be securely stored for the duration of your tour and delivered to the final hotel before your departure. Please ask us for further details of this service if it is of interest to you.

Not included:
Remaining meals and all drinks and extras;
personal expenses;
entrances into any optional cultural visits and venues;
hiking, personal and travel insurances;
travel to Le Puy and from St. Jean du Gard.

  • Nearest airport or SNCF station is Lyon [3 hrs on TGV from Paris or Lille] with onward train journey to Le Puy via St Etienne.
  • Next-best access is via Nimes or Montpellier airports, with onward TGV to Lyon – 30 and 60 minute journeys, respectively.
  • Alternative convenient option is via Clermont-Ferrand airport, with onward regional train to Le Puy via St Etienne.
Departure from the tour from St Jean du Gard.
  • There is a bus to Ales that departs from The Post Office at approx 8.30 am,
    arriving in Ales station at 09.25. You can download the timetable here.
  • Onward trains from Ales to Nimes take 40 minutes. Find the train times here.
  • There is also a direct bus to Nimes and you can download the A12 timetable here.
  • Alternatively, we can arrange a taxi to Ales for approx. 65 Euros [60 minutes] and you can pay the driver on the day. If you require this service, please let us know.
  • A mix of comfortable, family-run,’2-star standard’ hotels or equivalent chambres d’hotes and auberges.
  • En-suite facilities.
  • Evening meals follow a fixed menu format for all half-board guests and do not include drinks. Most hotel menus provide a meat or fish dish, plus a vegetarian option; whilst chambres d’hotes and auberges tend to function around one common meal of which all guests partake, bar vegetarians, who would have an alternative dish. All showcase ‘produits du terroirs’ typical of the regions through which you walk.
  • Warm summers; mild and sunny spring & autumn
  • Enjoy sub-alpine to Mediterranean flora and volcanic plateau to schist valley topography.
  • Cross four ‘natural’ historical regions – Velay, Gevaudan, Mont Lozere & Cevennes.

Stevenson Trail - Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70: Lozere Gard Upper Loire Ardeche map

Stevenson Trail – Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70 brings you wholesome food, or ‘produits du terroir’, throughout the trail that traverses four natural regions: Velay, Gevaudan, Mont Lozere and Cevennes. You will also stay in the best and most welcoming accommodation that there is at each and every stage along the way – in stark contrast to Stevenson, who slept out in a proto-type sleeping bag that he engineered himself. It was rather heavy, thus his decision to trek with a donkey. We transport your luggage for you, so all you need to carry across Auvergne and into Languedoc-Roussillon is your light daypack.

Stevenson Trail – The Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70 is much more than just a great walk – it sets the standard that all other pretenders have to match.

 

Stevenson Trail – Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR70

Distances, elevations and timings are approximate. Note that the twelve night version cuts Days 6 and 9 in half, leaving just one long day – Day 8.

Day 1: Arrival in Le Puy en Velay and hotel check-in. A visit to Puy merits a day’s stay in itself, so much history is there here to enjoy – get there early! Night in Le Puy.

Day 2

Le Puy to
Le Bouchet

[13 miles-21 kms, 6.5 hrs, +460 ms -175 ms]

Across Haute Loire

Taxi transfer (20 kms) to Le Monastier and the start of the trail. After a short descent into the Loire Valley, you climb over 400 metres, through charming hamlets and across volcanic plateau before arriving at Stevenson’s first overnight stop.

Night in Le Bouchet St Nicolas.

Day 3

Le Bouchet to Pradelles

[12 miles-19 kms, 5 hrs, +285 ms -375 ms].

To the Granite Cité

The ascents and descents are less steep today, but the walking is far from flat as you climb to the volcanic plateau from the Arquejol Viaduct before the descent to the fine granite ‘City of the High Prairies’.

Night in Pradelles.

Day 4

Pradelles to Cheylard l’Eveque

[11 miles-18 kms, 6 hrs, +310 ms -320 ms]

Mercoire Forest

You descend to Langogne along a trail shared with the Regordane way, into the land of the ‘Beast of Gevaudan’, through forest and charming hamlet en route to the medieval village of Cheylard, repleat with church, chapel and abbey.

Night in Cheylard.

Day 5

Cheylard l’Eveque to La Bastide

[12 miles-19 kms, 5 hrs, +240 ms -380 ms]

Lake Gardille

You climb through Gardille forest and lunch beside its eponymous lake before pushing onto Luc castle. Then you follow the medieval Regordane alongside the Cevenol railway and cross the Allier River en route to your historic coaching inn.

Night in La Bastide Puylaurent.

Day 6

La Bastide to
Le Bleymard

[18 miles-28.5 kms, 7.5 hrs, +610 ms -550 ms]

The Watershed

Climb to Chambonnet Plateau, cross the Atlantic-Mediterranean watershed and head down valley to picture-postcard Chasseradès. You enter the Cevennes proper, with enjoy a fine walk alongside the fledgling River Lot.

Night in Le Bleymard.

This LONG DAY can be halved by opting for our 12-night version

Day 7

Le Bleymard to
Pont de Montvert

[10.25 miles-16.5 kms, approx. 6.5 hrs, +630 ms -824 ms].

Mont Lozere

A memorable ascent to Mont Lozere, and the highest point in south-central France, Le Pic de Finiels (1699 ms). Then it’s a steep descent followed by a gentle hike to Le Pont de Montvert and into Camisard Country.

Night in Pont de Montvert.

Day 8

Pont de Montvert
to Florac

[17.5 miles-28 kms, 7 hrs, +545 ms -875 ms; short cut at 24 kms]

Signal du Bouges

The day is blessed with some memorable views over the ‘blue waves’ of the Cevennes hills as you walk mountain crest, crossing from Mediterranean to Alpine flora and back along the watershed.

Night in Florac.

The one unavoidable LONG DAY – opt for the final short cut!

Day 9

Florac to
St Germain de Calberte

[18 miles-28.5 kms, 7 hrs,
+470 ms -263 ms].

The Mimente Valley

You enter the steep-sided, red rock Mimente Valley, and past the ruins of the château at St. Julien d’Arapon, en route to the hamlet of Cassagnas, a Camisard stronghold. You then pass through Pierre Plantée Pass at 891 ms and past several menhirs and chestnut groves, the traditional staff of life in the Cevennes.

Night in St Germain.

This LONG DAY can be halved by opting for our 12-night version

Day 10

St Germain to
St. Jean du Gard

[13 miles-21 kms, approx. 6 hrs, +350 ms -900 ms]

Corniche des Cevennes

Your last-day’s trekking has you walking the Corniche des Cevennes and climbing to a 360 degree vantage point for those last-gasp photos. The sharp descent to the Gardon Valley is a fitting finale and you have earned the right to chill out beside the heated outdoor pool or enjoy the delights of this market town, with castle, museums and plenty of cafes and restaurants.

Night in St Jean.

Day 11: Departure day – end of Stevenson Trail – Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR 70 – Breakfast, bon retour et a la prochaine! Bus or taxi transfer to Ales or Nimes [not included in the tour fees] or optional return transfer to Le Puy – please ask us for details.

Independent testimonials about walking the Stevenson Way with The Enlightened Traveller can be read here:

Stevenson Trail – Robert Louis Stevenson Route GR70
4 Our Rating
Customer Score 4.6 (10 votes)
Pros
  • A modern literary classic through deepest rural France
  • Several options to personalise the tour length/challenge exist
  • Cross four 'natural regions' and the Atlantic/Mediterranean watershed
Cons
  • One long day - but the fine views make you forget it!
  • The heat of the Cevennes valleys in July and August
  • The best times to walk the trail [May & September] are the most popular
Theme
A journey across four historic regions, each with its own architecture, cuisine, flora and topography."
Comfort & Cuisine
Scenery & Trails
Overall rating
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