The little extra effort required to get to France’s remote interior is richly rewarded. Exploring both canyon and the upland at a leisurely pace makes for an extremely well-balanced and varied walking holiday.”
The Tarn Gorge has a legendary status among French hikers. As such you are likely to meet Gallic ‘randonneurs’ from the six corners of The Hexagon. Most come to escape the crowds that saturate Alpine and Pyrenean trails. However, the main attraction is to enjoy some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery, architecture and raptors.
Tarn Gorge walking allows you time to imbibe the extraordinary ambiance. It is an eight-day hiking extravaganza that takes you clockwise from majestic Meyrueis and back. On the way you enjoy overnighters in Le Rozier, Les Vignes, La Malène, St Chely, sumptuous Ste-Enimie and Nivoliers. These carefully-selected staging posts are laced together by fine trails boasting remarkable rock formations and scenery. Great care has been taken in finding complementary and comfortable accommodation – but those wishing to upgrade to superior hotels can opt for our 7-night Tarn Gorge Walks EXTRA trip.
Tarn Gorge Walking affords you the ultimate insight into this peaceful and remote region – a green paradise. You walk paths as spectacular as the ‘Balcon du Sud’ in The Alps; visit deserted troglodyte ruins that will spark your imagination; and marvel at the rich and varied flora, befitting of the Parc National des Cevennes. The icing on the cake? Definitely the recently reintroduced and thriving raptors, led by the griffin vulture.
Tarn Gorge Walking’s first three days follow a common trail, whilst the following two days provide options according to your personal preferences that you can select on the day.
- £870.00 Pounds Sterling or €1020.00 Euros
[per person in a shared double or twin-bedded room]
- Single person rate – please enquire
- Balcon de Vertige & its spectacular rock formations
- Tarn & Jonte Gorges
- Causses Méjean and Sauveterre limestone plateau
- Troglodyte & Proto-historic villages
- Raptors, including Griffin vultures
- 9-night, self-guided moderate tour, with lighter options on two days if preferred
- Start any day, early April to late October
- Start and finish in Meyrueis
- Best access via taxi from Millau
- Good standard of accommodation, with Extra comfort upgrade
- We transport your luggage, you just carry a light day pack.
- 9-nights B&B:
- 5 picnic lunches and 8 evening meals – leaving you free to choose where to eat dinner on your final night in Meyrueis and in Ste-Enimie, where options abound.
- Luggage transfers throughout
- 1:25,000 scale map, excellent walking notes & comprehensive tour dossier
- 7/7 Telephone back-up & support from 8am ’til late
- A mix of welcoming 2-star standard hotels, guest houses and auberges
- Three nights in a 3-star hotel, four in 2-star hotels, one country auberge and one guest house
- En-suite facilities throughout.
- See the tour pdf flyer or ask us for further details. Best access via Millau bus/train station :
- Taxi transfer to Meyrueis from Millau [60 minutes and approx. 100 euros].
- Bus from Montpellier to Millau [2 hours].
- Safe car parking for the duration of the tour is available for those arriving by car.
The nearest airport is Montpellier or Nimes.
Best departure point is also Millau for onward travel to Montpellier by bus. Alternative strategy being taxi to Florac followed by bus to Alès (75 mins) and train to Nimes (40 mins).
- Warm, dry summers; mild spring and autumn
- Undulating limestone plateau, deeply incised canyons
Tarn Gorge walking – Tour Itinerary[Times, elevations and distances are approximate]
Day 1: Arrive in Meyrueis via Millau where your three-star hotel awaits with outdoor pool and indoor spa. Night in Meyrueis.
Meyrueis to St Tripiers
[12 miles-19 kms, 6½ hrs, +595ms/-400ms]
The opening day sees you climb out of Meyrueis with fine views over the gorge de la Jonte. You get your first experience of walking the splendours of the expansive trails of Causse Mejean and visit some fine Caussenarde villages en route. A quick look at the Ecomuseum is de rigeur before striding out towards St Tripiers.
Night in St Tripiers.
St Tripiers to Le Rozier
[7½-12½ kms, 5hrs, +145ms/-620ms]
Balcon de Vertige
A real contrast today as you explore grottos and the remains of a pre-historic village before walking the fabulous ‘balcon de vertige’ and its colossal vase-shaped rock forms. There are no metal ladders or chains to negotiate, so just take your time and enjoy the splendid vistas. And it will take longer than the distance would lead you to believe!
Night in Le Rozier-Peyreleau.
Le Rozier to Les Vignes
[9 miles-14½ kms, 5½hrs, +580ms/-205ms]
A day to remember. You cross the Tarn and climb through the woods to another fine ridge that leads to the day’s first fascinating troglodyte ruins. No time to snooze lest the vultures mistake you for lunch! Further along you round the Cirque de St Marcellin before discovering its eponymous troglodyte chapel. Sacre Balade!
Night in Les Vignes.
Les Vignes to La Malène
a) Light Route: 7½ miles-12 kms, 4½ hrs, +135ms/-100ms, or
b) Moderate Route: 8 miles/13½ kms, 6 hrs, +500ms/-475ms.]
The two options today have equal length but pose different levels of challenge. The light option takes you riverside past Cirque de Baumes and the fascinating lost hamlet of La Croze, whilst the moderate alternative two takes you back up to Causse Mejean. Then why not enjoy a one-hour boat trip down the river in the company of ‘the boatmen of La Malène’ or defer the delights until the next morning? A must!
Night in La Malène.
La Malène to St-Chely du Tarn
a) Light Route: 5½ miles-9 kms, 3 hrs, +60ms/-30ms, or
b) Moderate Route: 11½ miles / 18½ kms, 6 hrs, +690ms/-560 ms
High road to Hauterives?
Two options again, with the same diverse challenge: the gentle and bucolic valley trail versus the Causse and more some superb views from up high. All roads lead to an overnight stay to savour in St Chely, where a heated pool awaits you.
Night in St Chely du Tarn.
St-Chely to Ste-Enimie
[3½ miles 6 kms – 2 hrs, +120ms/-90ms, plus town ramble]
En route and inside St Enimie
A gentle and scenic stroll above the Tarn awaits you on this rest day, en route to the picturesque village of St Enimie. We then recommend an afternoon walk to the cliff-side chapel and a ramble round the historic centre.
Night in Ste-Enimie
Ste-Enimie to Nivoliers
[9.5 miles/15 kms, 4.5 hrs, +570ms/-90ms.]
Chemin de transhumance
A morning climb gives up some glorious views back down to the village and along the Gorge. Take your time and take it all in! The tree-covered western Causse Mejean is a delight to hike and we prefer the wilder GR60 crossing favoured by transhumance. The village of Nivoliers is a peach, and the auberge comfortable and with great food.
Night in Nivoliers.
Nivoliers to Meyrueis
[8.5 miles/13.5 kms, 4 hrs, +200ms/-450ms.]
Serre de Pauparelle
Another reason we favour the GR60 is that we couldn’t bear the thought of you missing this day’s walking – short but very, very sweet. Unforgettable countryside, a lost hamlet and the GRP with jaw-dropping views of the Jonte Gorge and eventually of Meyrueis itself. Enjoy the descent and your evening canalside.
Final night in Meyrueis.
Day 10: Departure day – end of your Tarn Gorge walking tour – Breakfast, bon retour et à bientôt! Onward journey by taxi transfer to either Millau or Florac followed by bus to Alès – not included in your tour fees.
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Other Moderate tours to consider are…
Independent testimonials about The Enlightened Traveller can be read here:
- Spectacular scenery - arguably the best of our moderate-challenge tours
- Choice of two levels of accommodation to suit your budget
- Options on two days according to your preferences: so much more than just walking along a river bank!
- The 'Balcon de Vertige' is not for vertigo sufferers, but an alternative variant exists
- No departure by public transport from Ste-Enimie, but several transfer options exist - ask for details
- The best days involve morning ascents and afternoon descents - well worth the extra effort!
- This is vulture country - watch out for your sandwiches!
Enjoy discovering part of the Cevennes National Park and the opportunity to walk both limestone table-top and the deeply-incised canyons of both the Tarn and the Jonte."
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