We loved it! We have walked lots of trails in different countries and this is right up at the top.”
- Ms. Miller and friends of the UK.
Stevenson Trail is, according to Forbes Traveler, one of the world’s most famous travel adventures. Stevenson Trail – Northern Half retraces the steps taken by The Scot from Le Monastier to La Bastide, across the volcanic Upper Loire Valley and into Gevaudan – a journey of 93 kilometres or around 58 miles.
Robert Louis Stevenson decided to do this trek in order to forget a woman he thought he could never marry. En route, he found another in the shape of ‘Modestine’, a female donkey with whom he became much enamoured.
Stevenson liked his creature comforts and wrote of his experience, “to come down off this feather-bed of civilisation, and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints. Alas, as we get up in life, and are more preoccupied with our affairs, even a holiday is a thing that must be worked for.” Stevenson often slept out under trees in a prototype sleeping bag.
Over one-hundred-and-forty years on, what was hard work for him will be sheer, unadulterated pleasure for you. When hiking Stevenson Trail – Northern Half, you will enjoy good food in the most comfortable hotels the trail has to offer.
- £795.00 Pounds Sterling, or
- €895.00 Euros
- Single person rate: please enquire
Per person in a shared double or twin-bedded room:
- A ‘world’s top travel adventure’ by Forbes Traveler- who recommend The Enlightened Traveller – see ‘yellow highlighted’ link below.
- Enjoy sub-alpine flora, volcanic plateau and the Upper Loire Valley.
- Hike the ancient natural regions of Velay & Gevaudan.
- Beaufort & Luc castles and the Arquejol viaduct.
- Medieval Pradelles and other fine and historic villages en route.
- 7-night, light-to-moderate self-guided tour
- Start any day, mid-April to mid-October.
- Tour starts in Le Puy-en-Velay and finishes in Chasserades.
- Best access: Lyon or Claremont Ferrand – see below.
- Welcoming mix of ‘2-star standard’ hotels and auberges.
- We transport your luggage, you just carry a light day pack.
- 7 nights B & B in ‘2-star standard’ hotels and auberges and all hotel taxes
- 6 evening meals – leaving you free to choose where to eat dinner in le Puy, where options abound.
- Luggage transfers¹ and transport integral to the programme, incl. transfer from Le Puy to Le Monastier, the start of the trail, and from Chasserades to La Bastide [SNCF] at the tour’s end.
- Hiking Insight Notes™ that empower & make orientation easy
- 1:50,000 scale maps & themed vacation dossier. 1:25,000 scale maps are available at extra cost.
- 7/7 and 8 till late native-English speaking emergency telephone help-line service.
¹ You are entitled to take one piece of luggage per person weighing up to 15 kgs – i.e., no suitcase must exceed 15kgs. Supplements are payable for extra or overweight luggage. 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.
Remaining meals and all drinks and extras;
entrances into any optional cultural visits and venues;
hiking, personal and travel insurances;
travel to Le Puy and from La Bastide.
- 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 [2 hrs 20 mins].
- Alternative convenient option is via Clermont-Ferrand [airport or from Paris by train], with onward regional train to Le Puy via St Etienne.
- Departure is via La Bastide SNCF station, with onward rail travel to Clermont-Ferrand [north] or Nimes [south] along Le Cevenol mountain railway. A transfer from Chasserades to La Bastide [SNCF] is included in the tour fees.
- A mix of comfortable, family-run,’2-star standard’ hotels or equivalent chambres d’hotes and auberges.
- En-suite facilities throughout.
- 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.
- Vegetarians are generally well catered for, vegans less so.
- Warm summers; mild and sunny spring & autumn
- Enjoy sub-alpine flora and volcanic plateau.
- Cross two ‘natural’ historical regions – Velay & Gevaudan.
Stevenson Trail Northern Half – Tour Itinerary[Distances and times are approximate]
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.
Le Monastier to Goudet
[6½ miles-9½ kms, 3½ hrs,+190ms,-325ms]
Taxi transfer (20 kms) to Le Monastier, where RLS started his trek. Have a good look around the village, with its abbey, castle and museum before commencing your descent into the Upper Loire Valley.
Night in Goudet.
Goudet to Le Bouchet
[8½ miles-12½ kms, 4½ hrs, +400 ms]
You climb through charming hamlets and across volcanic plateau, before arriving at Stevenson’s next overnight stop.
Night in Le Bouchet St Nicolas.
Le Bouchet to Pradelles.
[12 miles-19 kms, 6 hrs, +285 ms -375 ms]
The climbs and descents are less pronounced today, but the views from the volcanic plateau across to Lake Naussac are superb as you approach the ‘City of the High Prairies’.
Night in Pradelles.
Pradelles to Cheylard l’Eveque
[14½ miles-21½ kms, 6 hrs, +320 ms -350 ms.]
Follow a 19th century variant of the Regordane to Langogne and enjoy a short walk round its historic ‘circulade.’ Then traverse Gevaudan’s volcanic plateau to the medieval village of Cheylard, replete with church, chapel and abbey.
Night in Cheylard l’Eveque.
Cheylard l’Eveque to La Bastide.
[12 miles-19 kms. 5 hrs, +240 ms -380 ms]
Lake Gardille & Luc
Climb through the Gardille forest and lunch beside its eponymous lake, before descending to the impressive ruins of Luc castle. Follow the medieval Regordane Way across the Allier River to the historic resting place of La Bastide Puy-Laurent.
Night in La Bastide.
La Bastide to Chasseradès.
[7.5 miles-12 kms, 4 hrs, +330 ms – 160 ms]
Over the Watershed
You climb to the watershed between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and head down valley to picturesque Chasseradès.
This is a short final day, enabling an optional walk to The Abbey of the Snows (where Stevenson stayed) before leaving La Bastide – a round trip of 3¾ miles/6 kms.
Night in Chasseradès.
Day 8: Departure day – Breakfast, short transfer to La Bastide Gare SNCF and onward journey by mountain railway as per oyur own arrangements. Hope to see you next year for Part Two of this walking tour!