National Parks of France # 3: The Cévennes National Park

In Occitanie, to the south-east of the Massif Central, the Cévennes National Park extends over the departments of Lozère, Gard and Ardèche.

Dthe summits of Mont Lozère in the north, up to Mont Aigoual in the southwest, the Cévennes National Park is a middle mountain territory. His remarkable natural, cultural and landscape heritage justified the placement in a national park in 1970. About fifteen years later, this national park was finally appointed biosphere reserve by UNESCO, "for the successful balance between man and nature, and for the dynamic process which associates local actors in the sustainable development of the territory".

Remarkable sites

In the Cévennes, wonder is daily. On the limestone plateaus of Causse Mejean and Sauveterre, in the heart of the Tarn and Jonte gorges, through the moors, pastures and rocky chaos of Mount Lozère, in the shade of the chestnut and oak groves of the Cévennes valleys, this unspoiled territory conceals sumptuous places. The Aigoual massif hosts the last medium mountain meteorological station in France. From its summit, the 360 ​​° C view gives a glimpse of Mont Ventoux, the Prealps, the Montpellier hinterland and the Pic Saint-Loup. On a clear day, it is even possible to admire the Mediterranean!

The exceptional biodiversity of the Cévennes National Park

The Cévennes National Park brings together nearly 170 types of natural environments. They are home to 11 plant species and 000 animal species. Since the 2s, the Grands Causses in collaboration with the League for the Protection of Birds, have enabled the reintroduction of vultures. There are now nearly 600 pairs of griffon vultures, monks and precnoptera.

Vultures in the Cévennes National Park

A historical heritage on the edge of the Causse

Since 2011, the agro-pastoral cultural landscapes of Causses and Cévennes are inscribed on the list of World Heritage of Humanity. The old buildings and the pastoralism areas are safeguarded and enhanced. The restoration of old buildings and built elements of the landscape calls for traditional know-how. Local materials are preferred when carrying out the work. Nowadays, 700 inhabitants live year round in the heart of the park.

Herd in the Cévennes National Park

On the road to sustainable development

For decades, the Cévennes have become aware of the richness of their territory. They therefore decided to include its development in respect for nature and people living there. This is how all the partners present in the territory support the maintenance of agro-pastoralism. This multi-millennial activity is essential to preservation of open environments. The inhabitants and the communities are also committed to the promotion of ecotourism. They are also consolidating the “dry stone” and “lauze” sectors.

Alley of Anduze
Alley of Anduze

A mine of sporting and cultural activities

In the Cévennes, the hiking trails are numerous. You can follow the Chemin de Régordane, the famous Chemin de Stevenson or even the Céveno Country Tourl. These magnificent routes weave through ridges, forests and vineyards. Thrill seekers can learn via ferrata in Florac, Villefort or Castanet. They can then practice mountain biking in the Cévennes valley, or even kayaking in the Gorges du Tarn. On the cultural side, traditional rural architecture, megaliths, the Desert Museum and traces of the region's industrial and mining past will delight history buffs.

The Gorges du Tarn

50 years of the Cévennes National Park

This year, the Cévennes National Park blows out its 50 candles. On this occasion, various events are therefore organized in Florac on September 25 and 26. The theme will then be “Let's visit the past, celebrate the present and dream of the future of the Cévennes”. Round table on the impact of climate change, futuristic workshops, children's workshops, talk with the help of the Underground Theater, exhibitions, concerts and video screenings are on the program of the festivities.