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Lozère: The Tarn and Jonte gorges in the Cévennes National Park

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Who doesn’t think of winding coastal roads, the sound of the sea and palm trees swaying in the wind when planning a road trip through southern France? What does all this have to do with the Lozère? Pretty much nothing. Except maybe for the winding roads. There are a lot of them in the Lozère. The Lozère is wild, barren and untouched. It is the complete opposite of what you imagine when you think of the south of France. And: We will remember it first and foremost as the most spectacular stop of our trip.

In this blog article we will show you why the Lozère the gorges of the Tarn (Gorges du Tarn) and the gorges of the Jonte (Gorges de la Jonte). Of course, as always, we have a few insider tips for you. Ready?

1. The Lozère and the Cévennes National Park Crazy thing: From everyone 96 Of the departments that belong to mainland France, Lozère is the least populated. And we can confirm: We have rarely traveled through such a sparsely populated region as the Lozère! You often drive for miles through lonely stretches of land. This is probably also the reason why the Lozère left such a lasting impression on us.

The Lozère is an unspeakably spectacular region in the south of France: two Rivers, the Tarn and the Jonte, have carved deep gorges in the Cevennes and divided them into calcareous plateaus: the so-called “Causses”. In other words, the landscape of the Lozère combines breathtaking gorges and barren, endless plateaus. Believe us: This is such a natural spectacle that even after several days we couldn’t get enough of the canyon landscapes of the Lozère. Not to mention the picturesque, tiny little mountain villages where time has stood still.

Our experience: For whom is a holiday in Lozère suitable? ? If you are planning a trip to the Lozère, you should like nature – that’s for sure. The Cevennes National Park is known for its extensive network of hiking trails: Several multi-day hikes run across the Cevennes National Park or through the Lozère. So if you’ve always wanted to conquer a long-distance hiking trail, then off to the Lozère. The Lozère is also very well known for its climbing areas: Some of the most popular climbing routes in France run along the Tarn Gorges.

But don’t worry: the Lozère lets you can also be explored very easily with a rental car, just like we did. Short hikes are also possible in many places.

2. The Tarn Gorges (Gorges du Tarn) and its villages What follows is a little song of praise to the Canyon landscapes of the Lozère: They are so breathtaking that we are still a bit at a loss for words. The spectacular Gorges du Tarn (often called Tarnschlucht(en) or gorges of the Tarn in German) with its mountain villages built on and into the cliff faces is the starting point.

If you are in the valley by car driving along the Tarn Gorge, it can sometimes be a bit oppressive. In some places the road is so narrow that we fervently wished we didn’t meet oncoming traffic. On the left the cliff face – on the right the abyss.

You can walk the entire road from Le Rozier (the starting point of the Tarn Gorges) to the famous Castelbouc drive down along the banks of the Tarn. However, it is definitely worth driving up one of the junctions. Because the Tarn Gorge is only really impressive when you admire it from above.

Point Sublime One of our first encounters with the Lozère was the view from Point Sublime. If he doesn’t live up to his name! “Sublime” means something like “overwhelming”. And exactly this word describes the long-distance view best of all.

One of the Point Sublime suits you the most spectacular sections of the Gorges du Tarn at your feet. The viewpoint is one of the best known and most popular in the entire gorge. So we don’t have to mention that we made an extra long photo stop there, do we? Our conclusion: Be sure to stop by!

You can drive your rental car right up to the vantage point and park there in the free parking lot. There is also a small café where you can buy something to drink. Incidentally, we didn’t take our photos from the official viewing terrace, but a few minutes away from it in a quieter spot.

La Malène La Malène is a picture-perfect village in the Tarn Gorge. The eye-catcher of La Malène is the castle called “Manoir de Montesquoi” and it is worth a stop for this sight alone. A little tip: You can only see the whole beauty of the mountain village from a little distance. If you drive up the switchbacks on the other side of the gorge, you have a great panoramic view over La Malène.

And another tip: La Malène is also a popular starting point for exploring the Tarn Gorge from the water to explore. Unfortunately we didn’t do that due to time constraints, but a trip with the “Bateliers des Gorges du Tarn” must be pretty impressive.

Sainte-Enimie Sainte-Enimie is the most famous place in the Tarn Gorges. Coming from the west, we already had an enchanting view of the mountain village with its photogenic bridge upon arrival. Not surprising that Sainte-Enimie is one of the most beautiful villages in France, isn’t it?

In the town center you meet a comparatively large number of visitors, but don’t worry: Sainte-Enimie has still retained the charm of a secluded mountain village. We strongly recommend that you park your car and take a walk through the picturesque medieval town center to the Notre-Dame-du-Gourg church.

Castelbouc No village in the Tarn Gorge is as exceptional as Castelbouc. At first glance, one could easily overlook the houses that press against and into the rock face. If you come from Sainte-Enimie, you already have a great view of Castelbouc a few hundred meters before you enter the town.

Your car must be parked before you enter the town at the latest . (There are only very few parking spaces, but we were lucky.) From the parking lot you can either just take a short walk through Castlebouc or take a 2-hour hike, which also includes leads past the castle ruins.

3. The Jonte Gorge (Gorges de la Jonte) and its villages Slightly further south, a little less known but no less worth seeing: The Jonte Gorge, also called “Gorges de la Jonte”. It may not be quite as spectacular as its big sister, the Tarn Gorge, but it’s definitely worth a stop too.

Meyrueis A good starting point for exploring the Gorges de la Jonte is Meyrueis. We have not seen as many people in the rest of the Jonte Gorge as in Meyrueis. There are actually several cafes, restaurants and also hotels. We had a quick “Noisette” (that’s the name for an espresso macchiato) in one of the cafés. If you have a little more time, you can also visit the Dargilan Cave which is about 15 by car from Meyrueis.

Stopovers on the way From Meyrueis you can easily follow the road towards Le Rozier. There are always worthwhile stops along the way, including, for example, the viewpoint “Belvedere Vautours”. It is very close to the Maison des Vautours. Explanation: The French “Vautours” means “vulture”. At the Maison du Vautours you can learn more about the vultures that you see circling overhead in the Jonte Gorges. However, we ourselves were only at the nearby vantage point, which is a few hundred meters further in the direction of Le Rozier.

Another tip (which is not directly on the way, but it should not go unmentioned): The Grotte Aven Armand which is not far from our accommodation (more on that later). Unfortunately we didn’t manage to visit the grotto in time.

Le Rozier Not at all you can’t miss the lovely place Le Rozier, where the Tarn and Jonte Gorges meet. Our tip: Le Rozier is simply beautiful to look at from a distance! Be sure to park your car on the side of the road at the entrance to the town center to enjoy the view. A postcard motif, we tell you!

And then we also have a second tip that really comes from the heart: In the Restaurant “L’Alicanta”, which belongs to the Hôtel Doussière, you not only have a fabulous view, but above all you can also dine excellently. Great recommendation!

4. Hyelzas: Visiting the Sheep & the Fromagerie La Fédou From the Gorges to the “Causses” : The extensive, barren limestone plateaus in the Lozère are also definitely worth a visit. We ended up in the tiny village of Hyelzas in the Causse Méjan. And when we say tiny, we mean tiny: Hyelzas has about 50 Inhabitants, but ten times as many sheep!

In this idyllic place far away from – felt – any civilization we were not only allowed to stay overnight, but also pay a visit to the sheep breeder Anaïs. She created something pretty amazing there: “Des brebis et des hommes”, in English: “Of sheep and people”. It gives visitors an authentic and honest insight into sheep farming and cheese production.

Now think about it 100% passion for it! Voilà: this is an afternoon with Anaïs. If anyone knows anything about animal-friendly sheep farming, it’s her. “I love my sheep”, was the sentence we heard most often from her that day. She cuddled with the sheep, stroked them and played with them. Incidentally, their sheep are used exclusively for milk production and are not slaughtered.

After the visit to the sheep, of course, the cheese tasting followed: And that in the Fromagerie La Fédou, where cheese is made from the milk of Anais’ sheep. As cheese fans, we can claim that we have seldom tasted such good cheese.

Lastly, Anaïs brought us to a former farm in Hyelzas. If you are interested in history in any way, then we highly recommend a visit. With the help of a brochure (also available in German), you can go from room to room on your own and learn an incredible amount about agriculture in earlier times. Conclusion: Surprisingly exciting!

The most important information about “Des brebis et des hommes” Price: 15 Euro for adults, 10 Euro reduced, 11 Euro for children

Duration: about 3 hours
Language: Anaïs speaks good English ; the brochure in the old farm is even in German

You can find more information and contact options on the website: Des brebis et des hommes

5. Our accommodation in Hyelzas: Overnight stay in a stone house In keeping with the charm of the wild Lozère, we spent two nights in an old stone house . “Le gîte de La Doline” is the name of the enchanting place that felt like it was in the middle of nowhere and where we could really switch off again. Ok, nowhere is not quite right: Hyelzas has at least 50 Residents.

Just as family as you would expect accommodation in a 96 residents of the village, is the “Le gîte de La Doline” too. And that is exactly what makes it so charming: in the evening, all the guests gather to toast the day with an aperitif and then have dinner together. The hostess then serves dinner in person – and also offers wine in the carafe.

The “Le gîte de La Doline” has only very few rooms. The guests are mainly hikers, because the accommodation is located along a well-known hiking route through the Cévennes National Park. Incidentally, on both days we were not only the only ones who had traveled by car, but also the only non-French guests. With our fragmentary French, understanding was a bit difficult, but we still had such wonderful encounters that we wouldn’t want to miss!

Another small tip for better orientation: The accommodation is sometimes also ” Gîte Four à pain” (for example on the signs in the village).

Here you come to the official website with all information (unfortunately only in French): Le gîte de La Doline

6. Onward journey via Florac: grandiose views Unexpected things often happen. On our last morning, the Lozère gave us a small farewell present. We were on our way to the famous Pont du Gard when we were rewarded with this view just before Florac. It’s really at a loss for words, isn’t it?

We’ve got the mini vantage point for you, which is right on the road (D 16) is marked on the map so that you can find it as well find. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we only caught a glimpse of Florac while driving past. But at least we have a reason to come back!

Transparency: {Advertisement} For this blog article we have collaborated with the French National Tourist Board (Atout France). As part of the #facesoffrance nature campaign, we were allowed to travel through southern France for two weeks – including the Lozère department. Of course, this cooperation has no influence on our opinion.

This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever been to the Gorges du Tarn, the Gorges de la Jonte or any other place in Lozère? Or do you have any other tips for the region? We look forward to your experiences!