Alleen in het Engels Dank u voor uw begrip! ...
For a successful stay in the Cevennes. Whether you’re in a couple, among friends, flying solo, with teenagers or little ones, if it rain (which never happens) or if it’s windy, here are a few ideas for a fun time in the Cevennes.
- Top 5 things to do with teenagers
1: Swimming in the river and our pool
It is a known fact that kids love water. Here in the Cevennes we are lucky enough to have it in abundance, a fact that holiday makers are keen to exploit. We all know that pleasing teenagers is not always easy, especially when they are forced to live in close quarters with adults for a period longer than 5 minutes. This is why herding the troops down to the river is a total winner. For those not too eager to swim, we have a variety of shores; from sandy banks to small pebbles and even large rocks to soak up the sun. If that sounds a bit too out-doorsy for your children, we have a lovely partially shaded pool complete with sun loungers. But don’t forget, splashing about in the sun is tiring work so make sure they drink plenty! Conveniently our bars terrace overlooks the swimming pools.
2:Adventure trails at Anjeau
A guaranteed fun day out, the adventure playground high up in the trees at Anjeau is great for all ages. Teenagers seem to enjoy it the most, perhaps because it allows them to discover new thrills and sensations all the while being safely harnessed up. You can explore the plethora of routes at various heights and even ride a bicycle through the air! If you have children of different ages, do not worry: the lovely staff at Anjeau have set up a toddlers area. Your little ones can enjoy the fun on specially adapted routes without a harness; as long as they hold a responsible adults hand of course!
3:A day Canoeing
Canoeing is one of the regions specialities. You will find a whole host of centres offering various routes and lengths through our rivers. Although it may seem a bit adventurous for some, the river is quite tame; especially in the summer months as the rain fall is low. Rowing in tandem makes for the perfect parent-teenager bonding exercise as perfect (although rarely accomplished) synchronisation makes for an easier ride. Stop off on a pebble beach with the “ados” and let them set up a barbeque while you enjoy a well deserved dip and a preferably cold drink. A frequently used tactic for keeping your beverages cold is to attach them to the end of the canoe and have them trail behind you in the water as you make your way along the river. Just be sure that you don’t lose them half way up-stream!
4: A day in Montpellier
The kids have had enough of the country side for now? A day in Montpellier will give them their city fix while still being a wonderful day out for everyone. Being a rather particularly southern city, your teenagers will find most things that are familiar from home (shops such as H&M, sushi bars, cinemas etc) but in a spacious, airy and modern layout. This is combined with old historic city centre and roman relics to create a vibrant and culturally impressive metropolis; everyone will find something they like. Being an important student town with more universities and schools than one would like to count; there is always some kind of festival, event, concert and so on happening at any given time. The best thing is that Montpellier is only a 45 minute drive away from Camping Isis en Cevennes so enjoy breakfast at the campsite, leave to be there for lunch and enjoy the afternoon basking in the Mediterranean sunshine as you explore the “capital of the South”.
5: The museum of the Mines and minerals at Ales
Our region was once famous for its mines; copper having been one of its major exports. The now abandoned tunnels are sadly not all that common knowledge but you can delve into the past at the museum of mines and minerals at Ales. Discover the private lives of the mines while your kids marvel at the brilliance of the minerals.
- Top 5 natural sites
1: La Grotte des Demoiselles
The “Grotte” or Cave des Demoiselles is perhaps one of the most beautiful underground sites in the whole of France. Discovered in the 18th Century it was opened to the public in 1931 and hosts the first ever touristic funicular, it was officially inaugurated a year later by the then-president Gaston Doumergue.
This huge underground network has been slowly carved away by water over millions of years and is nothing less than breathe-taking. Host to a multitude of chambers and cavities, columns and calcite “statues” – one so beautiful it has been nicknamed “La vierge avec son enfant” or “The virgin with child”. The cave’s main room or cathedral is awe-inspiringly large, 52 metres high, 48 wide and 120 metres long, it is no wonder it has been previously nominated as a World Heritage Site!
2: Le cirque de Navacelles
The cirque des Navacelles is a geological beauty, the last visual remnants of the once powerful river Vis that tore its way through the limestone plateaus of the Larzac and Blandas. Meandering through kilometres of wilderness, the Vis ends up in the settlement of Navacelles which is now incised. The village itself is quite charming; an impressive waterfall is a favourite for locals and tourists alike during the summer months, allowing them to cool off when the heat gets unbearable. This natural curiosity attracts several hundred thousand tourists a year and in fact, the rustic twisting-turning country roads that scale the impressive gorges are part of the fun!
3: Le Mont Aigoual
This is the highest mountain in the region, towering at 1567 metres above sea level. The views are consequently astonishing; on a clear day one can see the Mediterranean Sea, the mountain ranges of the Massif Central as well as the Pyrenees! It is also the point from which the rivers split their paths to the sea, east of the Aigoual the rivers run into the Atlantic; to the west they make their course to the Mediterranean.
Being so high up, the Aigoual has become home to the French Weather systems (Meteo France) last remaining weather station. The latter has been turned into a weather based museum and incorporates a beautiful season by season collection of photographs.
4: The River Vis and the waterfall at St Lauren le Minier
The River Vis (stemming from the old word “Vir” meaning river) meanders its way through nearly 60 kilometres of the Cevennes landscape from where it takes its source. It is the same river that shaped out the Cirque des Navacelles and that separates the plateaus of Larzac and Blandas.
Perhaps the most impressive and aesthetically pleasing point of the charming river, the St Lauren waterfall is something not to miss. In the summer months the cool waters are a haven for those seeking to cool off and in fact that lovely little bar that overlooks this natural wonder is equipped with misting jets; perfect for sipping your Pastis and people watching.
5: L’Abime de Bramabiau
The Abime de Bramabiau is the point where the river Happiness or “Bonheur” finally surfaces after kilometres underground. Its discovery unofficially marks the beginning of French caving, having been discovered in 1888 by Mr Edouard-Alfred Martel, the father of modern speleology. He also has to his name both the Grotte des Demoiselles and the Aven Armand. A practical set up created in 2006 allows you to resurface about 5 minutes away from the main reception!
- Top 5 historic sites
1: Chromlech de Blandas:
On the Causse of Blandas (the limestone plateaus are typical to the region) can be found something so special that they can easily be missed if one doesn’t know what to look for. While most the other Causses in the region proudly display then dolmens and menhirs, the Causse of Blandas is the only one with cromlechs (in days of GCSE history are a bit far away, a cromlech is a prehistoric structure created from two upright dolmens topped with a third horizontal stone – think Stonehenge). Their limestone or dolomite surfaces do not scar the landscape; in fact their grey bodies seem to gentle blur into the horizon. Three of these structures have been unearthed but at least 6 definitely existed, one of which was sadly destroyed by the creation of the roads passing through the Causses, the other two also disintegrated. It should be noted that their state of conservation was rather precarious before human intervention.
2: Prieuré St Martin de Cézas
Ownership of the Priory at St Martin de Cézas is much debated. It acts as the chapel for three abbeys, Saint-Etienne Saint Sauveur de Tornac, Saint-Pierre de Sauve and Saint-Germain de Montaigne (under the rule of Alѐs) all of which own rights to the land in and around Cézas. Having been heavily involved in the religious wars as well as the local “Guerre des Camisards”, the chapel was in use up to the late 1800s, when the outbuildings are turned into a farm which will then be abandoned in the 20the century. Access is free and the site is open from April to September.
3: Musée Cévenol
Roughly a 15 minute drive away from the Camping Isis en Cevennes you will find the lovely medieval town of Le Vigan. Perched next to the roman bridge is the Musée Cévenol, quite literally a museum of everything that is Cevenol. Covering things from local jobs, typical housing, local weather and more; you can discover the history of the people that formed the land and their culture. The Cevenol people are a distinct and proud race, their cultures and heritage are strong and this museum is the perfect way to immerse yourself in it. The strong but inoffensive architecture, the surrounding houses as well as its terrace and garden make not only the contents of the museum but the building itself very impressive.
4: L’église de St Martial
A roman style church from the XIIth century, the Eglise de St Martial is a work of art. Made of crumbly schist rock it poses serious problems to those wishing to work it.
It is probable that the church was associated to a military construction, now non-existent. It was heavily renovated in the 1980s and the walls harsh stone exposed.
5: Le site préhistorique de Cambous
Whether you are a history fan or not, this prehistoric site is not to be missed! It is the site of the oldest village in France, aging from between 2700 and 2300 B.C. A guided visit of the site (discovered in 1967 by Henri Canet) will allow you to discover the collection of dolmens which are otherwise miss-able in the garrigue, as well as numerous prehistoric hamlets and villages.
On site you also can have discovery lessons to expand your prehistoric knowledge before embarking on the tour.
- Top 5 outdoor sports
1: Hiking in the Cevennes
The Cevennes are home to a very large geological diversity; from limestone plateaus to pine covered mountain faces, they offer a landscape to cater for all abilities and tastes. From slow, meandering walks to more intense hikes and even rock climbing, all bases are covered. The views are breath-taking and the varied vegetation makes for pleasant greenery all year round (pines and evergreens in the winter to miles of blossom covered trees in the spring, the summer leaves giving welcome shade and even the occasional grape vine in the autumn!).
The camping Isis en Cevennes has a whole host of hiking trails all ready mapped out for you, ranging from under an hour to four hours or more for the really adventurous!(Guides are available if you so wish)
Please don’t hesitate to ask the reception staff at Camping Isis en Cevennes for any information or advice.
2: canoeing through the Cevennes Rivers
The Cevennes are the land of the rivers and we at Camping Isis en Cevennes are lucky enough to have the beautiful river of the Herault running smoothly past us. Not only does this give us a great place to swim and cool off in the hot summer months with a good picnic but it is also the perfect river to tackle in a canoe. There are numerous canoe centres scattered along the river near us with routes from 3 to 18 kilometres (we are happy to put you in contact with them if necessary). Relax as you soak up the scenery from the canoe or stop off on one of the many sandy or pebble beaches for a family brunch or a refreshing drink with friends.
The general route is starting upstream, near St Guilhem le Desert, meander slowly through the beautiful and classified gorges to return at your pace to the centre.
For more information on canoeing in the Cevennes
3: Adventure trails at Anjeau
An incredible day out for grown-ups and kids alike, the accrobranche ® or parc aventure ® is a vertiginous trail set high up in the tree tops. You can even ride a bicycle over a tightrope, metres off the ground! Not to worry though, you will be harnessed up and totally safe. There are several trails and activities at various heights to cater for all ages and levels of thrill seeking. Even the little ones can have a go on the “pitchoun” route, ages two and up can explore new sensations without a harness whilst safely holding an adults’ hand. This incredible park is at the foot of the Mont Anjeau, not far from the river Vis and the cirque de Navacelles.
4: Road biking and mountain biking
The Cevennes’s roads are perfect for all levels of biking. From the beginner to the seasoned cyclist they offer a huge diversity of landscapes, inclines, road quality (mountain biking to road cycling) and length of routes. Camping Isis has several already mapped out routes at your disposal through some of the regions’ most beautiful scenery, we even have an “onion” route in dedication to the regions famous “Oignons doux”.
5: Trekking with donkeys and horse-riding
And last but not least, something a little bit special. It’s not everywhere that you can walk across miles of virgin land with a donkey for company but here in the Cevennes, not far from Camping Isis en Cevennes, you can do just that. Perfect for outdoorsy families with small children, the lovely donkeys from Causse et Lamas will happily carry your little ones when their feet get tired, lift morale and can be brilliant company as well as being charmingly novel. For a more traditional pass time there are countless horse riding centres not far from Isis, acting both as schools and most offering a trekking option during the summer season. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the reception staff or click here for more information on donkeys and horses in Cevennes
- Top 5 towns and villages
This beautiful medieval village (about 10 minutes away from camping Isis en Cevennes)has a colourful past. Nestling on the banks of the river Herault Laroque’s landscape is dominated by the XIth century chapel that is literally built into the rock. It was once the active centre of the village, built next to the residences of the Lord and the roman Dames as well as IXth and Xth century donjons. All these historical buildings were and in some places still are protected with high ramparts. The gradual development of this ancient settlement has given it a labyrinth like appearance, random staircases leading nowhere, secret access passages and doors in the most unlikely places give Laroque an almost romantic charm. After discovering the village, why not cool off and get your breath back (for it is built on quite an impressive hill and like the best medieval villages, it is largely pedestrian) in one of the riverside cafes? In typically French style the terraces are set up across the main road from the bars themselves and watching people struggle to drag their canoes down a waterfall is always a good way to unwind. Top tip: the “Salades gourmandes” are brilliant!
The “Rocher de l’Esparon” dominates the local landscape in the Valley de l’Arre. It is a very important viewing point, offering gorgeous scenery for miles around. Its 300 inhabitants are vertiginously perched on the cliff at over 800 metres; hopefully none of them suffer from fear of heights! The rock and the hamlet itself are both classified as Historical Monuments which limits the amount and type of construction that can happen in Bez, allowing it to keep its historical integrity in a region that is being expanded and urbanised. A little hike up to the top will make you feel like you’re a million miles away from modern society and as long as you’re not grossed out by that sort of thing (or too superstitious)take a walk through their charming little graveyard. Keeping in the theme of the weird, perhaps the strangest thing to have happened in Bez involved a loved up couple sharing a moment together near a cross-shaped lightening rod and getting hit by lightening... The morale here: do not go strolling under lightening rods during a thunderstorm.
To put it frankly, Montpellier is a wonderful city. Generally considered the “Capital of the South” it is currently France’s second fastest expanding town and not without good reason. The gorgeous climate with long, warm summers and proximity to the sea haven’t gone unnoticed by the French. This is combined with a historically and literally rich past to create a cosmopolitan and vibrant place to live. Host to a whole smorgasbord of museums, historical places to visit(the old medieval town centre is not to be missed) as well shopping centres both indoors and outside and more modern pass times, their cinema complex is enormous and their new aquarium Mare Nostrum(from the latin name for the Mediterranean, “Our Sea”) is to be further expanded; Montpellier is undoubtedly uber-cool. There are countless universities, specialised colleges as well as schools and shops, bars and other entertainment have popped up in response to demand. For shopaholics, the Polygone is a marvel. Just off the Place de la Comedie (a huge and beautiful pedestrian square home to about a million cafes and restaurants) you can’t miss the Polygone with its modern architecture and the swarms of people carrying shopping bags. Like all good cities should be, Montpellier is airy, green and well looked after. It is the perfect place to lose one’s self for a day.
4: St Guilhem le désert
As far as rich heritage goes, St Guilhem is pretty much as good as it gets. It was the seat of the Camisards. There is a museum dedicated to the history of Protestantism and the Huguenots’ struggle to keep their faith as religious wars tore apart the Cevennes. However St Guilhem is not only historically interesting, it is also beautiful. A lot of French medieval villages and towns have been allowed to deteriorate and in consequence loose a lot of their charm, old stone walls have been covered up, roads widened to allow access to cars, new buildings have been erected all over the place. Not in St Guilhem. The village has been preserved with such dedicated and precision that walking through the narrow little streets; it is all too easy to forget what century it is. Even the guttering is “a l’ancienne” with a lot of the residents favouring old fashioned pottery drain pipes (with beautiful colours) rather than dreary grey modern ones.
St Guilhem le desert really should be an inspiration for all other French medieval towns and villages, a template for conservation and pride of one’s heritage across the country.
5: St Jean de Buéges
St Jean de Buéges is the caving capital amongst the valleys where the river Buéges makes its bed. Amongst the numerous cavities their pierce the Mountain de la Séranne (against which the village rests), the cave “du Garrel” is the most important; it is only discoverable due to an artificial entrance. The areas caves are still being discovered and the labyrinth like formations make progress rather slow. This said, the professional cavers in charge of discovering the underground world are sure they will soon meet the 10 kilometres of tunnels mark. No small feat! However, it is not only underground that St Jean is interesting. The villages’ castle and lordship is mentioned in texts dating back to 990. These were however quite primitive and are only enlarged enough to be recognisable as a modern castle in the XIVth century. Since then it has changed hands several times and was finally rebought in 1987 by Joseph Sicard who was been restoring it since 1990.