Stevenson trail GR70
The Stevenson trail or GR70 goes across Auvergne, Cevennes and Languedoc-Roussillon through Haute-Loire, Ardeche, Lozere and Gard department. It is well marked from Le Puy en Velay via Le Monastier sur Gazeille, Goudet, Le Bouchet St Nicolas, Landos, Pradelles, Langogne, Le Cheylard l'Eveque, Luc, (the historical alternative goes through l'Abbaye Notre Dame des Neiges), La Bastide-Puylaurent, Le Moure de la Gardille, Chasserades, L'Estampe, Les Alpiers, Le Bleymard, Le Mt Lozere, Le Col de Finiels, Le Pont de Montvert, Saint-Julien d'Arpaon, Mijavols, Florac, Cassagnas, St Germain de Calberte, St Etienne Vallee Française, St Jean du Gard, Malbosc (Mialet) and Ales.
On 22nd September, 1878, the young Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson, (RLS), set out on foot from Monastier sur Gazeille in the Haute-Loire with his donkey Modestine. 12 days, 220 kms and many adventures later, he arrived at Saint Jean de Gard. He had a twofold objective - to try and forget his love for Fanny Osbourne, the beautiful American woman who he in fact eventually married some years later - and to explore the countryside of the Camisards, the French Protestants, from the rugged and isolated Cévennes region of southern France.
He wrote an amusing account of his journey and a long distance footpath (GR 70) has been devised with the object of letting us walk in Stevenson's footsteps. We will read about Stevenson's adventures as we have our own.
This beautiful trail follows footpaths, ancient bridleways and drove roads and fits conveniently into a fortnight of walking. We start in the Velay area and then move through some of the remotest countryside in France strewn with beautiful old historic villages. After Velay we move into the Gévaudan area and then the Cévennes, protected by National Park status, and rising above the plains of the Languedoc and the Mediterranean. The Cévennes is a maze of deep valleys with winding rivers of clear waters and hill slopes covered in forests of sweet chestnut along with the mulberry which was planted in days gone by for feeding the silkworms bred in the mills called magnaneries. A country of rebellion and tradition, the Cévennes gradually reveals a bit more of itself at each bend in its glorious footpaths. In the latter stretches of the walk we arrive at the land of the Camisards, infamous for 100 years of fighting between Protestants and Catholics in the Middle Ages.
Towns and villages stages of GR70
|19km Le Puy en Velay > Le Monastier sur Gazeille|
|22km Le Monastier sur Gazeille > Le Bouchet Saint Nicolas|
|20km Le Bouchet Saint Nicolas > Pradelles|
|19km Pradelles > Le Cheylard L'Evêque|
|19km Le Cheylard L'Evêque > La Bastide-Puylaurent|
|26km La Bastide-Puylaurent > Les Alpiers (Le Bleymard)|
|20km Les Alpiers (Le Bleymard) > Le Pont de Montvert|
|28km Le Pont de Montvert > Florac|
|16km Florac > Cassagnas|
|16km Cassagnas > St Germain de Calberte|
|21km St Germain de Calberte > St Jean du Gard|
|26km St Jean du Gard > Alès|
Step by step, follow the path taken by the famous writer of " Treasure Island" from the volcanic plateaus of the "basse Auvergne", the Gévaudan and the Mont Lozere, through the outstanding scenery of the Cévennes to the Camisard area and St Jean du Gard.
In preparation read "Travel with a donkey in the Cévennes" by Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as the topo-guide GR70 "Stevenson's Way" and "Cévennes" by Kenneth White.
The route is mainly at a height of about 1000 meters, from North to South. To get there you go through the Loire, the Allier, the Lot and the Tarn. The trip ends with Mont Finiels (1700 m.) and the Signal de Goudes (1400 m.).
The route begins at Le Puy en Velay and goes along the volcanic plateaus of the Velay. Afterwards you enter the Gévaudan having crossed the Allier. This is the region where, according to the legend, a monster lived, among heather, rocks and pines.
Mont Lozère, where upright stones mark the route for hikers, forms the third part of the journey. From this stony view-point one can see the Cévennes and the "bas-Languedoc" and as far as the Mediterranean Sea. The path pushes into the Cevennes in the land of the Camisards. You will be surrounded by terraced chestnut-trees.
The richness of its flora and fauna is notable. Since the reintroduction of wild vultures, beavers, wild sheep and big "Tétras" the biodiversity is even greater.
Some areas have been recolonized by otters, black woodpeckers, Teungmalm owls, eagles, horned owls, etc
Guesthouses complete list edited by the Cevennes National Park "Guesthouses in the Cevennes" (free brochure). Info: Parc National des Cévennes, BP 25, F-48400 Florac, 04.66.49.53.01, 04.66.49.53.02
Old romantic Hotel, L'Etoile Guest-House is a mountain retreat in the South of France. With a beautiful park along the Allier River, L'Etoile Guesthouse is located in La Bastide-Puylaurent between Lozere, Ardeche and Cevennes. Many hiking trails like GR70 Stevenson trail, Regordane way (St Gilles trail), GR7, GR72, Le Cevenol, Roujanel, Margeride loop and Allier river trail. The right place to relax.