Rich pickings in the Cevennes

15 July 2019

We've enjoyed a fabulous few days in the Cevennes region of southern France. Situated on the Massif Central the region is a wilderness area of mountains, plateaus, deep river gorges, ancient hilltop villages and wonderful wildlife. Needless to say it has extraordinarily windy and steep roads.


The roads were not always wide enough for two vehicles but with lots of curves and spectalular scenery were a delight to ride. The Gorge du Tarn is the most well known part but there are many other spectacular sites to see.


The waters of the river are absolutey crystal clear. We took ride down the steepest part of the gorge in a small boat, traveling along slowly with the river current.


You get a very different view of the gorge on the river than from the road which runs much higher than the river. From the road it all appears quite spectacular but from the water it is much more serene and our drift was accompanied by hundreds of trout, dippers, wagtails and damselflies, none of which you can see from the road. It is a hugely popular area with up to 2000 canoes a day on the river. We took the first boat ride of the morning and didn't see any canoes, they must have all been just getting out of bed still.


It seemed a little incongrous to see a bungy jumping platform in a UNESCO world heritage area but with tourism virtually the only source of employment in the region it is perhaps acceptable. And no we didn't try it, the motorbike is exciting enough for us!


The extraordinary view down to St Chely-du-Tarn heading up to the Col-du-Coperlac.

Follow the road in the picture above if you can, it has two tunnels and a one way system with traffic lights. We also rode across the bridge to the village of St Chely-du-Tarn, if you can work out how we got there.


The full panorama from the top.

The ride up from the bottom was fantastic but I was somewhat amazed to see cyclists happily making their way up to the top! The ecosystems are quite different up on the plateau, there is still some farming up there, cropping and grazing in the summer. We spotted some of the Przewalski horses grazing in a field on the plateau while riding the straight and flat roads up there.


We did a slight detour to see the amazing Millau Viaduct, and of course we had to ride across it.


Well that's it for now from one very happy motorcyclist. Thanks so much to Annie for all the on-board images, she's a genius photographer from the pillion seat! We're off to have a look at the Pont du Gard before it gets dark, stay tuned.

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