LE MONT BOUQUET
Mont Busquet is a huge limestone promontory located between Alès and Bagnols-sur-Cèze, in the Gard department and the Occitanie region. It is 629 metres high at the Guidon du Bouquet. Its summit is crowned with a chapel sheltering the Virgin Mary (Our Admirable Mother of Mount Bouquet, a pilgrimage site) as well as a big TDF antenna which is 60 metres high. From the summit it is possible to enjoy a panoramic view over the Cévennes and Alès to the north-west; the Rhône valley and Mont Ventoux to the east ; and the Garrigues to the south. The site is very popular with gliders (paragliders and more rarely hang-gliders) who take off from the top of the steep cliff at the top of the eastern face, or from the southern face.
LES CONCLUSES DE LUSSAN
The gorges carved out by the Aiguillon and Merderis rivers are dominated by high cliffs. Over a 6km stretch, they offer visitors spectacular “giant cauldrons”, rocky gateways, arches, viewpoints … And are only accessible on foot. Located 5 km to the north of Lussan on the Verfeuil road, the Concluses de Lussan are a genuinely exceptional site offering startling and fanciful views.
The Concluses are both a series of long, wild gorges and also a rocky gorge that has been hollowed out over time by the Aiguillon, a little river that is dry in the summer, but which is turbulent and impetuous during the heavy precipitation that occurs predominantly in the autumn… It is strongly recommended that you do not visit during these brief periods of heavy rain.
From the top of the path that takes you to the “gateway”, the view is stunning: rocky escarpments, cavities in the river bed, known as “the Devil’s cauldrons”, and a chaotic assortment of rocks and boulders give the site an impressive appearance… On leaving the car park, the path descends along the gorge for 30 minutes opposite the zebra striped cliffs with their holes and caverns, before you arrive at the “gateway”, a gully that is almost completely closed over at the top, through which the river flows and visitors cross on a bridge. Once you’re right at the bottom you can savour the silence and the beauty of this site in the calm of this rocky cathedral.
LA PIERRE PLANTÉE
Overlooking the Concluses site and 3 km from the hamlet of Beth, the Pierre Plantée, or Planted Stone, is a huge menhir (5.6 metres high) testifying to the presence of prehistoric people.
According to historians, the stone was erected as an act of devotion to divine powers.
Not far from the hamlet of Léque, the Table des Turcs dolmen is worth going out of your way to visit.
LA GROTTE DE LA SALAMANDRE À MEJANNE LE CLAP
Welcome to the Kingdom of the Crystal Giants Come and share in the emotions of the experience with four possible ways of visiting the caves: the Belvedere which is accessible in a wheelchair, the fascinating Guided Tour, the famous Great Abseil (explore the cave through its ceiling during a 50 metre collective abseil) and the Coulisses de la Salamandre (an engaging trail that is fun, offers great views and requires a bit of sporty participation). Four ways of exploring this enormous cavity adorned with amazing Titanesque concretions, all set to sound and light. A highly attractive eco building is home to a gift shop with lots of original items on offer. Enjoy delicious products on the beautiful terrace overlooking the protected Garrigue.
LA PISCICULTURE DE LA FONTAINE D’ARLINDE
Come and fish rainbow and Fario trout which have been reared in spring water. Production and sale of smoked trout, trout soup and trout terrine.
LE CHÂTEAU D’ALLÈGRE
Documents testify to the presence of this castle as early as the 12th century. Its key feature: the presence of several separate feudal structures built at the initiative of the seven resident co-lords. The château experienced several difficult periods during the Tuchin revolt (local peasants) against the lords during The Hundred Years’ War. The Maison du Père Loubier, which was still inhabited at the beginning of the 20th century, has been restored by the Château d’Allègre association and is now a convivial place that is available for walkers to use. The site offers numerous views over the Cévennes, Mont Bouquet and Lower Vivarais.
LA CHAPELLE SAINT SATURNIN
The chapel rises up out of a rocky outcrop at 365 m altitude and is built in the centre of a former Celtic camp.
Saturnin, the first bishop and martyr of Toulouse, lived here in the 3rd century. In 250, having refused to make sacrifices to the pagan gods, he was attached to a bull by his feet and dragged through the streets of the town. Take a look at the stained glass window which depicts the story. (The church depicted in the background is St.Cernin in Toulouse)
St Saturnin enjoys a reputation as a healer of children suffering from ringworm and fever. Mothers undressed their children, wet them with the spring water and changed their clothes. The clothing that had been taken off was left at the site, and the illness with it.