Distance: 273,94km, Elevation maximum: 1697m, Elevation minimum: 130m, Elevation gain uphill: 8477m
IGN Maps: Le Puy-en-Velay (2735E). Le Puy-en-Velay Yssingeaux (2835OT). Solignac-sur-Loire Cayres (2736E). Gerbier de Jonc Mezenc Vivarais (2836OT). Langogne (2737E). La Bastide-Puylaurent (2738E). Largentiere la Bastide-Puylaurent Vivarais Cevenol (2838OT). Mont Lozere Florac PN des Cevennes (2739OT). Corniche des Cevennes PN des Cevennes (2740ET). Ales (2840OT).
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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 Cevennes 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 Gevaudan area and then the Cevennes, protected by National Park status, and rising above the plains of the Languedoc and the Mediterranean. The Cevennes 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 Cevennes 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.
Step by step, follow the path taken by the famous writer of " Treasure Island" from the volcanic plateaus of the "basse Auvergne", the Gevaudan and the Mont Lozere, through the outstanding scenery of the Cevennes to the Camisard area and St Jean du Gard.
In preparation read "Travel with a donkey in the Cevennes" by Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as the topo-guide GR70 "Stevenson's Way" and "Cevennes" 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 Gevaudan having crossed the Allier. This is the region where, according to the legend, a monster lived, among heather, rocks and pines.
Mont Lozere, where upright stones mark the route for hikers, forms the third part of the journey. From this stony view-point one can see the Cevennes 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 "Tetras" the biodiversity is even greater.
Some areas have been recolonized by otters, black woodpeckers, Teungmalm owls, eagles, horned owls, etc
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 GR7, GR70 Stevenson trail, GR72, GR700 Regordane way, Cevenol, GR470 Allier river trail, Margeride, Gevaudan, Ardechoise. Many hiking loops around L'Etoile Guesthouse. The right place to relax.
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