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ROADTRIPS

Roadtrips: GORGES DE L’HÉRAULT AND THE CAUSSE DE BLANDAS

Located between the departments of the Gard and Hérault, this weekend tour allows you to discover this amazing region filled with outstanding nature and historical sites.

After picking up your keys at the Montpellier van rental agency on Friday afternoon, you can either choose to spend the night in Sommières (Aire de la Royalette), Quissac or Sauve … don’t miss out on a stroll around the village before you turn it. Each of these villages is bursting with charm!

Our favourite is Sommières, a small medieval village built around a big Roman bridge over the Vidourle. It’s definitely worth a visit and the view from the top of the château over the village is awesome!

Sounds good? Contact your agent who will give you plenty of tips on where to park for the night and what to do during the day throughout your island road trip.

https://www.van-away.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Tracé-4900.png 280 Kms

https://www.van-away.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/@2x.png 2 days

https://www.van-away.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/@2x.png France

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If you have chosen to spend the night in Sommières, take the opportunity to buy fresh produce at the market for your lunchtime picnic.

Head for the Grottes des Demoiselles via the D35 and then the D999 (about 1 hour’s drive). This is one of the most beautiful caves in France. You should allow about 1 hour and 15 minutes for a guided tour from the underground funicular, the first in Europe.

The site is in a very pleasant setting for a lunch break or to spend the night. Enjoy your lunch!

For climbing enthusiasts, there is a via ferrata and numerous climbing spots.

After lunch, departure for the Cirque de Navacelles (45min), in the Cévennes National Park. A foretaste of the Grand Canyon of the American West!

You must discover the natural cirque of Navacelles from the top (from Blandas) to get a good view, then go down the laces. Be careful, on foot, the walk to the little hamlet at the bottom of the valley is long and steep (to be reserved for children over 12)

The best option is to drive down into the cirque for about 4km until you reach a hairpin bend where you can park. There, a superb 1.5km descent begins, relatively easy. The path is very pretty and after a 30 minute walk you will arrive at the Moulin de la Foux at the foot of the river Vis.

Visit the mills and rest on the tree trunks and rocks before tackling the slightly uphill climb….

Back to your vehicle, head for the Hérault gorges via the D9. The road from the Navacelles cirque to St Guilhem le désert is magnificent (1h). You will discover a wild and unspoilt nature. At the bottom of the descent, you must stop in the village of Arboras to take a break at the restaurant/workshop “Les Hommes d’Argile”, a timeless place with a superb view over the whole valley.

Then the last stop of this first day in a campervan in the Hérault: direction St Guilhem le désert, elected “most beautiful villages of France” and classified as a UNESCO heritage site.

To spend the night, the cheapest option is to choose one of the car parks in Aniane and return to the Pont du Diable car park the next day, or alternatively to park at the Pont du Diable car park (5€ for the day and 8€ for the night) or to set up camp along the Hérault river below the Pont du Diable.

Wake up on the banks of the Hérault, near the Pont du Diable.

To visit St Guilhem, the easiest way is to park at the Pont du Diable and take the free shuttle bus to St Guilhem.

A spiritual stop on the Camino de Compostela, this small medieval village is famous for its abbey and its narrow streets. You will be amazed by the beauty of this place!

To appreciate the beauty of the Hérault gorges, it is best to hire canoes at the Pont du Diable.

Continue on to lunch at the magnificent Lac du Salagou. A surprising 750ha artificial lake in the middle of red rock hills, called “ruffes”, a little bit like Bolivia! Exceptionally photogenic thanks to the mix of blue water, red soil and green flora, it is a source of inspiration for remarkable shots.

There are many parking options around the lake. Choose the shoreline on the Liausson side.

After lunch, leave the red rocks of the lakeside to discover the almost white rocks of the Cirque de Mourèze. Another classified site, among the great sites of France, it is in contrast to the lake of Salagou a purely natural site!

Surprising, astonishing, this landscape, sometimes lunar and sometimes worthy of a western setting, leaves us speechless. An exceptional site, erosion has sculpted extraordinary shapes in the limestone rocks. To each his own imagination! The Sphynx, the Bear and the Shepherd, the Turtle.

Park in the car park at the bottom of the village and ask for a map at the office at the car park entrance.

After lunch, leave the red rocks of the lakeside to discover the almost white rocks of the Cirque de Mourèze. Another classified site, among the great sites of France, it is in contrast to the lake of Salagou a purely natural site!

Surprising, astonishing, this landscape, sometimes lunar and sometimes worthy of a western setting, leaves us speechless. An exceptional site, erosion has sculpted extraordinary shapes in the limestone rocks. To each his own imagination! The Sphynx, the Bear and the Shepherd, the Turtle.

Park in the car park at the bottom of the village and ask for a map at the office at the entrance to the car park.

I recommend the “Circuit des Courtinals”, an easy 45 minute walk (2kms), which starts opposite the car park (stages 1-2-3-8). If you have more time and are in good shape, two medium difficulty routes of 3h and 3h30 await you. In any case, the walk ends in the village centre where you can refresh yourself.

On the way back to Clermont l’Hérault, stop to discover the hamlet of Villeneuvette, a former royal cloth factory: an atypical and timeless village that has been preserved. It takes 2 hours for the guided tour. In season, guided tours are organised from Tuesday to Friday at 10.30 am and 3.30 pm and on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays at 3.30 pm. Prices: adults €4 and €2 for children under 12, €3 for groups.

Another option, on the way back to the agency, if you still have some time, stop to discover the town of Pézenas.

A town of art, crafts and history, it is full of treasures around every corner. I loved the charm of its cobbled streets, its private mansions, vestiges of an exceptional and preserved past. However, it must be said that for lovers of crafts and art, Pézenas alone is worth a day’s exploration!

You will leave with a head full of beautiful memories of the Hérault, which you will not soon forget!

Other possible stops on the route:

The Clamouse cave, near St Guilhem le Désert. Plan a visit of at least 1 hour and 20 minutes to cover the 900 m
For those who like more sensations, the Speleopark activity has been set up. This is a fun introduction to climbing and caving techniques through an unforgettable 2-hour adventure for explorers or 3 hours for the more athletic. Ideal to discover the cave in a different way!

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