The Mediterranean Cevennes in Languedoc Roussillon
Here you will find local information about St Etienne Vallee Francaise and St Jean Du Gard, regions of Gard and Lozere (we are on the border of both), and the Cevennes National Park
L'Elzet is approx 12km from Saint Jean Du Gard and close to the magnificent Cévennes National Park. The local Vallee Francaise is in the mediterannean Cévennes and designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is just 1 hr 30mins from the Mediterranean coast.
Saint Etienne Vallee Francaise
The village of St Etienne Vallee Francaise is crowned by an old chateau, and is on the Stevenson Trail, the route of Robert Louis Stephenson's "Travels With A Donkey In The Cevennes", and a lovely walk from L'Elzet of 1km to 1.5km.
We have a friendly village community with a bakery-patisserie where you can get your fresh croissants for breakfast, and some really tasty and interesting breads, cakes and tarts, a well stocked local spar supermarket, butcher, takeaway, and a typical bar-restaurant to mingle with the locals. It has lots of outside seating and serves good quality, well-priced food. There is also a licensed cafe/restaurant at Le Martinet, near the Cascade 3.5km from here (by the riverside walk to the cascade, and Stevenson Trail ) which is open for lunch and evening meals in the main seasons.
We have a good local doctor and dispensing surgery, fast response paramedics and air ambulance -good to know if you are here to convalesce, or if you have an unexpected emergency. A junior and middle school, and ancient chapel in the heart of the ancient part of the village.
The Mairie Office/community centre is at the beginning of the route to L'Elzet, and local activities are listed here.
Sometimes there is a small guided tour of the village and its history; maybe a special event - a festival (often there is one at each village in the region every week), maybe a touring show, or a large village BBQ with disco and band (we don't hear it at L'Elzet as we are shielded around the hillside!)
There are also:
Tennis courts (bring your own gear);
Football - where your boys (or girls) can join in with the local kids (we have a local primary to 14yrs school so there are families who live in the village)
Horse-riding, and a donkey sanctuary nearby
ST JEAN DU GARD
St Jean Du Gard nearby sits on a wider section of the river Gardon and is more like a small market town with its central route, and narrow streets, quaint little shops and typical tree lined square, off which is an almost hidden supermarket just beyond the small bank before the bridge.
Marvelous colourful and lively street markets are held Tuesday and Saturday mornings. With artisan stalls of all kinds, many French speciality delicatessan stalls, a central fresh produce undercover market hall, maybe a musical organ or french brass band playing, and drinks or lunch at one of its cafe bars, perhaps finished off with a walk along the bridge overlooking the river - it's not to be missed!
There is a Tourist Centre where you can find out about cultural events, from Jazz and music festivals to organising many exciting accompanied tours, thrilling sports, and other activities in the Cevennes.
The STEAM TRAIN takes you through beautiful scenery with a stop-off at the Bambouzerie Park on it's winding way to Anduze. There is also a Cevenol Museum, with Robert Louis Stevenson featured, an Aquarium and public outdoor swimming pool
Adresse Place de la Revolution, 30270 Saint-Jean-du-Gard, France
Tel 00 33 (0)4 66 85 30 34.
Anduze has a combination of narrow cobbled streets and bar-cafes to sit outside and watch the world go by. It has a large market in the country on Thursday and flea market on Sundays. There are two supermarkets, two banks with easy foreign exchange, three cash- dispensers, a good selection of small shops and dinoleggio agency.
The tourist office has a list of interesting restaurants and a wide range of local attractions, the best known of which is the steam railway to St Jean Du Gard, which winds its way up the beautiful valley of the Gardon. It stops at the the Bambouseraie containing the largest collection of bamboo and the highest in Europe . There is a museum of the history of Huguenot .
Anduze covered and open tennis courts , there are horses to ride , caves to visit, wines to taste , clear rivers to swim inside and three golf courses within 1-2 hours ' drive from here.
So Much to See & Do During Your Stay
There are just too many places to mention here, and you can find out more if you Google for the regions of Gard & Lozere. Ales is the nearest city, and you have such as the beautiful Uzes and the Pont du Gard, on your way to visiting Avignon. Or marvelous caves such as the Grotte De Trabuc. Indeed there are several caves you can visit, including the one with the biggest stalagmite in the world!
Out and About
The Cevennes covers a large region and includes valleys and vineyards to the South of Anduze as well as the Cevennes National Park.
You benefit from being able to enjoy both Lozere to the West (Mende, Florac, Gorge du Tarn); and Gard to the East and South (historic Anduze, bustling cosmopolitan Ales (35mins), historic walled Uzes, Roman aqueduct Pont du Gard, and to Avignon in Provence). To the South East (Lasalles, Saint Hippolyte du Fort, Le Vigan, still in the Cevennes); or South to Nimes and the Camargue; or Montpellier & the Mediterranean coast (although you will happily want to just enjoy our beautiful part of the world and the fantastic crystal clear river swimming here. You can visit more of Languedoc outside of peak holiday weeks, although if you stayed and enjoyed a fortnight or more you could not possibly visit everything in the Cevennes alone.
Being just 1hr 50mins from the Mediterrnean coast, we are a region which enjoys sharing the top spot for an unbelievable 300 hours of sunshine, the highest in all of France, yet we are also just 1hour's drive to skiing at Mont Lozere and Mont Aguail, and tobogganing, dog sledging and cross country skiing.
The closest motorway connection is reached East of Anduze - the N106, from Ales to Nimes and the Camargue, and either via further rmotorway to Montpellier or directly South from Anduze through vineyards via Quissac to Montpellier (& airport) where you can connect to the motorway East along the coast if you want a fast route to the South East of Languedoc Roussillon & several airports West to Beziers, Carcassonne, Toulouse, Perpignon & Barcelona (though we don't recommend travel to us very late at night)- or visit the feat of engineering that is the Millau Viaduct/Bridge (advisable to visit either side of your stay with us during peak Summer holidays).
The Cévennes National Park
The Cévennes National Park is a *U.N.E.S.C.O designated BIOSPHERE (*United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), which aims to protect both its wild life and habitats, as well as the culture and way of life as a living whole. It has also recently become a World Heritage Site.
Wild, rugged & beautiful, with verdant valleys, gorges gouged out of granite, amazing caves hewn in the limestone, castle ruins, and spectacular scenery, you will be captivated by this magical region.
There is a rich network of ecomuseums and visitor centres which provide an environmental and cultural education to visitors from all over Europe and beyond yet is not overrun by them. Topped by Mont Lozere the Cevennes National Park is an area of renowned throughout Europe as a nature reserve of remarkable geology, botanical specimens, butterflies, wildlife, and even dinasaur footprints.(see the website link below).
There are some spectacular walks and cycling routes. Active or Sports people of every age have said to us that this region is fantastic for many activities. If you like the adrenalin of various exciting sports, there is much to choose from, including mountain biking, horse riding, canoing, cayaking, water rafting, climbing, absailing, caving and a good deal more.
If you Google the Cevennes, or the regions Gard or Lozere (L'Elzet is by the border of both of these regions) you will discover there is so much to appreciate and enjoy here. and still more to discover when you return the next time.
WINTER 1hr drive to dog sledging, Winter Skiing, cross-country skiing, and toboganning: While predominantly mediterranean in the foothills at L'Elzet, the Natonal Park is topped by Mont Lozere & Mont Aguail, both summits over 3000 ft. Ski scentres are serviced by lifts and restaurant at each (while at L'Elzet it can be possible for it to be quite warm and you may be able to sunbathe a while in a sheltered spot, though we can't promise!)
Everyone will find their particular joy here whatever the season. There are many monuments to be found, some on the causses & open plains, others testament to history in ancient sleepy villages.
There are various festivals through to the end of November (a celebrated month for walkers). And the Autumn colours are renowned and awesome to behold because of the predominance of chestnut trees intersperced with evergreen - drive the famous Corniches des Cevennes - it's ia Must See and Do in France in Autumn.