13 must-see things to do in the Cévennes National Park

Montagnes cevennes grimper gard

Are you spending your vacations in the Cévennes and would like to visit the Cévennes National Park? Here are the 13 places not to be missed!

Welcome to the Cévennes, the land of the Camisards! Here, the landscape is dotted with stone villages and flocks of sheep. Rocks outcrop on the heights, which open onto the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea. Streams sculpt the landscape, carving caves into the depths. Visiting the Parc National des Cévennes is a great way to embrace the beauty and history of this unique region. Here are 13 not-to-be-missed highlights!

1. The Bramabiau abyss

Visiter le Parc National des Cévennes, et l'abîme de Bramabiau

Photo credit: Flickr – Philip Larson

Immerse yourself in the depths of the Causse de Camprieu to discover the Bramabiau abyss. A one-kilometer circuit awaits you, suitable for the whole family. Follow the Bonheur underground river for almost an hour.

At the end of the path, it gushes out through a wide crack in the cliff, in the form of a shattering waterfall! A must-see when visiting the Cévennes National Park.

2. Florac

Dormir dans le parc national des Cévennes, à Florac

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Pierre Bona

Florac is the capital of the Cévennes National Park. This pretty village is both perched high up and with its feet in the water. All around, the landscape is green and wild. But what also makes it a must-see when visiting the Cévennes National Park is the beauty of its stone streets. All year round, they are bustling with activity. On Thursdays in particular, the Florac market is one of the most famous in the region!

However, to discover local specialities, you can also visit the stores of local producers.

3. Mont Aigoual observatory

L’observatoire du Mont Aigoual, à visiter dans le Parc National des Cévennes

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Lamax

Looking for something to do in the Cévennes National Park? The Mont Aigoual observatory is the highest point in the Gard. Perched at an altitude of 1,567 metres, it offers an exceptional panorama. When the sky is clear, the view stretches from the Alps to the Pyrenees, and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea!

Housed in a 19th-century building, the observatory has the air of a fortress. It houses an exhibition on the unique meteorology and climatology of the area. It’s also the crossroads of numerous hiking trails.

4. The Tarn and Jonte gorges

Visiter le Parc National des Cévennes, et les gorges du Tarn et de la Jonte

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Claudio Giovanni Colombo

The Tarn and Jonte gorges are ideal destinations for those looking for something to do in the Cévennes National Park to discover the region’s nature. Crystal-clear opal-colored water, rock formations and forests create wild landscapes of great beauty.

Why not set off on a voyage of discovery using a traditional means of transport? The boatmen of La Malène have been taking visitors down the river for over 200 years.

5. The chaos of Nîmes-le-vieux

Le chaos de Nîmes-le-vieux

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Marc Poveda

It’s a 4.5-kilometer trail that takes you through the chaos of Nîmes-le-vieux. The geological site has that little something that excites the imagination of visitors. Dolomite rocks cling to the ground, sometimes rising, forming a tortured and mysterious whole.

Some have evocative shapes. It’s up to you to find the arenas, the lion or even Gargantua’s cooking pots! Allow an hour and a half for your visit.

6. L’aven Armand

Visiter le Parc National des Cévennes et L’aven Armand

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Fabian Ju

L’aven Armand is one of France’s most beautiful caves. You’ll have to take a funicular to get inside. Buried 100 meters below ground, it’s home to some real treasures.

Among the many remarkable geological formations, you’ll find Europe’s largest stalagmite! It’s 30 metres long and sparkles like a diamond. The site was lit by Fernand Jacopozzi, the illuminator of the Eiffel Tower. The father of speleology himself, Édouard-Alfred Martel, called Aven Armand « the dream of the Thousand and One Nights ».

7. Château d’Aujac

Le château d'Aujac

Photo credit: Flickr – Modestine L’ânesse des Cévennes

What can you do in the Cévennes National Park to learn more about its medieval history? Visit Château d’Aujac, built in the 13th century in the center of the Cèze valley. It dominates the landscape from the top of a rocky spur rising to an altitude of 600 metres.

Take a guided tour of the architectural ensemble of the castle and the castral village. In summer, the castle is the setting for permanent events, including a museum, medieval stalls and a restaurant.

8. The hamlet of Villaret

Le hameau du Villaret

Photo credit: Flickr – Alain RUEFF

If you’re looking for something to do in the Cévennes National Park to embrace the authenticity of the region, don’t miss Le Villaret. This small village is representative of the typical Causse hamlets. It’s nestled in the Causse Méjean, among windswept meadows and flocks of sheep.

Built entirely of limestone, the village blends in perfectly with the landscape. Participatory tours are organized to help visitors discover this small bastion of agropastoralism.

9. The Lanuéjols mausoleum

Le mausolée de Lanuéjols

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Ancalagon

A visit to the Cévennes Nature Park is an opportunity to discover the Roman site of Lanuéjols. The tomb dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century. It was commissioned by a family, probably Syrian, to pay tribute to their two sons who had fallen victim to leprosy.

Not far away, you’ll find a much older monument. It’s a menhir dating back to around 4,000 BC. Don’t miss this timeless interlude during your vacation in the Cévennes! The pretty village of Lanuéjols is also well worth a visit.

10. Finiels summit

Sommet de Finiels

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Ancalagon

At an altitude of 1,699 metres, the Finiels summit is the highest point of Mont Lozère. It’s a 9-kilometer loop that will take you to its heights. Three hours of relatively easy walking await you. If you’re lucky enough to get there on a clear day, you’ll be able to see the Alps and the Mediterranean Sea.

11. Castanet castle

Le château de Castanet

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Ancalagon

If you’re looking for something to do in the Cévennes National Park, don’t miss the Château de Castanet. This highly romantic 16th-century manor house stands on the water’s edge in the commune of Pourcharesses. The tree-lined riverbank adds to the castle’s charm, and it is sometimes used as a venue for art exhibitions.

Guinguettes have been set up nearby. It’s a tranquil, relaxing place to take a refreshing break during your stay.

12. La Cocalière cave

La grotte de la Cocalière

Photo credit: Wikipedia – Cocaliere

Nicknamed the Diamond Cave, La Cocalière promises a moment suspended in time. It’s a magical place that will appeal to children and adults alike. The strange shapes of the rocks and the rippling moire of the water are beautifully enhanced by the lighting.

This cave, which came into being 35 million years ago, is still forming. The action of time and water still has a hold on it. That’s why La Cocalière is so popular with cavers!

13. Cévennes valleys museum

Maison Rouge de Saint-Jean du Gard

Photo credit: Wikipedia – sunappu-shashin

To learn more about the area, visit the Maison Rouge in Saint-Jean-du-Gard. It houses a museum that explores the traditional, economic and social life of the Cévennes. The focus is on silk spinning, a regional specialty. Production fed the silk companies of Lyon, where the famous canuts worked.

Bonus: the Stevenson trail

Visiter le Parc National des Cévennes et suivez le chemin de Stevenson

Photo credit: Wikipedia – lombiedezombie

What exactly went through Robert Louis Stevenson’s mind when he left everything behind and set off to discover the Cévennes? The man who would go on to write Treasure Island years later was a dreamy young man who wanted to start writing.

He recounts his journey in Voyage avec un âne dans les Cévennes. The route he followed is now part of the network of « chemins de Grande Randonnée » (long-distance hiking trails). It’s the GR 70, which you can still follow today, with Stevenson’s book in your bag!

How do I get to the Cévennes National Park?

To visit the Cévennes National Park, take the A75 freeway and the RN106.

By bus and train, you’ll probably have to make connections at Clermont-Ferrand or Nîmes. Here are the nearest SNCF stations:

  • Mende, 25 kilometers from Florac;
  • Alès, 70 kilometers from Florac;
  • Banassac – la Canourgue, 25 kilometers from Sainte-Enimie ;
  • Millau, 42 kilometers from Meyrueis.

If you’re far from the Cévennes and prefer to fly, the best option is to use Montpellier airport. To find the best deals, visit a flight comparison site like Skyscanner. Enter your dates and they’ll select the best flights for you!

Finally, once you’re here, you can take the tourist shuttles. In particular from Florac, Sainte-Enimie and Meyrueis.

Where to stay in the Cévennes National Park?

The Cévennes National Park offers a wide range of accommodation options. Hikers will find numerous campsites and gîtes along the way. Those who see their stay as a nature getaway will be able to isolate themselves in an Airbnb or a charming hotel.

Finally, those who want to be able to explore the whole park will be better off in Florac, Sainte-Enimie or Meyrueis. In any case, we invite you to consult this hotel comparator to find your ideal accommodation. Just to make sure you choose a comfortable and economical option!