from Le Puy to Camargue Coast [GR700]
This walking holiday in Languedoc, Le Puy to Camargue Coast [GR700] takes you along what is not only one of the most important long distance routes in France, but arguably one of the most varied hiking experiences there is. In twelve days, you get to walk across the volcanic plateau from the southern Massif Central and into the schiste valleys of the Lower Languedoc, before traversing the Mediterranean Garrigues en route to The Camargue and its coast.
Our walking holiday in Languedoc, Le Puy to Camargue Coast [GR700] is a 166-mile / 200-kilometre trek with historical credentials that far exceed the importance of The Compostella Trail. You depart Le Puy due south and follow the medieval St Giles pilgrimage trail. Overlain en route by the more localized Regordane Way, you walk the path taken by French kings, Simon De Montfort, the Reformation, the pacifiers of the Camisard Rebellion and thousands of mule drivers and tradesmen since the tenth century.
Le Puy to Camargue Coast essentially follows the route of the re-launched GR700, France’s newest route de Grande Randonnee or long distance trail. Where the original route has become modern road, you follow the best of the trails that carry you blissfully from one important historical staging post to the next. You enjoy four days of blissful isolation across the plateau before descending into the valley to the east of Mont Lozere. You may like to take a break in Ales, at the foothills of the Cevennes, before pressing on across undulating Garrigue and along the Gardon Valley to Nimes and onto St Gilles. You then say goodbye to the pilgrims and hello to The Camargue, as you enjoy a final day’s walking along canal banks with fine views across one of Europe’s finest and most fragile biospheres. Aigues-Mortes will take your breath away. A sacré balade, as the 150- mile hike is a sacré trek.
Tour SummaryArrival in Le Puy.
(2* hotel in town centre)
Day 1: Le Puy to Costaros.
13 miles-19 kms
(Classified auberge or chambre d'hote)
Day 2: Costaros to Langogne.
15.5 miles-23.5 kms.
Day 3: Langogne to La Bastide.
13 miles-19.5 kms.
Day 4: La Bastide to Villefort.
14 miles-21 kms.
Day 5: Villefort to Genolhac.
11 miles-15 kms.
(Classified chambre d'hote)
Day 6: Genholac to Portes.
11.75 miles-17 kms.
Day 7: Portes to Alès.
14.5 miles-22 kms.
Day 8: Alès to Vezenobres.
8 miles-12 kms.
(2* hotel or classified chambre d'hote)
Day 9: Vezenobres to La Calmette.
14.5 miles-22 kms.
Day 10: La Calmette to Nimes.
14 miles-21 kms.
Day 11: Nimes to St Gilles.
16.5 miles-25 kms.
Day 12: St Gilles to Aigues-Mortes.
17 miles-26 kms.
Although there's so much to enjoy and explore if you want to stay for an extra day/night.
Haute Loire & Lozere
Essentially, you walk a plateau for four days, but the hiking is far from flat. Whilst RL Stevenson zig-zagged over to your right, you head due south through fine countryide and isolated hamlets. You share some villages en route with the Great Scot, but rarely the same path. The trail south of La Bastide is France at its
best and your lakeside retreat memorable.
Into the Valley
South of Villefort, you rediscover the higher medieval trail and enjoy your descent through a series of fine villages alongside the Cevenol mountain railway that shares the same geological faultline as you. Huguenot Genolhac is a treat and Portes Castle magnificently eclectic. You cross some apocalyptic mining terrain, followed swiftly by the sub-alpine/Mediterranean divide and your first encounter with olives, before arriving in Alesl in the Cevennes' foothills.
Your ancient Roman trail laces together an abundance of fine villages and fortified hamlets as it wends its way along the Gardon valley, never far from the River itself. You'll enjoy the sacred circulade at La Calmette before stretching our to Nimes. It's the peaceful and scenic garrigue at its best.
Costiere and Camargue
So good was the wine in this region, it theatened the favoured production of the Roman motherland. You traverse the stony trails of the Costiere de Nimes and enjoy the vines and the first tall reeds before arriving in sacred St-Gilles du Gard. You then follow the famed canals of The Camargue and its much-admired fauna and flora. The sight of the Tour de Constance and the walled cité of Aigues-Mortes itself will put a spring in your step and bring a fabulous trek to a fitting climax.
Or browse our short walking holidays at: Walk in France
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