Languedoc Walking focuses on the abundance of remarkable hiking, trekking and walking trails in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. If you are looking for ideas for future walking trips in France, but haven’t made your mind up regarding the region, you really need look no further than hiking in Languedoc. It is blessed with some of the best and most varied hiking in France, and many trails that can be walked all year round.
Languedoc Walking can be very similar to walking in Provence in places, particularly where they converge – and just where one ends and the other begins is, of course, a stong bone for contention. Historically speaking, those living to the east of the Cevennes foothills have always considered themselves to be part of western Provence. They tend to ignore central government-imposed regional boundaries that push Nimes and Uzes into Languedoc, when most naturally place them within Roman Provence or Provence Gard.
Walking the Stevenson Trail in France
While this trail starts to the north of Languedoc, the bulk of the trip takes place within the Languedoc region. It is a top-ten ranked trail that takes you from Le Monastier, near Puy-en-Velay in Haute Loire, to St Jean-du-Gard in The Cevennes, a distance of 156 miles or 252 kilometres.
Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes, first published in 1879, was one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s earliest works. Admired by the likes of John Steinbeck, it is considered a pioneering classic of outdoor literature and one that set the standard for the whole travelogue genre that was to follow by presenting hiking and camping outdoors as a recreational activity. Futhermore, Stevenson’s walking in France can be considered as a catalyst for the whole back to nature and modern hiking sports and social genre.
The Book relates Stevenson’s twelve-day, solo hiking trip through the thinly populated and impoverished areas of south central France and into the Cévennes. He spent a few months planning it from Le Monastier before he departed and, whilst twelve days is perhaps the optimum period for accomplishing this delightful walking holiday in France, the minimum time required is nine.
Stevenson was bedeviled with poor health for much of his life and some argue that this trek hastened his departure from the world; not due to the level of difficulty of the trail itself, but because he developed a penchant for sleeping out rough at night that few others would undertake nowadays. Thankfully the quality of accommodation that can be found along the entire length of the modern Stevenson Trail obviates the necessity to have recourse to a tent.
Stevenson was in his late twenties when he undertook this long-distance trek and the route he took was not of any particular significance prior to his visit. His objectives were simply to visit some of the places in The Cevennes that had become household names during the Uprising of 1702 and, along the way, try to forget his American ‘lost love’.
Walking Languedoc’s GR70, as it is known nowadays, is done purely for recreational purposes, and in relative comfort, from April to October respectively. For those who enjoy classic inn-to-inn hiking, it is a must.