Hiking loops around L'Etoile Guesthouse
3,7km / 4km / 4,5km / 6km / 6,5km / 7,4km / 7,5km / 8km / 8km / 10km / 10km / 10km / 10km / 11km / 11km / 12km / 12km / 12km / 13km / 14km / 14,5km / 15km / 15km / 15,5km / 16km / 16km / 16,6km / 19km / 19km / 19km / 19km / 19,5km / 20km / 23km / 24km / 26km
La Bastide-Puylaurent is a unique village for short, medium or long walks. Only 300 metres from L'Etoile Guest House, you can find paths that will take you through wonderful scenery, on a 5km loop, or to the other end of France. On each side of the village the landscape is different between the Ardeche, Lozere, Haute-Loire and the Cevennes National Park.
To the north,towards the plateau of Haute-Loire, the countryside is very rustic: small farms,fields of green lentils around Puy en Velay, grazing animals , Mt Mezenc, extinct volcanoes , lakes , source of the Loire , and the Allier gorge...
To the south, towards the Cevennes and Mt Lozere the nature is wilder, less touched by human activity; old granite houses with slate roofs, honey, cultivated terraces, small hamlets hidden in the countryside, a history of religious wars between catholics and protestants as at Florac, le Pont de Montvert, Genolhac...
To the east, towards the Ardeche, nature surprises you with it's wild side; stunning countryside, idyllic rivers for bathing , small footpaths passing through chesnut trees , ancient hamlets like Montselgues, Loubaresse or Thines, the gorges of the Borne and Chassezac , the summits of the Ardeche mountains, the Tanargue Massif....thermal baths at Saint Laurent les Bains, traditional market at Les Vans on Saturday morning, and the abbey Notre Dame des Neiges 3 km from La Bastide-Puylaurent..
To the west towards Lozere, the land is less abrupt though the altitude is higher, small valleys in which to fish for trout ,like the Allier, the Lot, the Chassezac or the Altier. The roads are wider and the gradients less severe , allowing less strenuous activities than on the Ardeche side. A number of short and medium distance walks can be undertaken with the help of the small train which links La Bastide-Puylaurent to Mende. Lying as it does atop a huge amphitheatre falling down to the Mediterranean, the Lozere is blessed with the first warm rays of the Languedoc-Roussillon sun.
The hiker feels here an intense excitement and serenity as the skies unfold around the summits of Mt Lozere, the Margeride, the Gevaudan , the Aubrac or the Cevennes. There, he finds a softness amid the spring waters of the Gorges of the Tarn and Jonte, in one of the most beautiful European sites that nature has worked. Lozere has a rich diversity with it's natural areas in landscapes carved by the geology. With the limestone of the great Causses of Sauveterre and Mejean man has built farms of exceptional proportions. With the volcanic basalt of the Aubrac, they have built the " burons " to shelter the shepherds and milk the animals, when the wind whistles. The testimonies to our ancestors' buildings are everywhere on this land ; vestiges of gallo-roman , more valued today, as the gothic cathederal in Mende , the Roman churches of the Margeride, the temples of the Cevennes, the simple bread ovens and crosses of the villages , continually , the imprint of man marks the evolution of the Lozere. Visit the fine medieval village of La Garde Guerin above the Chassezac gorge.
by Arlette Maussant
Near Le Giraldes a hike bathed in sunlight, pleasant and easy: the roundtrip around the lake Charpal, it suroundings covered in flowers of all colours and butterflies flying over... At night, at LE Giraldes, the farm of Aurochs, around the table of the Amarger family: convivial, humanity, house made products, delicious and gastronomic dishes. On the crests, towards Trois Soeurs Pass (the Summit of the Three Sisters): an unforgettable panorama especially over the moutain of Mezenc and the volcanos of Le Velay and of the Vivarais. The walk is completed with the possibility to eat some blueberries and rasberries.
At la Baraque des Bouviers, stop, nice table. And the house made nut cake for breakfast is incredible ! My host is understanding, he gives me a slice for the hike of the day. Combes: nice hamlet with its well preserved houses. On the other hand, the GRP markings are not there... Some nice small paths but few of them only. Grandrieu, hotel Laures, lodgers are used to this house. Calm and simple. Pear and caramel puff pastry at the bakery. Village with numerous interesting fountainsontaines. The roman bridge is being renovated, the path exceptionaly follows a large road. Crossing of hamlets: buildings built out of granite of la Margeride. Rustic and solid to resist to the weather and where aesthetics are linked to efficiency. Big rocks in the angles. Herds of cows « Aubrac ». Auroux, green and relaxing environment for a little camping. The banks of the lake of Naussac: some steep passings. A lot of work is done to renovate the village of Naussac and building it back out of the water since the building of the dam. This nice valley is unfortunately under water for utopic purposes. Langogne : a bit of strolling in the shops.
At the railway station, there is a train going towards La Bastide-Puylaurent in the following 15 minutes. In the train, discovery of the valley of the haut Allier, the river shines in the sunlight. The train continues on and crosses several viaducts like in a dream. Arrival at L'Etoile Guest House, a nice house of the 30s, well lighted and a lot of space animated by Philippe, a pleasant host open on the world and on exchanges. A mathodique organisation. Nice walk on le Moure de la Gardille and the springs of the Allier on the moor and its brooms. And at last, at the limit of La Margeride, the landscape and the climate changes radically: the gorges of the Chassezac, picturesque sight of the chalky region, the chestnut groves and of the irrigation canals. And know, this urge to come back there... Only next year...
Walking from 2 to 12 days
Old romantic Hotel with beautiful grounds bordering the Allier River. L'Etoile Guest-House is located in La Bastide-Puylaurent between Lozere, Ardeche and Cevennes. Hiking trails GR7, GR70 Stevenson, GR72, GR700 Regordane (St Gilles), Cevenol, Margeride, GR470 Allier river trail, Ardechoise, Gevaudan and many hiking loops around. A mountain retreat in the South of France. The right place to relax.