Cévennes National Park (Parc national des Cévennes)

Cévennes National Park

The Cévennes National Park is a French national park created on September 2, 1970, covering the natural region of the Cévennes and located mainly in the departments of Lozère, Gard and Ardèche. It therefore extends over two regions: Occitanie and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Its headquarters are at the Château de Florac.

The Cévennes National Park has several particularities that set it apart from other French national parks: it is the only one to be located in the middle of the mountains and, with the National Forest Park, one of only two in mainland France whose heart is inhabited and exploited by permanent residents (agriculture and hunting).

Its heart is classified as a category II protected area by the World Commission on Protected Areas of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The park has also been recognized as a UNESCO biosphere reserve since 1985.

 

 

Location: Lozère and Gard départements  Map

Area: 913 km²

Official site

Geography

Location and general description
The only French mid-mountain national park, the Cévennes national park is divided into two main areas: the heart and the optimal adhesion area. There is also a transition zone.

The national park covers 93,500 hectares and includes 152 municipalities. It is therefore home to a significant permanent population: 71,000 inhabitants live on this territory, including some 600 in the heart. The inhabitants are mainly farmers.

The national park extends to the west over the Grands Causses, vast limestone plateaus, to the east over the schistous Cévennes valleys, to the north over the granite Mount Lozère. The levels of vegetation extend from the Meso-Mediterranean level over all the south-west gorges, to the subalpine level at Mount Lozère.

 

Relief

The Cévennes National Park is a mid-mountain territory made up of four distinct geographical entities: the Aigoual massif, the Causse Méjean with the Tarn and Jonte Gorges, Mount Lozère and the Cévennes valleys.

The altitude of the park varies from 117 m in Anduze up to 1,699 m at the Pic de Finiels, the highest point of the Park within the granite bar of Mont Lozère. The granitic and schistose Montagne du Bougès culminates at 1,421 m at the Signal du Bougès.

Mount Aigoual has at its summit the signal of the Hort de Dieu or Tourette de Cassini (1,565 m) which carries the meteorological observatory whose summit of the tower culminates at 1,571 m.

The Pic de la Fageolle or Pic Ferrège (1,555 m) dominates the south-eastern slope.

The Aigoual massif also includes the summits of Lingas (1,445 m) and St Guiral (1,366 m), the Espérou plateau (1,415 m) and the Col de Prat Peyrot (1,380 m). The Sereyrède pass (1,300 m) is located on the watershed line. Between the village of Valleraugue (elevation 300-350 m) at the bottom of the valley and the summit, the drop of 1,250 m is one of the highest in the Massif Central.

The gorges of the Tarn in the north and the Jonte in the south are bordered by so-called "serrated" cliffs plunging into subvertical walls to a depth of 500 to 600 m.

The south-eastern edge of the Massif Central has high limestone plateaus, the Causses which rise between 700 and more than 1,200 m in altitude. These flattened expanses are cut by the deep gorges of the rivers. The Causse Méjean is the highest, with an altitude of 800 m to 1,247 m at Mont Gargo.

The schistose slopes of the Cévennes, steep and deeply shaped by a succession of greenhouses and narrow valleys run over more than 1,000 m of drop from the Lozère heights towards the Languedoc scrubland.

Above 900 m altitude is the upper part of the Cevennes slopes along a line separating Gard and Lozère in the Monts de la Lozère massif with a peak at 1506 m near the Plateau de la Croix de l'Hermite and in the Aigoual massif at Mont Aigoual at 1565 m. Less than 900 m above sea level, below the limit of the chestnut zone, we find the landscapes of the lower Cévennes.