The Regional Park of the Cévennes - A Cultural Heritage

regional parc of the Cevennes

Traditional architecture: the Park protects and promotes typical rural architecture, which is rich & diverse.  Some superb stone houses covered with schist roofs present a style that is specific to the "mother rock" (granite, limestone or schist).  Many hamlets have also protected their own little "cultural buildings" (ovens, mills, crosses, forges, watering places, farmhouses, and above all the famous "tempest bell towers").  There are also a number of buildings and ancient mills connected with the production of silk, which are original elements of Cévenol architecture.

Traditional agricultural activities: traditionally, cattle (Aubrac) are bred on Mont Lozère, sheep on the Causses and goats in the Cévenol valleys.  These are the source of high quality local products (meat and cheese).  A dozen large herds still practice summer transhumance in the Park each summer.

Historical sites: the national park is home to a number of important prehistoric sites from the bronze age (2,000 years BC).  Tumuli & dolmen are particularly common on the limestone Causses.  The concentration of menhirs at Bondons on mont Lozère (the second most important site in France after Carnac in Britanny), is located in particularly stirring landscape.

The richness of the flora (2,250 species) is favoured by the diversity of the climates (oceanic, continental and mediterranean), the chemical composition of the soil (granite, limestone or schist) and the range of altitudes in the protected zone (from 378 to 1,699 metres). At these latitudes, they are favourable to life in all its forms.

At Lanuéjols (in Lozère) there is a well preserved, important 3rd Century Roman mausoleum.  Evidence of the medieval times by the Knights of Malta can still be found at L'Hôpital on mont Lozère.  The ruined Abbey of Bonheur (12th & 13th Century) on l'Aigoual and the Chateau of Roquedols (16th Century) near Meyrueis, are atmospheric places for romantic walks.  A number of Roman churches, simple but picturesque, are scattered throughout the landscape; in the "Vallée francaise".  They are the subject of a "Walk of Discovery".

Connected closely with the Wars of Religion, a number of "Camisards" sites (Plan de Fontmort, Can de l'Hospitalet, Bougès, royal routes - the "Corniche des Cévennes") are still important places for the Protestant religion.  The Resistance (Maquis de l'Aigoual) has also left a numbers of reminders in the " Cévennes " which has always been a refuge land for persecuted people since a lot of centuries.