Cévennes - Hérault Valley from the AigoualCévennes - Hérault Valley from the Aigoual
©Cévennes - Hérault Valley from the Aigoual

Unesco's World Heritage

Since June 2011, the Causses and the Cevennes have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a cultural landscape of Mediterranean agropastoralism.

A diversity of Cevennes landscapes shaped by Man for thousands of years. Land of transhumance, it is partly the practice of agropastoralism that offers us today these unique landscapes and the obtaining of this world recognition.

The Causses and the Cevennes

Shaped by agropastoral activity

A mountain landscape crossed by deep valleys.

An exceptional nature that is reflected in the construction of moors and faïsses (crop terraces), drailles (transhumance paths) created by the breeders of the past, which are still used today for the movement of livestock and by hikers who set off in the footsteps of the shepherds, a built heritage (villages, stone farm buildings…), ancestral know-how and typical and quality products, recognized by national and European labels.


Extensive breeding of sheep, goats, cows or horses.

This practice boils down to using available natural resources such as water from streams and grazing on large areas to raise one’s flocks. We are talking about a qualitative model that is characterized by a low density of animal numbers per hectare.

This ancestral mode of animal husbandry allows both thrifty breeding, maintenance of natural environments and preservation of biodiversity through the transport of seeds by the animals on the move.


Migration of livestock between winter pastures and summer pastures.

This seasonal movement, which can cover hundreds of miles and last from a few days to several weeks, between the months of April and June and September and November, allows for herd fattening and reproduction.

Did you know that?

One of the last places where transhumance is practiced

The famous transhumance takes place in this small corner of the Cevennes, near Mount Aigoual. All the more precious, as this ancestral tradition is still active in very few places in the world, where the original paths are used by shepherds and their flocks to reach the summer pasture.

Every year, the transhumance takes place on a weekend in June in Esperou.

The registered territory

The perimeter selected for World Heritage listing does not cover all of the Causses, nor all of the Cévennes, but it does cover 300,000 hectares spread between Gard, Lozère, Hérault and Aveyron.

UNESCO had already taken an interest in the Cévennes and its National Park by designating it as a biosphere reserve in 1985.

134 communes in the “heart zone” corresponding to the classified perimeter
97 communes in the “buffer zone” i.e., a protection perimeter
5 “gateway” towns: Alès, Ganges, Lodève, Millau and Mende

Adventure to this exceptional place through our “gateway” towns that will charm you with their authenticity and their art of living. True guardians of the temple, they will take you to the heart of the classified property as far as the Cévennes National Park, the only permanently inhabited national park in mainland France.

Witness of an ancestral history

The Causses and the Cevennes were traversed, crisscrossed and inhabited as early as the Neolithic period (5,000 BC) by populations who practiced livestock breeding in particular. A passage from the “Life of Saint Benedict of Aniane” (750-821) allows us to deduce that the monks practiced sheep farming and transhumance very early.

Between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, agropastoralism is characterized by small farmer-owners and large estates in the hands of nobles and bourgeois.

The regression of the forest, between 1830 and 1913, is accompanied by an increase in pastures at the expense of cultivated land. This evolution is linked to a profound mutation of the agrarian system due to the development of the dairy industry for Roquefort.

From the 1950s, the rural exodus accelerated, as young people demanded more modern living conditions.

The other sites

classified as world heritage by UNESCO around Alès
On site