©Génolhac|Olivier Prohin
A medieval village at the foot of Mont Lozère

Génolhac, in the heart of the park

A small village that has marked the history of the Cevennes.

Génolhac is a medieval village whose history goes back to the 11th century. Marked by the Wars of Religion, its streets and alleys are like a mirror of these turbulent times. We propose to leave together to discover this fascinating history, on the tracks of the merchants of the Regordane but also of the Camisards and the royal dragons!


Let's go back in time for a moment and dive into history

Génolhac is a medieval village whose history dates back to the 11th century. Shaken by political-religious turmoil, each of its alleys tells of this troubled and fascinating history.

Among the first lords of Génolhac, we count Bermond d’Anduze, nephew of Count Raymond VII. Under his reign, in 1234, that the region topples into Catharism. Louis IX and the pope attach Languedoc to the kingdom of France in 1242.

Following this, Guillaume IV de Randon, wishing to establish his power in his lordship, requests the construction of a convent. In 1302, after a fierce political battle, the Dominicans finally settled in Génolhac.

With the Hundred Years’ War, it was the English who tried to invade the lands of Génolhac. Rebellious at heart, the Cevennes claimed their belonging to the kingdom of France and pushed back the English. Unfortunately, Génolhac suffered the full force of the ravages of the Black Death in 1349.

There followed a more prosperous period: the Renaissance. The ensuing relaxation of morals leads Luther to demand a new religion: protestantism. The Huguenots then tried to impose themselves around Mont Lozère, but were hunted down and burned in public places. During the Camisard war, we can notably remember the heroic and very controversial acts of Jouany, Camisard leader, and the 12,000 men who were killed.

Hike Sheet

At the bottom of a wild valley nestles an “English garden” style passion garden. Discover this place on a 9.3km hike.

1 day in Génolhac

Find all our tips and good plans to discover Génolhac, a medieval village at the foot of Mont Lozère!

Here we are, embarked on an adventure in the heart of what makes the Cevennes identity: the human warmth, the rebellious spirit (some would say of contradiction) and the successful mix between nature and heritage.

Discovery of the castle tower

This is not a castle

As we continue down the rue Soubeyranne, we come face to face with the castral tower: this imposing edifice built according to a square plan, had a double function. The top of the tower allowed the toll collector, depositary of the seigniorial authority, to supervise the arrival of the convoys of goods which borrowed the Régordane while the base of the tower made it possible to store goods or prisoners. Like many others in the region, this tower has the particularity of being accessible only with a ladder, directly on the floor, which makes it easier to defend in case of attack.

As one monument often hides another, the church of Saint Peter stands proudly behind the tower, a little set back from the center of the village, surrounded by the built environment. This religious building also has an eventful history, closely linked to the different religious conflicts that have shaken the Cévennes over the centuries. It has undergone fires, enlargements, strippings and additions of chapels over the years. Its combed bell tower, characteristic of the churches of the region, was added at the end of the 16th century by the lord of Génolhac, the Viscount of Polignac, who was then upset by the religious conflicts and the suppression by the Protestants of several symbolic elements a few years earlier


The tannin factory

An often forgotten industrial heritage

Walking back down from the church, we continued our stroll toward the small Gardonnette River and the pretty bridge that allows us to cross it. Opposite, we see the part of the village that is called the “chef de ville”: in the Middle Ages, all the land on the other side of the river consisted of pastures for sheep and belonged to the monastery of Gourdouze. These lands were then called “berbeziel”. It is only from the 15th century that they are bought by a notable of the village, who divides them in several plots and sells them. Settle there from then on the trades related to the convoys of goods: blacksmiths, farriers or even carpenters.

Our steps then make us jump back in time – directly to the nineteenth century – with the old tannin factory of the village, located at the head of town. We can see the silhouette of the chimney from the bridge, an amazing brick construction in the middle of the stone. In activity from the second half of the 19th century until the 1960s, this factory was used to extract and reduce the tannin naturally present in the chestnut wood. And the chestnut groves covered up to 60% of the Cevennes territory! The presence of the factory was then accompanied by the installation of tanners along the river, in the neighborhood that is now called Calquières.

The country market

Every Saturday, Génolhac offers you its country market, where all its producers come to share with you their quality products. Pelardons, honeys, delicatessen, olives… all the flavors of the Cevennes are offered to your taste buds.

Not to be missed in Génolhac

The main monuments
The main squares and streets
On site