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These vacations will be full of surprises and discoveries

1 day in Génolhac

A welcoming land for timeless moments: my favorite in the Cevennes.

We who left for a simple visit of the village of Génolhac, 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 mixture between nature and heritage.

Because that, for me, is the richness of this small corner of the Cevennes: the contrast between the eventful past, the quiet, resourcing present, and the transmission of these values for the future.

Stroll through the village

Discovering the historical wealth of the territory, our day in Génolhac begins quietly on the strokes of 10am… It’s hard to be early when we discover the joys of calm, far from our city life!

This morning, we start by going to the Tourist Office in search of ideas for outings and walks to do during our day. We come out with a flurry of hiking possibilities and a map of the village: let’s go for the discovery of this rural town that seems to be asleep since our arrival.

While I am enthusiastic about the idea of exploring Génolhac, my companion is dragging his feet a bit and is not really convinced. From the first stop in front of the old market place under the arch, monsieur is intrigued by a pallet hanging a little further down the rue Soubeyranne and decides to go and have a closer look at it while I look around for the famous crows described on my map.

It is a much more jovial man that I find below the famous palette on rue Soubeyranne, and who calls out to me to tell me how much he appreciates the Cévennes humor. The colored pallet carries a very clear message : “Your planet, do you want it blue, rare or well cooked ?” We meet a young man of the corner who explains us that there are several pallets of the same style in the village and that all carry a militant message. After 5 minutes chatting with him, it is now my man who pulls me by the arm to continue our visit – him looking for these pallets and me discovering the village’s turbulent past.

I discover with astonishment that this small country town that seemed unimportant to me has nevertheless an obvious historical richness and has marked history in its own way. Even the gentleman ends up conceding that he has discovered things and does not regret having followed me on this visit.

The pallets of Génolhac

An idea born during the first confinement, a desire to make people react and to alert on the climatic situation of our planet and here is the first pallet which sees the day. It quickly became the talk of the town and the happy owner was asked to take it down to respect the harmony of the place. In good Cevennes that they are, the inhabitants then decide to create new ones and to display them in the village.

I think it is because this territory has always been that of rebels and free thinkers that it has become a land of welcome for all those seeking freedom.

La Lausete

A country store

As soon as we enter the store, we are greeted with a smile and a word of welcome. Even if the surface is not huge, we find vegetables, bread, meat, cheese and even beer or sweets.

But what really makes the difference is Mélissa’s availability and knowledge about all the products available: she knows each product and its producer! Especially the famous pélardon: there are all kinds in her store: fresh, creamy, dry or very dry.

I think that’s what really makes the region strong and attractive: the quality of human contact.

lunch break

We are impatient to arrive at the restaurant that the Tourist Office recommended to us: the Bouchon Cévenol in Chamborigaud. To get there, we have to get back in the car and drive down a few kilometers in the direction of Alès.

It’s already noon, but everything is fine because we reserved our table this morning. We had been advised, the restaurant is famous and is often packed, especially in summer.

The frontage does not pay mine, it is a small room giving on the main street of the village. But as soon as we pass the door step, a tempting smell of grilled vegetables delights us. And it is always with a smile and the sense of Cévenol hospitality that we are welcomed by the owners.

As we pass by, the beef from Aubrac, the truffled mashed potatoes and the grilled vegetables are to die for!”

We leave the Bouchon satisfied and happy with this moment of simple happiness, slipping to the owner who is already welcoming other customers: “You know how to receive in Cévennes, you have a sense of sharing that many have forgotten.”

Relaxation and river

We who were so motivated to go walking, here we are a bit heavy and sleepy after our delicious lunch. So we decide to start our afternoon with a little nap at the water’s edge and so we go down towards the Luech, the pretty river that runs through Chamborigaud. The advisor of the Office had indicated us this place, below the restaurant.

The setting is bucolic and the atmosphere friendly! We settle down at the edge of the crystalline water for a restorative nap with a splendid view of the famous viaduct of Chamborigaud.


Enjoy and preserve

Adopt the right reflexes so that this precious asset remains preserved.

Digestive stroll

After a relaxing break, we reach the main square of the village which is the starting point of the viaduct walk, advised by our stay advisor this morning.

Here we go for a 7km hike, along the water, to discover the Luech and the famous viaduct of Chamborigaud, an amazing bridge of more than 300m long and all in an arc.

Our walk goes wonderfully and we are delighted with our choice of hike, exotic but not too difficult. The sound of water has always had a soothing effect on me, but in such a preserved environment, it is all the more true and intense.

Arrived under the viaduct, we stop for a few minutes to take the time to admire the work which is impressive. As for my companion, he decides to try to beat his ricochet record. This is how I realize that the best vacations are always these: the ones that allow you to reconnect with the people you love and to live moments out of time, these privileged moments.

The more we advance on our way and the more I allow myself to let go, enjoy nature, admire these old Cevennes farmhouses overlooking the valley…

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