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Driving the Cevennes National Park in France

Driving the Cevennes National Park in France

Old Mar 12th, 2015, 11:27 AM
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Driving the Cevennes National Park in France

Hello ... after attending a photo festival in Sete this May, my husband and I will rent a car for 3 days and drive thru the Cevennes National Park area. Does anyone have any advice regarding any preferred routes, or on road conditions in general, road closures, villages, restaurants, hotels, etc? It looks like the driving conditions could be quite challenging. We will end that portion of our trip in Uzes or Nimes and then continue on to Paris by train for a few days. Thanks.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 12:13 PM
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We did it east to west in September.

1) Don't speed thru it. Part of the cliff above the road took out the outside lane of the two-lane road we were touring on. The hole/void was marked with a skimpy little yellow police tape, nothing more. So, beware
2)Otherwise, it was good driving.
2) We stayed at a hotel in Figeac; well-rated restaurant. Day-tripped 2-3 days driving the gorges, touring, etc.
3) Conques was a nice town.
4) St Genies d'Olt was not a fine dining experience, at least on a Sunday dinner. Tripe...all you can eat. Well, not ALL.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 12:25 PM
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The roads are excellent. Not a problem.

This old report of mine may give a bit of information about the fringes of the area: http://tinyurl.com/p6c5dpw
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 03:01 PM
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The Hotel Adonis in Florac had the good restaurant Adonis.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 03:37 PM
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While slightly outside of the Cévennes I'd try to take a drive through the Gorges du Tarn.

http://www.tourisme-aveyron.com/en/d...orges-tarn.php

And I really loved the views and landscapes of the Causses above Florac in Les Bondons:

http://www.cevennes-tourisme.fr/fr/i...E-CEV-PATNAT-3

Be sure to check out the official website too. You'll find more info in the French than English version:

http://eng.cevennes-parcnational.fr/

I'm not sure but I think tomboy might have meant Florac and not Figeac (Florac is in the Cévennes, Figeac is not) but perhaps not. Florac is the main noteworthy town in the area and is worth a visit if nearby.

Be sure to get a Michelin map for your drive. You want maps #330 and #339.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 04:42 PM
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Thank you for your replies and advice.

Plotting a route on google maps, I noticed that some roads had warnings for "partial restricted roads" on the D986 ... specifically between Valleraugue & Meyrueis. Is there anyway I can find out in advance?

We might stay a night in Florac, and will take a look at the restaurant at the Hotel Adonis. We would like to take our chances and wing it regarding an advanced hotel booking. Would that be ok, or should we book something ahead. I like the idea of being flexible.

Kerouac - I really liked your trip report. As for other recommended websites and links, I will check them out later this week.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 05:59 PM
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I think you can probably wing it in May as far as not booking a hotel but make sure you've got resources (internet/wifi/notes) to check for what's available in the area if you don't want to waste time looking for a place to stay. Tourist offices will always help with this (free). If you want to stay someplace rural I'd recommend this gîte I stayed in several years ago, which may be under new ownership and is being run as a chambres d'hôtes: http://tinyurl.com/n95cq47

http://chambre-d-hotes-cevennes.com/

The best river swimming hole I've ever swam in was about a 5 minute walk from this place and I had it to myself.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 06:08 PM
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I don't know what that means on google maps but as far as I know there is no restricted access on that road. I wouldn't use google maps for driving directions in France anyway. Use www.viamichelin.com. Much more detailed maps, more accurate with time estimates and better route planning.
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Old Mar 12th, 2015, 08:04 PM
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St-Guihem-le-Desert is a beautiful little village in the Cevennes. Breathtaking scenery all around it.
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Old Mar 13th, 2015, 04:43 AM
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Comments from all are greatly appreciated. FrenchMystiqueTours ... I have just looked at viamichelin.com. It will be a great tool for our trip. Thanks.
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Old Mar 13th, 2015, 05:07 AM
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Viamichelin is great but what you really need are the Michelin maps and here is my standard advice about Michelin maps:

Get your hands on the Michelin maps. You want the ones of the scale 1:200,000 (regional maps) or 1:150,000 (departmental maps, more detailed, cover slightly less area) for whatever regions you visit. A nice feature of the 1:150,000 maps is they show the starred attractions in the corresponding Michelin Green guidebooks. The Michelin maps have icons for all kinds of historically/touristically interesting things such as châteaux, ruins, churches, abbeys, scenic view points, caves, Roman sites, megaliths, designated scenic roads and many other things.

Usually when I'm exploring various regions in France I just look at the map and I am able to plan interesting and scenic drives just reading the map. For instance, I usually look for a designated scenic road, which are highlighted in green, and I especially look for towns with the historic church and/or château icon. With the departmental maps also look for towns/sites/attractions that have been give one or more Michelin stars. I also try to make sure the route goes through as many small villages as possible. Usually putting all these things together I find interesting and scenic drives without even knowing where I am going and with no assistance from a guide book. Often these places are never mentioned in guidebooks and remain completely unknown to many tourists.

You can buy the Michelin maps from their website and here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:200,000 scale maps of France (Regional maps):
http://tinyurl.com/4bt96ev

And here is a link to the page that shows you the 1:150,000 scale maps of France (Départementale maps):
http://tinyurl.com/6mt4n64

You could also buy them here but then you can't do research beforehand. The maps can be bought in many places such as bookstores, news stands, magazine stores, larger supermarkets, department stores, hypermarkets and in the full service rest areas on the autoroutes, just to name a few. If you're going to be traveling all over France you may find it easier to buy the Michelin Atlas, which covers all of France.
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