Cevennes rocks

France ~ Follow the Shepherds Trails in the Cevennes and Grands Causses

The region of the Causses and the Cévennes was awarded UNESCO world heritage status in 2011, thanks to the traditions of Mediterranean agro-pastoralism which have shaped the landscape over thousands of years. These traditions are very much alive today and continue to contribute to the extraordinary biodiversity of the area.

Following ancient drovers’ paths, we discover how closely the traditions of pastoralism are interwoven with the history of the landscape. In the Cévennes, the ‘transhumance’ the seasonal migration of sheep up to the cool mountain pastures, is still practiced on foot. Shepherds and their flocks walk for up to eight days to reach the summer grazing. During our exploration of the region, we will visit one of these shepherds in the heart of the mountains, and have a rare insight into this traditional way of life. Other walks will allow plenty of time to learn about the natural and human history of this varied and fascinating region.n.

We stay for a week in a charming 4 star 12th century Chateau, with a pool, extensive grounds and a first class restaurant serving classic French cuisine and wines. We encounter the striking geology of the area, walking through natural rock formations above the gorges of the rivers Tarn and Jonte, where all four European vulture species occur; descend the Tarn Gorge by boat; explore a stunning cave; visit a medieval priory and discover a surprising variety of sheep’s cheeses during a cheese tasting.

HIGHLIGHTS of our Causses and Cevennes walking tour include:  

  • Daily walks (2–4.5 hrs) on ancient drovers’ trails in the Cévennes

  • Staying in 1 charming 4-star hotel, a 12th century Chateau with an indoor and outdoor pool, extensive grounds and a restaurant serving classic French cuisine

  • Visiting a transhumant shepherd in the heart of the mountains; a fascinating experience rarely available to visitors

  • Seeing spectacular rock formations and vultures in the Tarn and Jonte Gorges
  • Descending the Tarn Gorge by boat and visiting a stunning cave

Guests' comments on this trip:

'This was a really lovely trip; wonderful landscapes, flowers, vultures... Sarah and Katharine were a dream team and delighted in sharing their immense knowledge of and love for the area. They did everything to make it a wonderful week - they could not have been better.'

'Felt like being on top of the world, fantastic scenery, flowers, food and wine. Good company and excellent leaders.'

'One of the best of the many Kudu trips I've been on.'

D included

After meeting at Montpellier airport in the afternoon, we have a 2.5 hr private transfer by road up into the hills of the Cévennes National Park. Once settled into the comfortable rooms of our 4-star hotel, a glass of Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise precedes a candle-lit dinner in the elegant dining room of this 12th century Chateau.

DAY 2 
B, L, D included 

Easy paths lead us across the Causse Noir to the huge ‘chaos’ rock formations of Les Roquesaltes and the impressive Corniches du Rajol, with fine views over the Gorge of the Dourbie. In the far distance, we can see the world famous bridge at Millasu, designed by Norman Foster. After picnicking amongst the rock formations, we visit the nearby 11th century Priory of Saint Jean de Balmes, the village of La Roujarie and a toit citerne, an ingenious construction to collect and stock rainwater in the arid environment of the Causses.

B, L, D included

We set off for an easy day’s walking exploring the rock formations of Nîmes-le-Vieux, set in a particularly wild corner of the Causse Méjean. Our walk allows us to understand how closely interwoven the agricultural practices are with the landscape and how important traditional methods of agriculture are for biodiversity. Our walk will lead us to the village of Le Veygalier, where we have lunch in an excellent ferme auberge. In the afternoon, we continue to explore these extraordinary landscapes, with a gentle walk and perhaps even a post-lunch siesta in a shady spot …

B, L, D included

Today’s walk offers a change of atmosphere. We leave the limestone of the Grands Causses to explore a wild landscape of granite and schist in the Southern Cévennes. We begin at 1200 m, following small paths through stunning beach woods interspersed with numerous mountain streams, waterfalls and breath-taking views. This rugged terrain is home to the mouflon, a primitive breed of wild sheep that thrives here. On the way back to our hotel, we will visit the summit of Mont Aiguoal. At 1567 m, this is the second highest point of the Cévennes, with views that, on a clear day, stretch from the Alps to the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea.

DAY 5 
B, L, D included

We take a day off from walking in order to experience two other aspects of the landscape. We begin with a visit to the stunning caves of ‘La Grotte Rose’ in Dargilan set on the cliffs of the Causse Noir. In the afternoon, we gently descend the Tarn Gorge by boat. These two activities will give us a fascinating insight into the diversity of this limestone landscape, seeing the fabulous underground world beneath the plateau and exploring the gorges from the bottom as well as the top: an enchanting day that will allow us to rest our walking legs mid-week. In the evening, we go out for dinner to a renowned local restaurant.

B, L, D included

Today we drive into the mountains to meet a transhumant shepherd and his flock. Between the middle of June and the beginning of September, the transhumant shepherds escape the Mediterranean heat of the plain for the cooler temperatures and plentiful grass of the mountains. By nature solitary and reserved, such meetings with shepherds are rare. We will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn all about this ancestral way of life. A riverside picnic and glorious walking complete this magical mountain day.

B, L, D included
In addition to seeing some of the most spectacular rock formations of the region, today’s walk offers excellent viewing opportunities for vultures. The gorges of the Tarn and Jonte are amongst the rare sites in France to be inhabited by all four species of European vulture (Griffon, Black, Egyptian and the Bearded, or Lammergeier). Cliffside paths allow us to discover why this habitat is so ideal for these impressive birds. The day also provides an opportunity to learn a little of the geology that lies behind this extraordinary landscape. A memorable farewell dinner is complemented by fine French regional wines.

B included

Our visit to the Cévennes concludes with a private transfer to the airport for afternoon flights home.

The above itinerary may be adapted according to group fitness and local weather conditions; the final choice of walks and activities, based on group security, rests with the tour leader.

Trip Price, per person sharing:
£2,765.75 until 21st September 2024
£2,840.50 until 21st December 2024
£2,915.25 until 21st March 2025
£2,990 after 21st March 2025
£500 deposit per person
£590 double for single supplement

Please note that the double for single room supplement is imposed by the hotel and not by Kudu Travel. If you are willing to share but no other suitable guest books on the trip, we regret that the supplement will be payable.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation for Days 1 through 8, on a twin shared basis
  • Meals with wine at dinner and restaurant lunches, as listed in the daily notation
  • Land transportation in a private vehicle as described, except during free periods
  • Entrance and sightseeing fees, as described in the itinerary
  • Gratuities for hotel and restaurant staff (appreciation for your Kudu tour guides is at your discretion)
Price does not Include

  • Flights to and from Montpellier
  • Trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  • Immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  • Passport, visa and health documentation
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, alcohol besides wine with group meals, free time activities, etc.
  • Transport and transfer of excess baggage
  • French departure tax, if any


On Kudu trips, you will only need money for postcards, presents to take home, the odd G & T or an irresistible ice cream. Festival and opera tickets, museum and gallery entrances, National Park fees, all meals (with a very few exceptions specified in individual itineraries), wine with lunch and dinner, access to specialist books carried by the guides, gratuities for porters and hotel and restaurant staff, boat rides, train trips, internal flights, wine tastings, 4WDs with drivers, the services of skilled local guides and trackers etc are ALL INCLUDED in the cost of your holiday. 

We are confident that, like previous very satisfied guests, you will discover that our tours give you excellent value for money.

  • 7 nights in a charming 4-star hotel, a 12th century Chateau with a pool, extensive grounds and a restaurant serving classic French cuisine

Visa and Health Requirements 

Visitors from the UK, EU, USA, Australia and Canada currently require a valid passport, but not a visa, for entry to France. If you are a national of any other country, please check visa regulations with your nearest Embassy of France.

Normally, there are no specific and compulsory health requirements for entry to France. British visitors can claim free (emergency) medical treatment in France by presenting their existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) until the card’s expiry date. Once your EHIC expires, you will be able to replace it with a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card).
You may also wish to check the advice given to travellers by the Department of Health and the FCO.      

It is essential, and a condition of booking, that you protect yourself with a suitable travel insurance policy as soon as you book a trip. Follow this link for a quote for a policy available to UK residents.

If you are already insured or a non-UK resident, please inform us of your policy at the time of booking.

Size of party
This trip will run with a minimum of 4 and a maximum of 14 guests.