Stevenson's Trail Complete14 Days & 13 Nights 4.7 Read 20 reviews
- Walk village to village through exceptionally tranquil landscapes on the Stevenson's Trail
- The Cevenne National Park, a maze of deep valleys with forested slopes and winding rivers
- Ancient narrow and cobbled streets of Le Puy en Velay, a World UNESCO Heritage Site
- Fields of colourful wildflowers, outstanding vistas and off-the-beaten-path rural trails
- Picnic lunches of crusty baguette, local cheeses and a full-bodied vin rouge
What To Expect
Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent tour.
Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night
This trip is suitable for:
Solo Travelers, Families
Ideal if you have an interest in:
- Spiritual Journeys
- Historical Journeys
Activity Level & Terrain
This tour is rated moderate because some of the daily walks are relatively long over rough tracks and the terrain is very hilly in some parts. You will need to be in good physical condition to complete the walks on this itinerary. The trails follow ancient footpaths, sheep tracks and drove roads over basalt, granite, schist and limestone and in some sections the rocks can be loose underfoot. You will therefore need to be surefooted. Where possible the route avoids paved roads.
You will be following the GR70, (GR - Grande Randonnée or main walking routes) which is clearly waymarked with the famous red and white stripes, whether on a passing tree, rock, or post. We supply a detailed guidebook and the route is also in the Macs Adventure Smartphone App so navigation is generally easy. Heavy rains, winds and fog do sometimes affect sections of the trail, and in the winter higher ground can be snow-covered at the beginning and end of the walking season.
The accommodation is a mixture of B&B’s, auberges and small hotels. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers and traditional hospitality. Occasionally, due to availability and the nature of this walk, there may not be accommodation right on the path - in which case you will be collected and transferred to your accommodation for the night, or in some cases, it may be the same hotel you stayed in the night before.
Single Rooms & Solo Walkers
If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.
We also welcome solo walkers on the Stevenson's Trail. Whereas solo walkers are usually a solo supplement which is higher than a single supplement, the cost of this tour is the same. So as a solo walker you are simply paying a supplement ot have a single room, making this tour very inexpensive for solo customers.
The delicious French food and wine available locally is undoubtedly a highlight of this holiday. The price of your tour includes continental breakfast each morning with tea, coffee or hot chocolate, homemade jams, local bread and either yogurt, cheese, fruit or ham depending on local availability. Dinner is included also is usually served from 7.30pm onwards. and consists of the meal of the day. Most accommodations do not offer a choice of menu unless you pay a supplement.
Lunch is not included, however, all your hosts will prepare a packed lunch if you let them know a couple of days in advance for 7-10€ approx. pp. or you can pick up a crusty baguette, some fantastic local cheese, sweet ripe fruit and picnic en route. Be sure to depart in the morning with a full water bottle.
- Overnights in B&B’s, auberges and small hotels
- Daily breakfasts
- Daily dinners
- Baggage Transfers
- Transfers as per your itinerary
- A detailed information pack including route notes and maps
- Access to maps, GPX tracks on the Macs Adventure Smartphone Navigation App
- 24/7 Emergency support from our local partners and UK office
- Lunches, snacks or drinks
- Travel insurance
- Personal equipment
- Travel to/from the start and end locations
- Taxi transfers or public transport should you need to skip a stage
- Additional nights' accommodation
When To Go
This tour is available to start on any day between mid-April to the end of October. Spring in Southern France is delightful, but a late winter will mean snow on the highest points of the route and blustery gales! April, May and June are absolutely lovely and the wildflowers are at their best. September & October are special as the landscape takes on its an autumnal pallet of reds and golds, you can gather chestnuts in the south and the panoramic views have lazy late summer feeling, while we can get some spectacular thunderstorms rolling over. July and August can be very hot so you will have to start early to miss the heat of the day, although the towns are bustling.
Getting to the Start
Lyon Airport is the closest airport to Le Puy-en-Velay. From the airport, there is a fast train link (30 mins) to the main train station Gare de Lyon Part-Dieu and from here you can take a TGV train to Le Puy via Saint-Etienne-Châteaucreux to downtown Le Puy, which takes around 2.5 hours. For more information on train times and schedules please visit the SNCF website.
It is also possible to reach Le Puy by train from Nimes, Clermont Ferrand and Montpellier.
When making your travel plans, if you can avoid travelling on a weekend or a public holiday then this will make it easier for you, as making connections on French trains on these days is much more difficult.
If you wish to drive you can leave your car in Le Puy en Velay in the underground car park in the Place du Breuil which is open every day expect Sundays and public holidays from 6:30am to 8pm. However you can leave your car there for many days and it costs around €22 for one week and the parking is secure. More information is provided in your information pack. After you have finished your tour you can return to Le Puy en Velay by the transport company, La Malle Postal. If you want to do this you need to book as early as possible as they can get very busy during the height of the season. We can also provide a private transfer if you wish.
Getting from the End
The closest train station to the end of your tour in St Jean du Gard is Ales Train Station. There are buses that run between these two places. You will find the schedules here. However the bus runs infrequently, therefore we recommend taking a taxi as it is only a short distance. More information can be found in your information pack. From Ales you can take trains to Nimes where you can take a TGV to Paris. You can also travel to Lyon from Ales if you are flying from here.
Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation to your next overnight stop. The weight of your bags is restricted to 15kg per bag, this is due to the health and safety regulations of the bag transfer company, and also takes into account the many fragile bridges that they need to cross which have weight limits. If you bag weighs more than 15kg, or if you have more than one bag then there is the possibility that you will have to pay a supplement.
The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sunhat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a daypack.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable Travel Insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as this trail has very limited accommodation and baggage handlers. If you can start on a week day to avoid the peak week-end periods it’s much better but not essential. We will always try and accommodate your plans so just ask.
This walking holiday is graded moderate with a couple of days that are moderate to strenuous and so fairly challenging. This involves walking between four and eight hours walking each day. Some of the paths are very steep so you should be in pretty good shape to get the most from this adventure.
Your bags will be transferred between accommodations as per your itinerary. You just need to ask your host where to leave your bag in the morning and it will be picked up soon after 8am. We ask that you limit your bags to one per person of a maximum of 15kg.
After booking we will send you a detailed per departure information pack which includes a kit list of standard walking gear such as good walking shoes/boots, comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.
Spring in Southern France is delightful but a late winter will mean snow on the highest points of the route and blustery gales! Late April, May and June are absolutely lovely and the wild flowers are at their best. September is special as the landscape takes on its autumnal pallet of reds and golds, you can gather chestnuts in the south and the panoramic views have lazy late summer feeling, while we can get some spectacular thunderstorms rolling over. July and August can be very hot so you will have to start early to miss the heat of the day, although the towns are buzzing which is great.
Well you don’t need to but a Bonjour and a Merci will work wonders. We’ll give you a few useful phrases and words to help you along and if you get stuck an Ooh-La-La goes a long way!
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive Le Puy-en-Velay and overnight
This ancient medieval town, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is dominated by three “puys” (steep volcanic plugs) crowned by the massive statue of Mary, the ancient Cathedral and St Michel’s chapel. Almost unchanged in a thousand years, the medieval houses and steep-streets nestle below the volcanic rock and the streets are bustling with shops, little restaurants and café terraces.
Situated close to the old town in Le Puy-en-Velay, this hotel offers 45 modern rooms and an on-site bar. It is a 10-minute walk from the train station. A buffet breakfast is available each morning and includes pastries, marmalade, ham and cheese.
This is the first stage of your walking tour, which takes you to Monastier, from where R. L Stevenson began his journey. Leave the built-up area of Le Puy and walk into the surrounding countryside and it's volcanic landscapes. Pass first of all through Coubon, then continue through the Parc Naturel Regional de Monts d'Ardeche where you will be treated to stunning landscapes on this eastern edge of the Massif Central. Continue onto Le Monastier sur Gazeille, where you will spend the night.
The Auberge les Acacias is an essential stopover for hikers wishing to take a well-deserved rest. Extremely comfortable and welcoming.
Cross the gorge of the Loire at Goudet (ideal spot for picnic lunch) to reach the high volcanic plateau. Pass several small hamlets set amidst a patchwork of black volcanic soil and the green fields of Puy lentils to the isolated hamlet of Le Bouchet Saint Nicolas.
Hosts for 2 generations, Emilie, Pierre and their daughters Laura, Léa and Evana will be delighted to welcome you to their guest rooms as you walk the Stevenson's Trail. It is also a small farm and they are producers of the typical local green lentils.
Today walk via Arquejol, a spectacular railway viaduct, crossing a deep ravine and following a high plateau ridge to the market town of Landos. Detouring briefly, you can walk to Rocher de la Fagette if you wish and take in the stunning views of the rounded volcanic mountaintops and to Pradelles. Then pass through Pradelle before descending to the larger market town of Langogne where you will spend the night.
This hotel is situated on the trail in Langogne. It has a restaurant, bar and terrace and all the rooms are modern and recently renovated.
Some undulating terrain awaits as you pass through forests and small streams, crossing ancient humpback bridges. Discover the remote Gévaudan countryside and pass the village of Saint-Flour-de-Mercoire and the Mercoire forest to Sagne-Rousse, where Stevenson got hopelessly lost! An ancient sunken track then descends to the remote hamlet of Cheylard L’Evèque.
This inn is located in Gévaudan, between Margeride and Cévennes, in the heart of the grandiose and mysterious forest of Mercoire. Here you will be welcomed to a warm and authentic table, where its comfortable and refined rooms will ensure you a well-deserved rest.
Today walk through rolling hills and forests whilst enjoying breath-taking views of the distant blue Cévennes Mountains. Then join the route to Luc and descend along a rough mule track into the Allier valley and the Ardèche department at Laveyrune. Before reaching the hamlet of Bastide Puylaurent, and after Rogleton, you will find the Abbey of Notre Dame des Neiges, home to Cistercian monks who produce wine.
A former coaching inn, the Hotel La Grand Halte is located in La Bastide-Puylaurent in Lozère near the Saint-Laurent Church. All the hotel rooms are very well equipped.
Ascend to La Mourade at 1308m and enjoy fine high country walking and stunning panoramic views south to the Cévennes mountains. Continue through the majestic Forest Domaniale de la Gardille to Chabalier before arriving at the historic hamlet of Chasserades. A relatively short walk today provides you with plenty of time to take photos and stop for a long picnic lunch, whilst savouring the views.
Fred and Virginie are happy to welcome you to their gîte and table d'hôtes. This auberge was renovated in 2017 and consists of 10 private rooms equipped with a walk-in shower.
From Chasserades the trail goes through the tiny village of Mirandola with it's distinctive “lauzes” roof tiles and a massive 30m viaduct. The forest-covered Goulet Massif is the first major climb on the trail, but you will be rewarded by the breath-taking panoramas. Lying at 1413m, the town of Le Bleymard is considered the gateway to the Cevennes National Park and lies below the drove road, “La Drailles des Mulets”. It is a steep descent, following the Lot River into the town.
Originally a coaching inn where horses were rested but now a hotel with 20 fully equipped rooms. It's still at the heart of village life.
An exciting day of walking awaits. Ancient standing stones, or Montjoies, mark the route today as the awe-inspiring panorama of the Cevennes opens up. Walk up Mont Lozere, a ski station and the Pic de Finiels, which at 1699m, it is not only the highest peak of the trail, but of the whole Cévennes. Descend the rough steep track through the photogenic scattered boulders as you head to Pont de Montvert.
This delighful auberge has a unique charm and spirit. With 14 rooms, there is a wide choice of comfortable accommodation, whether you are traveling alone, as a couple, with family or friends. Both warm and functional the rooms and their amenities have been designed so that you can experience a wonderful stay.
Walking doesn’t come much better than this as you head off into the heart of the Cévennes. This is the longest hiking day of the whole tour, with energetic ascents and descents, but rewards all day long with spectacular views. On this stage cross the Col du Sapet pass, down to Bedoues, before reaching Florac, a small pretty town in a fantastic position in the Tarnon river valley. There is a castle here and two large squares with restaurants and shops.
This family-run hotel is situated in a picturesque village in the heart of the Cevennes National Park. Each room is nicely decorated and has all modern amenities.
Take some time in the morning to explore the picturesque streets of Florac before continuing on your adventure. The first part of the day is a challenging walk over hills and along balcony paths among the red-rock scenery of the Mimenti Valley. By contrast, the second half of the day is more relaxing as you wander through enchanting countryside following the gorge along the disused railway track to the hamlet of Cassagnas.
Ideally located, this accommodation offers comfortable guest rooms, and a gourmet table with a buffet of local specialties for dinner and a plentiful breakfast buffet in the morning.
Follow the trail through forested Camisards country (where Protestant rebels fought against the Huguenots between 1685 and 1715) and walk among chestnut trees as the route circles below the watershed of Mount Mars. Take an easy climb to La Plan de Fontmort before joining various other forested GR trails and arriving at the Col de la Pierre Plantee (891m) and your last views of some mysterious standing stones. Next, join an ancient track following the chestnut groves to the valley and St Etienne Valley Française.
You will receive a warm welcome you to this 14th century castle, whose history has survived various king's, the wars of religion, the French Revolution, and many other historical events. The Château de Cambiaire, with its shale stones more than 650 years old, offers you serenity, whilst surrounded by history.
Your final day of walking takes you to the summit of Saint-Pierre, where you will be rewarded with a breath-taking 360-degree panorama of the Cévennes Mountains. Continue on downhill to the pretty hamlet of Pied de Cote to join the Gardon river walk and over the ancient bridge into the main town of St-Jean-du-Gard. Here is where Robert Louis Stevenson also ended his journey and sold his donkey. Tonight, perhaps give him a toast, and reflect on your amazing travels with a glass or two and maybe a delightful dinner in a local restaurant.
Situated in the heart of St Jean du Gard, in a former silk spinning mill, this family-run hotel offers 16 cosy and comfortable rooms where you can enjoy your stay surrounded by the unspoilt greenery of the countryside. The perfect spot to end your Stevenson Trail adventure!
Say “Au Revoir” to the Stevenson’s Trail after your breakfast and proceed with your onward travel plans.
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