Discover Stevenson's Trail
Why Walk the Stevenson's Trail?
There are many reasons to walk the Stevenson's Trail. Not least is that you will be walking in he footsteps of the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson who embarked on his walk in 1878.
You will truly be in hidden France. This is a world away from the Cote d'Azur, Provence or Paris. Each place has its own merits, but the outstanding landscapes here are remote, wild and full of history. The Stevenson's Trail offers the chance to walk through this peaceful region to regroup and get away from it all. This is sure to be accomplished as you breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the amazing views as you walk through forests, river valleys, idyllic and charming hamlets and villages and on trails up and down cols. On some days you may not meet another soul, except perhaps the odd farmer or two!
The Stevenson's Trail takes you through parts of the Massif Central, the largest upland area in France. It is here that many thousands of pilgrims walked on their way to Santiago to Compostela in the Middle Ages. Much evidence of this still remains, with many medieval churches and abbeys that were built on the pilgrim route, which in this area is the Camino Le Puy Way (you can also walk this trail with Macs Adventure). You will also walk through Camisards country (where Protestant rebels fought against the Huguenots between 1685 and 1715) and where they had a resolute stronghold.
Travelling in France you will rarely have a bad meal, but the food in these areas is really connected to the landscapes, so both earthy and delicious. The food here now stems from peasant food in the past, but a bit more refined. You will see plenty of orchards en route and one dish you really need to try is Clafoutis, a cherry tart. Also worth tasting is La Truffade, a potato dish with fresh Cantal cheese and the famous Le Puy green lentils in a potage.
Why Did Robert Louis Stevenson Walk This Walk?
In 1878 the young writer Robert Louis Stevenson decided to walk from Le Puy en Velay to St Jean du Gard, in the remote rural terrain of the Massif Central. He was accompanied by his donkey called Modestine and he apparantely chose this particular area of France to walk in because it was one of the rare regions where protestantism still prevailed.
He philosophised about his walking experience as follows..."I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more clearly; to come down off the feather bed of civilisation and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints"
He wanted to walk alone focused on the landscapes, the people and also the cultural and historical aspects. He did not plan very well and in his book ‘Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes’ he explains his travels and tribulations of route finding. His experience will be in complete contrast to your own, as you will be able to follow the tracks in the Macs Adventure Smartphone App.
As a result of the book he wrote about his experiences, he not only created a new trail, the GR70, but it also made him famous for the first time. Then he went on to become well-known for 'Treasure Island' and 'Kidnapped'.