Sunday, December 6, 2009

A rainy weekend in the Cévennes


A chance to get away, a chance to see other horizons. Stone houses in every direction. Windy roads. Vast vistas, closed and tiny spaces, little perched villages overlooking the valleys. A hike up to the top of a peak, cold, buffeted by the chilly and moist wind, scrambling over rocks, leaving the tree line below. A cozy fire in the b&b, friendly hosts, low ceilings, rain pouring down, muddy dirt roads to navigate on foot and in the car. Simplicity, quiet, otherness. Streams running into rivers, ancient stone bridges crossing over them.


The Protestant history is never far away. Though currently it is more a question of the neo-ruraux (i.e. the newly settled country-folk) and the long-time residents vying for power at the local Mairie, town hall. The former wish to renovate and safe-guard the ancient patrimony, the latter want to at long last get some money from that scrap of land Pappi left them, and to hell with the view.


Here, you are far away from all the major cities (by an hour or so) and yet there are yoga teachers, horse clubs for the kids, mountain biking, donkey rides, choir practice, mushroom picking hikes, and much much more. Out of the way, but not culturally isolated. Not a bad way to live. Though taking the car out every time you leave to go anywhere could get rather tiresome fast. Not to mention having a windy and lengthy ride to any activity so desired. Careful to have your brakes checked!

3 comments:

Zuleme said...

It looks wild and lovely. This is to the west of Avignon, right? I have a book on the Regions of France, I'll see what I find there.

leo said...

Yes, we go through Nimes to Ales, and from there into the Cevennes. You go up, and up, through windy roads, tree-covered hills, past the tiny perched stone villages. Everything is of a smaller dimension, except the heights, distances and views!

tammyps said...

What a charming--and accurate--description of life in the Cevennes! Glad you were able to enjoy some time here. Hopefully you also had some good pelardon...