The Bogtrotter

Walk in the land of the menhirs

by on Sep.17, 2013, under French Walks, Walks

Any Asterix fan will tell you that a menhir is an ancient standing stone. Whilst they are spread all across France, there is a curious concentration of them in the northern Cevennes and this walk takes in many of them.

CombettesThe “Balade au pays des Menhirs” is a 3.5 mile circular walk in the Lozere department in southern France. It takes about two hours to complete the loop, but you will travel back in time through Millennia.

The walk starts from a signed car park on the road from Le Pont de Montvert to Mende. From here you cross a couple of fields, then turn left and follow a farm track with hedges on either side as you descent downhill into dense pine forests. Almost as soon as you enter the woods you start to see menhirs, standing upright in small clearings in the forest. Modern man has worked around these ancient landmarks, leaving them untouched over thousands of years.

The track continues to descent until you emerge into rolling farmland, with a wide vista of the resplendent Gorges du Tarn opening out before you. After 2 miles you reach the tiny hamlet of Combettes, which provides the pretty rustic idil that seems to typify rural France. As you enter the hamlet, a small building on your left (which is actually an old bread oven) houses a permanent exhibition on “Mont Lozere before history”.

Menhirs on the walkFrom Combettes, return to where you entered the hamlet and take the steep path up on your right to start your climb back up the hill. Stunning views across the valley are interrupted by more menhirs and a dolmen (Neolithic tomb) as you progress back to the start.

The route is well signposted and has yellow waymarkers, as well as description boards at 10 points of interest along the route. The Cevennes National Park publish a guide to this walk in French, which you can download here.

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