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11 days
  • self guided walk
  • 8 nights in country hotels, 2 nights in gite
  • 8 Dinners
  • 10 Breakfasts





Trip Code: JCV

Trip highlights

  • French Country Walking in the Massif Central
  • Glorious Quiet Countryside, Meadows and Shaded Chestnut Forests.
  • Pretty Riverside Strolls and Walks Over Low Mountains

In the autumn of 1878, the Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island and Kidnapped, set out from Le Monastier in the Auvergne to walk south across the Cevennes accompanied by "a small grey donkey called Modestine, the colour of a mouse with a kindly eye". It took this pleasing pair eleven days to complete the trip, and the book that Stevenson wrote about their journey, Travels with a donkey in the Cevennes was his first successful book and one, which has since become a travel classic.Stevenson should have put the Cevennes "on the map", but despite his account of his travels through this region, it remains little known. His book did however inspire the establishment of the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail ('Trace Historique de Stevenson” on French maps) in 1978, the centenary year of the original walk. The local people encouraged by a Scotswoman, Madame Pat Villette, decided to retrace and waymark the trail. The route was partially waymarked by blue and white markers carrying the St. Andrews Cross of Scotland. More recently the Stevenson's Trail has been designated as GR70 and waymarked with the usual white over red GR marks. The walk starts near Le Puy en Velay in the Auvergne, a hilly region of extinct volcanoes in the north of the Massif Central and follows a winding route southwards across the Cevennes, a more mountainous area on the eastern flank of the Massif Central. The Cevennes National Park covers 3,284 sq kms, of which 914 sq kms in the central zone are protected. The headquarters of the park are at Florac and it is the only generally inhabited French National Park. The region that Stevenson chose for his journey boasts great natural beauty and is almost totally unspoilt. Depopulation as drastic as that in Stevenson's native Scotland has left a region full of sad romantic ruins. The walk itself is not difficult; the hills are not particularly high. However, the trail does cross two significant mountains: Mont du Goulet (1,497m) and Mont Lozere (1,699m); for the most part we are able to follow quite closely the route taken by Stevenson over a century ago. It is not known the exact route that he went on all the days however and some parts that he did walk on have become road, so the GR trail heads off on different cross country routes.

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

Traveller Rating


For your first nights accommodation you stay in the historic city of Le Puy not far from Le Monastier where the Stevenson’s Trail begins. Le Puy is a wonderful town to explore and you may wish to add an extra night. Its most striking attraction is the Cathédrale Notre-Dame du Puy, dating chiefly from the first half of the 12th century. Each morning, pilgrims gather at the cathedral to be blessed before starting their journey to Santiago de Compostela. The cathedral has been a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1998, as part of the “Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France”. The iron statue of Notre-Dame de France (The Virgin Mary) overlooking the town was designed by the French sculptor Jean-Marie Bonnassieux, and is made from 213 Russian cannons taken in the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855). Fountain Crozatier is also worth visiting in the centre of town. Accommodation: Stay in a comfortable 3* hotel a few minutes walk from the train station. All rooms are ensuite.

Meals:  D

Taxi transfer (included) from Le Puy to Le Monastier where the Stevenson's Trail starts. Take a moment for a look around Le Monastier before you start the walk. You could visit the Abbey Church with its 15th century organ or the Chateau, part of which is now the Municipal Museum and the Town Hall. You walk on via the village of St. Martin de Fugeres to Goudet where we cross the River Loire. From here there's only half the day's distance left to cover through the Velay hills. Accommodation: Stay in a welcoming auberge in this tiny village. The restaurant serves traditional regional specialities.

Meals:  B,D

Before you reach your goal for today, walk through Landos, Arquejol and Pradelles. This last place is an old fortified village that overlooks the Upper Allier Valley. It used to be an important stopping place for merchants importing goods from the South of France. The rest of the day is downhill to Langogne, on the banks of the River Allier. Accommodation: we use a charming, centrally-located hotel offering ensuite accommodation, a terrace and a restaurant.

Meals:  B,D

A generally ascending series of paths past mills and wayside cavalries brings us to the ruined village of Fouzilhac, where Robert Louis Stevenson got very lost! Of this region Stevenson wrote, "Moor, heather marsh, tracts of rock and pines, woods of birch, green and stony cattle tracks wandered in and out...." Little has changed. From the village it is just a couple of km of mainly descent into the very quiet, tiny village of Cheylard-l'Eveque. Accommodation: A beautiful granite and slate gite, with basic but comfortable and stylish guest rooms in the center of the village. There is a shaded terrace as well as a garden. The benches and tables will offer you a moment of relaxation while waiting for the evening meal prepared from fresh products from Lozère producers or purchased at the Langogne market, all dinners consist of a starter, a main course, a cheese platter and a dessert. Most rooms have private facilities but not always ensuite.

Meals:  B,D

Pass through the village of Cheylard and the Chabadoures ravine on to La Bastide Puy Laurent a tiny village with approx. 200 inhabitants. From La Bastide it is another 7 km round trip to visit the abbey of Notre Dame des Neiges, where Stevenson spent several nights. This is possible to visit on the walk into the village on a slight diversion adding 5.5 km. However you could walk it from La Bastides the same day (a 2 hour round walk), but may be a bit too much for some people today especially if you want to have some time at the monastery. If you would like to add an extra night to your trip for a rest day or more sightseeing, we suggest La Bastide. Accommodation: A simple, convivial 1* hotel. All rooms are ensuite and there is a restaurant.

Meals:  B,D

Head south away from the river through woods and past dolmens to reach Chasserades. A walk over the Montagne du Goulet ridge brings us to Le Bleymard. This small village rises to an altitude of 1087m and will surprise you with its heritage, Chapel of Saint Jean du Bleymard, Priory of Saint Jean du Bleymard, known as Peytavin House and beautiful old houses with slate roofs of Tournel. *Note that it is possible to shorten today's walk by a taxi dropping you off further up the route. Accommodation: Overnight in a high standard 2* hotel traditionally appointed, with ensuite facilities and a fine pine beam and stone restaurant surrounding a large hearth.

Meals:  B,D

Continue south along an old drovers road, over the Col de Finiels, past the Chalet du Mont Lozere. The col with its fine viewpoint over the Cevennes, makes a delightful lunch stop. There is an opportunity in clear weather to reach the Sommet de Finiels (1698m), the highest point in the Lozere range. We descend to Le Pont de Montvert. Accommodation: A 2* hotel, which sits on the riverbank of the Tarn. All rooms are ensuite and have a balcony. The restaurant serves regional specialities.

Meals:  B,D

From Le Pont de Montvert walk south along the Martinet valley and ascend the ridge of the Montagne du Bouges. From here continue along the crest of the two valleys of the Tarn and Mimente. At the end of the ridge descend into Florac. You can discover the region's history and geology at the imaginative exhibition house in the old chateau. The town itself is quite small, but has two large open squares with restaurants and a few shops. The quaint boulevards of the old town offer a tempting array of cafes. Accommodation: Stay at a 3* hotel in the centre of town. All rooms are ensuite and the property includes a traditional restaurant, landscaped gardens and a swimming pool. there is a bad weather route which is just over 3km shorter.

Meals:  B

Continue up the valley of the Mimente to reach the Col de Jalcreste. From here an old shepherd’s trail leads through the forest, chestnut groves and deserted farms to St Germain de Calberte. The big climb happens after the village of Cassagnes. A long day of walking, but with some very dramatic views. Accommodation: This simple but comfortable gite is a combination of two houses next to each other, dating from 18th & 19th century. It is located in the centre of the village and all the rooms are ensuite.

Meals:  B,D

From St Germain the route leads through the sleepy village of St Etienne. Pass a picturesque manor house before your final walk through forest to St Jean de Gard. You may wish to have an extra night in St Jean du Gard as it is a lovely town to explore. On Tuesday there is a colourful open air market with garments made in the famous Tissu Provencal, Faience de Moustiers (colourfully glazed pottery) and “Poterie d’Anduze.” You may wish to take the steam train to Anduze. The steam railway runs every day from mid-June to the end of August, with a more limited service (mainly at weekends) from the end of March to mid-June and in September and October. Accommodation: Built in 1882, our excellent 2* hotel here offers fine facilities in an idyllic setting. The rooms are ensuite and there is a swimming pool.

Meals:  B

Depart St Jean du Gard for your onward journey.

Meals:  B



The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


  • 10 breakfasts, 8 dinners
  • 10 nights accommodation in country hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities where available
  • Luggage transfer, 1 piece 13kg maximum
  • Information pack including guidebook, route notes & maps
  • Emergency hotline
  • GPX files will be sent to you

  • 2 dinners & lunches & beverages
  • Entrance fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to the start and from the end point of the trip
  • Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
  • Unscheduled transfers required during the trip
  • A supplement will apply if you are travelling solo or book a single room
  • Guide - this is a self guided holiday
  • Excess luggage


moderate to challenging  

‘Moderate – Challenging’ (grade 4). A walk for reasonably fit and experienced walkers. The grade reflects the length of the days and the roughness of the terrain. Day Stages: up to 34km (21miles) per day over hilly and sometimes exposed terrain terrain.

Departure dates

Daily from 1 May to 1 Oct (except Monday)


8 day version available (code JC8).

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Priceper person from


Options & Supplements*
  • Single SupplementUSD$380
  • Solo Traveller SupplementUSD$490
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews

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We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

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Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

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