Visit The Magnificent Cévennes National Park in Lozère & Gard, a Magnificent Region of Languedoc Roussillon, France

Stunning early morning views from L'Elzet
Stunning early morning views from L'Elzet
Crystal clear aquamarine River Swimming nearby
Crystal clear aquamarine River Swimming nearby

There is a huge place in my heart for the magnificent Cévennes in Languedoc, France
, and it is a unique place to stay. I have always loved the rural beauty inland of the Mediterranean coast and prefer staying in an authentic "Gite Ruraux" over a swish hotel. But L'Elzet Gites & the Cévennes is far far more - it can be a heady experience immersed in such dramatic scenery, connected to nature in this idyllic haven. It lifts the spirit, calms the mind and inspires all who visit. Combined with great hospitality, and lots to see and do, it will be a holiday like no other.

On my first visit to L'Elzet and the Cevennes it was a magical sight, and I could barely get my breath for the wonder of L'Elzet itself, and the breathtaking panoramic views before me. Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter, it still continues to enthrall me.

Having traveled far, I have now come to the conclusion that I don't need to. Everything I could want in a holiday is in reach here. Though my family have lived in Cannes for over 30 years and more, I am always drawn to get on a plane or train, and spend much of my holiday time in this magical place.

I hope you enjoy the rest of this Hub Page, If so, please leave a comment , thumbs up, or become a Fan of L'Elzet Gites. Thanks!

Introduction by Annette, Leeds UK

L'Elzet Gites in Autumn
L'Elzet Gites in Autumn
East view of L'Elzet today
East view of L'Elzet today
L'Elzet when bought in 1986
L'Elzet when bought in 1986

L'Elzet Gites France - A Unique Chateau Style Farmhouse in the Cevennes

These SE Cevennes Holiday Gites (with swimming pool) are in a stunning location for a rich and diverse holiday in France. The Languedoc Roussillon region is probably the most diverse and beautiful of all the regions in this vast & wonderful country, and has the highest sunshine hours equalled by only one other region in France.

From here you can enjoy the magnificent Cevennes National Park (read more about this below) to the West. Saint Jean du Gard is just 11km, Ales 34km, Nimes 45 mins, Montpellier 1hr45, historical Uzes & the Pont du Gard en route to Avignon to the East, or the Mediterranean coast and everything in-between to the South.

Each Gite has its own corner of a unique and delightful Chateau Style Farmhouse with pool, including a romantic Tower Annexe, lovely apartment & "Gite Ruraux", They are self-catering, or b&b, with Anglo French hospitality, but visitors often join together for a BBQ, or meal for all with a laugh or two, The superb views and tranquillity here are evocative (outside of family holidays of course!).

Every season has its beauty here. Some of our visitors try Spring or Autumn instead of the usual Summer and are astounded at the fun and enjoyment to be had when not so blistering hot!

Try a Long Let outside of the main season - it's a great way to speed-improve your family French! If with children - there is a good school for Junior to 14yrs old in our village!

The Challenge and the Extraordinary

Jeaves Ropero, like many from the UK, bought a ruin, spent many years of labour on it, and then committed to a life permanently in France. L'Elzet evolved, 25 years in all so far, with a vision that was quite extraordinary. Without an architect L'Elzet became a chateau born out of a ruin to become what it is today.

Jeaves always strives to help everyone get the most out of their stay in the Cevennes. With her character and hospitality I know she offers (she's a fab cook too) it's no surprise that feedback says L'Elzet is loved by so many.

one of our tiny residents (just 3in high) now all grown up and set free
one of our tiny residents (just 3in high) now all grown up and set free

Some of Our Residents!

L'Elzet has a menagerie of animals, all with such individual character and as tame as house pets. There is always a newborn or young ones that need feeding and children love to get involved.

There are goats, Lilly the sheep who followed Jeaves everywhere and thought she was a hen and demanded to sleep with them! until she was given a new friend.

Our 4 gorgeous donkeys - 2 young ones, then Pacarette & Annabelle who love being taken for a walk on a picnic or to the village (they especially know their way to the bakery!).

One recent resident - a "Little Owl" (the smallest of the species) named "Kes", with its candid stare, was rescued and raised from just 2in tall until fully grown and set free.

An Oasis at La Cascade
An Oasis at La Cascade

Idyllic Surroundings

Imagine swimming in crystal clear, aquamarine springwater, sheltered by petit canyons, where even in the driest of Summers there is still swimming here; or exploring the many walks of Robert Lewis Stevenson's account in "Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes", or horse riding along ancient trails that thrill. Canoeing, kayacking, climbing or caving the Cevennes can offer it all and more.

The Cevennes National Park
The Cevennes National Park

A Stunning Film about the Cevennes (1st half)

The Cevennes National Park

The National Park is a wild and rugged mountaneous area, with forests of sweet chestnut, granite cliffs, canyons, and rich verdant valleys, crowned by Mont Lozere.

In contrast, limestone has created fabulous deep underground caves. Of all of these, the Grotte de Trabuc is the most spectacular - From February through November, and dramatically lit,the "100,000 soldiers", underground lakes and unlikely glittering formations are in many hues. It is just a 25 min drive from L'Elzet..

This land is also shaped by its several river "Gardons" , and in places, deeply gouged out of the bedrock to dramatic effect. One of these well worth the visit is the Gorge du Tarn, near Florac..

The Cevennes National Park is designated as a "Biosphere" uniquely protected by UNESCO since 1985. This includes protection of the Cevenol way of life within the park, as well as its uniquely diverse nature, geology and archeaology.

This "Biosphere" supports 2,250 species of flora, some unique to the Cevennes and Botanists from all over Europe and beyond come to study them. Look out for an orchid only to be found in the hedgerow in May/June. There are 2450 reported species of animal life including the reintroduced, and prized, fawn and black vultures.

Voted one of the top "Must See and Do"' things in France is to drive the dramatic Corniche Des Cévennes in Autumn, with its rich russets and golds of sweet chestnut. And L'Elzet is perfectly placed.

Parc Parfum d'Aventure nr Anduze

L'Elzet - Local Information

The village of St-Etiènne-Vallée-Française is only 1.5km from L'Elzet with friendly villagers and typical local shops, it also boasts a bar-restaurant which serves great affordable food. just beyond the village, at each end, are two more restaurants, one of which was such an entertaining experience we loved every minute and every morsal that was served.

St Jean Du Gard is 11km and sits on a wider section of the river Gardon. (There is an amazing restaurant here called L'Orangerie that was reported to be as good as a michelin star but I have yet to try it!). It is quite a hub of activity and at the Visitor Centre here you can find out about the local festivals and cultural events, as well as at Mende. There is a Cevenol Museum, Aquarium and outdoor swimming pool.Twice a week it has a marvelous colourful and lively street market. You can take the Steam Train from here which takes you through beautiful scenery with a stop-off at the Giant Bamboozerie Park on it's winding way to Anduze.

Anduze has much to visit. The ancient tower dominates, and cobbled streets, colourful lively street cafes/restaurants and nearby attractions make it a place to include in your holiday. The Grotte de Trabuc is famous and well worth a visit to see some unique features here.

The Parc Parfum d'Aventure is close to Anduze, and is a thrilling activity day for all the family. Forest canopy and ground assault courses (children's, and older who are fit enough for the red and black levels of ability too), park and river activities too.The videos on the right are an inkling of what you can do here though visit the website link to see how it caters for the younger (from 3yrs old) to anyone who wants excitement in a supervised safe environment!

Location nr St Jean Du Gard, Languedoc Roussillon, 2hrs North of Montpelier, 1hr Nimes

A markerL'Elzet, St Etienne Vallee Francaise, 48330 France -
L'Elzet, Cévennes National Park, 48330 Saint-Étienne-Vallée-Française, France
[get directions]

Nature Guide to Cévennes and Grands Causses - France

© 2008 L'Elzet Gites

Please feel free to leave your Comments....... 29 comments

Mwnet profile image

Mwnet 8 years ago

This is an amazing area! For the last 3 years we have had our summer holiday in this region staying close to St. Cyprien. I could quite easily move here permanently.


L'Elzet Gites profile image

L'Elzet Gites 8 years ago from L'Elzet Gites, Cevennes, Languedoc, South France Author

Same here Wayne!

I might just do that one of these days myself.


karenji236 8 years ago

This was a fantastic HUB, I loved it. The little owl was a scene stealer. I would love to be able to write HUBs like this - what a travel bulletin for France.


L'Elzet Gites profile image

L'Elzet Gites 8 years ago from L'Elzet Gites, Cevennes, Languedoc, South France Author

Thanks Karen

I really appreciate your comments. The "Little Owl" stole the scene the whole Spring and summer of 2007 at L'Elzet - every visiter was smitten!!


smartecreation profile image

smartecreation 8 years ago

There is something magical about this area in France! Thanks for creating this great hub page.

CarolAEB profile image

CarolAEB 8 years ago

Interesting hub, we love France although we've never visited this area - we tend to go to Normandy and the countryside around there.

Moving over to France is something we're thinking about so your link to the French Inheritance Tax site is extremely useful - thanks.


Powdrill 8 years ago

One of my favourite parts of France. Thank you for creating this lovely Hub, which has brought back some great memories.


L'Elzet Gites profile image

L'Elzet Gites 8 years ago from L'Elzet Gites, Cevennes, Languedoc, South France Author

Thank you for appreciating my hub page and I hope you get the opportunity to visit this beautiful region one day. I included information about property buying because a new motorway link has been built between Nimes and Ales, and the property in this area is climbing in value; and inheritance taxes because most people don't think about these issues before they commit to the contract to purchase.


David Francis profile image

David Francis 8 years ago from London

Great hub. I love visiting France and this has inspired me to think about another holiday.


Sting-Ray profile image

Sting-Ray 8 years ago from Tx

Great hub, were can i get one of those little owls? Anyone know?

L'Elzet Gites profile image

L'Elzet Gites 8 years ago from L'Elzet Gites, Cevennes, Languedoc, South France Author

Thanks David, You might just be imagining the sights, sounds and smell of France and before you know it you might be booking a holiday real soon!!


L'Elzet Gites profile image

L'Elzet Gites 8 years ago from L'Elzet Gites, Cevennes, Languedoc, South France Author

Glad to know you liked my hub Sting-ray,

Getting a !Little Owl", which is the name of this kind of owl, might be difficult - this one fell out of a tree when he was tiny, about 1.5 inches tall!


Holly D Irwin profile image

Holly D Irwin 8 years ago from Montreal

You rendered the feeling of this place beautifully. It is heart warming and so inviting that I want to fly there right now.

Merci du ton personnel et chaleureux.

Mschanl profile image

Mschanl 8 years ago from USA

This is a wonderful hub L'Elzet. I like all the pictures that you've included, especially the owl, the lake and the apartment lthat looks perfect in it's settings

artstudio profile image

artstudio 8 years ago from Toronto

Thanks for pleasure to read your page and dream

Liz Winfield 8 years ago

Just to say that we have stayed at this Gite on at least 4 occasions before, and after having children! It is the most amazing place and we have watched Jeaves transform it over a number of years. Her hard work and dedication to providing outstanding service and value for money has made every holiday there an absolute delight! I would thoroughly recommend staying there to everyone! It is the most relaxing place to be and my two children adore all the animals! We are hoping to visit once more in October 08.

Peter Fry 8 years ago

A great read, fantastic hub. I'll make a point of visiting sometime in the future ---beautiful place

nikki stones 8 years ago

Great Hub Annette, Well done, i think it sums it all up very well!


CHARLES WESTON 8 years ago

Tremendous hubpage. Don't know why I 've never visited it before. Maureen and I have stayed at L'Elzet on 4 different occasions over the last few years and we love it! Jeaves has achieved so much in building a truly Cevernol gem in the midst of some magnificent countryside. We've stayed in the Tower and in The Cled (the cottage adjoining the main house) and have been made so welcome on each occasion. Our most recent visit was in April '08 when we had an opportunity to see the area at its greenest. Unfortunately the owl seems to have flown but the remaining assortment of animals were much in evidence. We hope to make another visit to L'Elzet in the summer of '09.

funandgames 8 years ago

What a beautiful hubpage! I've only been to France once, so have much to discover :) You've inspired me to dream about a visit to this delightful place.

Hope the little lambs are doing well!


Party Girl profile image

Party Girl 8 years ago

Fantastic hub, well done Annette. It is packed full of useful information and seems like a really lovely part of the world. Would love to visit in the future.


Deborah  8 years ago

What a brilliant hub you've designed here - its really impressive and incredibly informative. It truly captures the passion and dedication of Jeaves and Phillipe to L'Elzet not only in caring for such a beautiful building but also in providing a fantastic environment for guests. No one could look after guests more than Jeaves does!! I found that it is also an excellent guide to L'Elzet and the Cevennes; and it is truly an indication of your love of everything conencted with this magical place. Wonderful photos. You should have more!!

Win Derbyshire 7 years ago

I have stayed at L'Elzet several times and long to go back - it is in a fabulous area, and the gites, and Jeaves who runs them, contribute to a memorable holiday.

Tom 6 years ago

Annette - your words have struck a chord. The photographs are breathtaking and totally compulsive/attractive.

I will come to your dream as soon as I can.

Simply breath-taking!

BrianS profile image

BrianS 6 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

Thanks for visiting my hub, your location looks fabulous. I think we are very lucky to live in the Languedoc Roussillon region. I am traveling in the UK at the moment but will get in touch when I get back to France shortly, we can exchange links etc. for our websites then.

James Mark profile image

James Mark 6 years ago from York, England

Thanks for this and for including the historical link to the Camisards. We've been encouraged to go to the Cévennes by friends but have never made it. One day, perhaps.

FranceTravelGal profile image

FranceTravelGal 5 years ago

This is a beautiful hub. I have yet to visit this area of France and look forward to it. Just the photo of the river and it's blue green water is all it takes for me to go there on my next visit. I love to swim in fresh water.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

I've never been to France and would enjoy doing so someday. Will certainly keep this area in mind. It looks gorgeous! Thanks!

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

This sounds like a wonderful place to visit! Thanks for sharing all the information.

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