Corconne, Lasalle and Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort: discovering villages of the Cevennes
Once Scooby was loaded, the vehicle insurance signed and Erwan’s latest recommendations given, it was finally time for us to hit the road, to discover the Cevennes roads. Even though we are both from the region (Montpellier to be specific), we never really had the opportunity to explore this part of our country and we were very excited by that perspective. The simple act of turning the ignition and hitting the road was enough to fill us with a sense of freedom and serenity punctuated by these beautiful folk songs we had carefully selected. Feel free to listen to our playlist while reading this article to fully get yourself in the mood. First stop, Corconne and its “Balade du Pont du Hasard” (Fortune Bridge Walk). The weather was nice in those first days of May and we were still intoxicated by the very nice encounters we had in Corsica a few days before; we will tell you all about it in details later. After struggling a little, Seb got used pretty quickly to driving the van and we were now going full speed (well, 45 mph!) to the first leg of our road trip.
Walk on the heights of Corconne
Once we got there, we parked our house on wheels in the parking lot behind the city hall of the village and we got set up : it was already time to eat! After scratching our heads for 10 minutes trying to figure out how to put up the camping table (yes, it was our first time camping!), we installed our feast in the sun. Red wine, chili sardines, sausage, tabbouleh, nectarines, we really treated ourselves with this meal and fully savored all these good things in the heart of this very quiet village. We were pleasantly surprised to find clean public toilets near our stopping spot. Drinking water (which we had forgotten to buy!), toilets and even an electrical outlet, perfect! Then came the moment to tackle the famous “Balade du Pont du Hasard” (Fortune Bridge Walk) which has its starting point, a small gravel path, just a few meters away from the parking lot. We arrived to the Fate Bridge after walking for about 20 minutes, after passing through an impressive canyon. It is in fact a large natural arch connecting two cliffs overlooking the village. We continued climbing higher, helping yourself with your hands is sometimes required. This is a pretty sporty but accessible walk if you are healthy and the path is very well marked. We then headed towards the Chapel dating back from the 19th century and got to the reward pretty quickly: a gorgeous panorama overlooking Corconne’s olive groves and vineyards. The effort was well worth it! You should plan about 1 hour and a half to complete this short hike that has an important height difference.
Bivouac on the Salendrinque bank
Back at the van, we then had to find a place to camp for the night, near Saint-Hippolyte-Du-Fort, where we wanted to go to the farmers market the next day. With the help of our precious road-book , we quickly spotted the Salendrinque camping site which was located just a few kilometers from our point of interest, just before entering the village of Lasalle. The winding and steep road was a little tedious to cross with the van but Seb was able to manage splendidly and we arrived safely at the entrance of this small village perched on the hills. We had the pleasant surprise of being almost the only people there since the camping site had just opened for the season. Very friendly, the owner escorted us in her golf cart to our spot for the night, on the banks of the river. Feel free to chat with her, she will give you some good tips for visiting the area and it is even possible to order some bread and pastries for your breakfast! Their private river access is clearly enjoyable and it would have allowed us to take a dip in peace in the evening… had the water not been so cold! We tried but it was simply impossible to dip more than a toe there! The camping spots being almost on top of each other, we seriously appreciated the place being so quiet at the time making it possible to make the most of the calm of nature, we would not try going there during summer when it’s crowded! The evening was very nice and we very pretty to have brought a blanket with us! It can be quite chilly up there!
Cévennes farmers market at Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort
We got up around 8 am on Tuesday morning. After a quick shower and a good breakfast, we packed up our things and made our way to Saint-Hippolyte-Du-Fort located about ten kilometers away. We were becoming quite fond of our interim nomadic lifestyle and savored each and every minute spent in this house on wheels. To hell with the impatient drivers behind us, we were just stopping on the roadside as soon as possible to let them pass through and allow them to continue their frantic race for time. We quickly entered in the charming village of Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort and after finding where to park, we gladly followed this friendly old man who kindly offered to take us to the marketplace. Once there, disappointment. The market was small and the stands were scattered over a vast parking lot. The old man said we should rather come on Fridays to get a bigger display. Never mind, we began examinating the different stalls there and started mouth-watering almost instantly! Fresh fish, sweet strawberries, tasty saucisson of all kinds, the hard part was actually to make a choice, we wanted everything ! After much hesitation, we finally picked generous tuna steaks, bull saucisson and ham rolled with cheese at the Italian grocer. Coupled with a melon bought the day before, coleslaw and a little red wine, it was a pure delight! And after a well-deserved nap, it was time to get back on the road to go the Anduze Bamboo forest … To be continued next week!
This article was written as part of a partnership with the CevVan company. Nevertheless, any opinion expressed here are our own and has not been subjected to any influence from the brand.