Home -> Europe -> France -> Travelogue France -> 13 June 2006
Tuesday 13 June, Chaos de Montpellier-le-Vieux and Gorges de la Jonte
The Chaos de Montpellier-le-Vieux is located in the Causse Noir, a rather sombre and untouched area in many seasons, and is our first destination today. But the sun is shining and everything is green, not as black and gloomy (Noir) as the name suggests. The rocks are partly dolomite and are eroded into whimsical fantasy figures and we must go there and see it from a closer range.
The rock formations are indeed erratic and with little imagination you can discover many figures in them and even people. The driver tells his stories only in French, but we understand most of the figures, like Cyrano de Bergerac with his big nose and so there are dozens more.
The Porte de Mycène is a highlight in this area, named after the famous Lion Gate from Greek antiquity. Here we stop a few minutes and can wander around a bit. The whole area is indeed dotted with beautifully worn rocks.
In some places you get the impression that you look at the ruins of a city in the distance, hence the name 'Chaos of the old Montpellier', because shepherds who rediscovered the place in the 19th century thought they saw the ruins of Montpellier . A fairy-tale city is what some, like our chauffeur, call it, but our imagination is not that flexible. But we do not find it any less impressive.
The train journey takes about 40 minutes but we still only a small part of the 120 hectare area. Impressive, but we do not share the claim that this is the world's best on rock formations. And that enjoying nature must cost € 8.60 per person is also something that we do not fully agree with. The money is needed for maintenance, but that is only necessary because people want to attract as many tourists as possible so that maintenance is needed. Nature is perfectly capable of taking care for itself, but well, people just want to make money! And apparently it costs a lot of money to let originally untouched nature keep the appearance of its unspoiltness ... And we pay nevertheless since we want to visit this much-touted area. A nice circular reasoning that sometimes makes it difficult for us as a traveler.
And not much later, we drive via the Gorges de Dourbie and the winding Gorges de Trécute; fiber to the Gorges de la Jonte where we are offered the same fantasy figures for free by driving the road through the gorge. In this beautiful valley we get to see a lot of rocks that look like impressive ruins and it only costs us some lpg, so it's still pretty environmentally friendly too!
The gorge of the Jonte is a bit like the Gorges du Tarn but is slightly shorter and wider in most places. Nevertheless, there are beautiful rocks and figures to see who have often received imaginative names. The area of the Causses is one of the least populated areas of France and we notice that, but occasionally we come across a village and the few road users are foreign tourists.
Belvédère des Vautours is located at Le Truel, where a vulture viewing point is located. In the 90s of the 20th century vultures were plotted here and it seems to be one of the few places in Europe where vultures nowadays occur in the wild. There is a visitor center with binoculars focused on the nests that are known. And of course we now also see beautiful panoramas of the surroundings. Just for free!It has been a long day and in the evening we return to the campsite where we first go to the terrace. France is playing a game tonight in the World Cup and it is pretty busy at the bar where a widescreen TV is set up. We are not so interested in football so after a refreshing drink we sit quietly at the tent and are glad that it has become a little cooler.