The Grands Causses
There are 4 Grands Causses or Major Causses : the Méjean (situated in Lozère and part of the Cevennes National Park) the Noir, the Larzac et the Sauveterre (those part of the Grands Causses Regional Park, 1158 km², situated in the Aveyron county).
The causses are limestone plateaus such as arid and stony vast tables. Many swallow holes and caves show the underground waters activity which creates a contrast in this scenery.
The Méjean, Sauveterre and Noir Causses hang out over the Gorges of the Tarn and of the Jonte. From their ledges can be uncovered countless view points from where the vultures reintroduced about 20 years ago can be spotted, and a landscape in the shape of ruins sculpted by water.
A great variety of landscapes exist on this space.
The Méjean Causse, also called Median (as it is located between the Noir and the Sauveterre causses) is the highest of the Grands Causses (1250 m at its highest point).
It spreads over 330 km². Its particularities are its wavy plains, its steppes dotted with hamlets with their typical flat stone roofs.
Its surface is sometimes broken by some skin holes, circles covered by the vegetation and the cultivation colours as opposed to the rock around, nourished by a poor and dry grass.
The Sauveterre Causse culminates at 1181m of altitude. It is an arid plateau with rugged landscapes in the east, more wooded in the west where there are many re-emergences.
This vast setting is embellished by the "lavognes" (or water reserves for sheep), converted into drinking trough used as a rallying point for the sheep, and by the "montjoies" (small piles of stones) which enable the walkers to find their way in the snow.
The Noir Causse, 200 km², although the smallest of the Causses, spreads over 3 counties : Aveyron, Lozere and Gard. Its name originates from its ancient pine and English oak forests which have nearly all disappeared. It is however the least desolate causse.
You can come across almond tree, plum tree, apricot tree and cherry tree orchards. Vineyards develop on the old terraces.
The Grands Causses are a favourite place for people fond of nature sports
and offer countless hiking routes.
The climate is cold and dry in winter (snow might even fall aloft) and hot in summer. Autumn and spring add moderate temperatures to the magnificent scenery.