Florac: a spring in the town
This short walk explores the old parts of Florac, a small town built at the junction of four rivers (Vibron, Tarnon, Mimente, Tarn) and several historical traffic axes: a draille (drovers' road for taking livestock to summer mountain pastures) and Royal roads linking Languedoc and the Auvergne. Upstream from the town, the spring of the Pêcher mysteriously gushes out of a big mass of fallen rocks from the Causse Méjean.
The covered passage of the sub-prefecture is one of several in Florac, running beneath the houses. You have just gone through the former town wall and now find yourself inside the medieval town. Besides the beautiful ancient plane trees (the oldest are 200 years old), you can see, at one end, the statue of Léon Boyer, who built the Garabit viaduct with Gustave Eiffel and died in 1883 in Panama, where he was working on the construction of the Canal; and at the other end, the temple (Protestant church) and the War Memorial.
The river Vibron
This river has been used as the drinking-water supply for the town’s many fountains, to irrigate its gardens, power up to eight water mills and provide water for a fish farm. In the old days, it was also used for public wash-houses, tanneries and as a drain for waste water.
The castle and fairground
Florac castle was rebuilt in 1652, after the religious wars, and now stands on the spot of the former feudal castle, mentioned in records dating back to the early 13th century. During the French Revolution, the castle was turned into a salt loft for storing salt. Sold to the French State in 1810, it was used as a prison. It still retains some features of that period. Since 1976, the castle has been the seat of the Cévennes National Park.
The Pesquié spring
The spring of the Pêcher surges in several places from a big mass of fallen rocks. It has not been possible so far to explore any of these points further. The spring provides a lot of water, but in irregular quantities:
• low flow rate: between 80 L/s and 200 L/s
• average flow rate: between 1,250 L/s and 7,000 L/s
The average temperature is 10 to 10.2°C.
The former convent
Originally built to house a hospital, this building became a Capuchin convent in the 17th century. Subsequently transformed back in to a hospital, it has since also been the seat of the sub-prefecture and a religious institution. It is known as the “house of the Congregation” and is today used as a private school. We have to picture it in the late 17th century, when this district was densely populated, teemed with life and saw much economic activity: textile craftsmen, leather craftsmen, mule drivers, carters and innkeepers, who made their living from the merchants and goods passing through.
Rue Armand Jullié used to be Florac’s trading street and would have been lined with workshops with typical shop fronts. Mule drivers once used this road to carry their goods from the Auvergne down to the Midi, before they were replaced by cart drivers and finally wagoners. More than twenty wagoners would stop off in Florac at the turn of the 20th century. They would rest here and, before resuming their journey, would take on additional horses to help climb the steep hills that awaited them on the road ahead.
The Planet neighbourhood
In the 16th and17th centuries, a large number of religious conflicts between Catholics and Protestants affected the Cévennes, bringing with them much destruction. After the Peace of Alais was signed by Richelieu and the Duke of Rohan in June 1629, Protestants retained the right to practise their religion, but their fortifications were razed. This included Florac's town walls. The house bearing this information panel is one of the town's oldest: its tower used to watch over Thérond Gate. It also stands at the crossroads of the former road linking Nîmes with Saint-Flour and the former road from Florac to Séverac via the Causse plateau.
This walk has twelve numbered information panels (in French).
Tourism'house and national Parc at Florac
Place de l'ancienne gare, N106, 48400 Florac-trois-rivières
04 66 45 01 14
This office is part of the National Park's associated tourist-information network, whose mission is to provide information on, and raise awareness of, the sites and events as well as the rules that must be observed in the National Park's central zone.
On site: exhibitions, video projections, events and shop Open year-round
Bus lines 7 / 8 / 9 / 10
see Guide des transports en Lozère
Access and parking
On the N 106 from Mende or Alès. In Florac, follow signs for “Parc national des Cévennes” to get to the Foirail car park.
Report a problem or an error
If you have found an error on this page or if you have noticed any problems during your hike, please report them to us here: