The Tarnon has its spring in the Aigoual massif (1,565 m) in the Bassurels district. 38.9 km later, it flows into the Tarn downstream of Florac, having already flown together with the Mimente. It separates the Causse Méjean from the Cévennes. Upstream of Rousses, the Trépalous flows into the Tarnon. That river has carved out the Gorges du Tapoul, which are famous for canyoning. The Tarnon is a Cévenol river: very strong and sudden floods can occur during intense weather events.
The Draille de la Margeride
The draille follows the ridge and crosses the Can de l'Hospitalet. This drovers' road enables the flocks of the plains (from the southern Cévennes and the Crau) to get up to the northern Gévaudan (Aubrac, Margeride, Mont Lozère). This draille is only a branch of a bigger network on which livestock still migrates today.
A beautiful view onto Mont Aigoual (1,567 m) – a mountain of winds, fog, snow and rain. Banks of clouds coming from the Mediterranean rub against its slopes and can cause violent precipitation (also called Cévenol episodes). This temperamental mountain is home to the last mountain weather-station in France.
Ash trees, like the ones that border the path, like cool and damp environments. They were planted alongside paths by locals because ash branches, cut towards the end of summer, provided additional fodder for livestock.
Schist or dolomite
Schist areas form a rock base on which layers of sediment - limestone and dolomite - have collected. These are covered in chestnut trees and heaths of heather, broom and ferns unless they have been reforested. Underneath this vegetation, the transition between the two bedrocks is not always visible, but it is indicated by the human settlements at mid-slope. Rainwater that has filtered through the rocks emerges again where it hits the impermeable schist, creating springs.
A village of 200 inhabitants, Vébron extends from the Tarnon valley to the Causse Méjean. It has a school, temple (Protestant church) and shops. Every summer, it hosts the International Video Film Festival, whose patron until 2014 was French veteran actress] Bernadette Lafont. The square at the heart of the village is a lovely spot for a little rest.
Local floods can be catastrophic, like the one in 1900 described by Louis Tessier, a primary schoolteacher in Saint Roman, while on holiday in his native village: “Around noon, the atmosphere grew heavy with blackish clouds... At around 7 p.m., the storm headed north and soon the horizon all around was lit up by lightning... A deluge of rain hit the ground... At midnight, in profound darkness lit up by lightning, the alarm sounded... In the morning, the terrible news spread rapidly. The old mill at Vébron has been obliterated by the floodwaters, and all six members of the Goût family have been swept away... Astié Mill has been destroyed, and all the bridges have lost their parapets... All that beautiful riverfront is now ruin and desolation - it seems like a bad dream...”
The Tarnon valley was a significant area during the Camisard War. It sheltered the 3rd Camisard Army. Many clandestine gatherings were held here in the gloomy forests or in a cave underneath the Can de l'Hospitalet (known as Baume dolente).
Mountain-bike route #15. From the village, take the D 907 for 4 km towards the Tunnel du Marquaires. Before the tunnel, fork right towards the Le Marquaires forester's house and continue on the forestry track to Gaseiral. Take the road uphill to the Col de Salides and there take the ridge track on the left to L'Hospitalet (GR 7). Go downhill to the Moulin d'Astier (Vébron) where you join up again with the D 907 to Gua. Cross Gua and cycle along the river Tarnon to get to Prat Nouvel and then to Rousses.
No cycling off-track. You are strongly advised to wear a helmet. Do not forget your repair kit and a small set of tools. Please shut all gates and barriers after yourself. Slow down in farms and hamlets.
Access and parking
From Florac or Meyrueis, take the D 996 to Vébron, and then the D 907 to Rousses.
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: