Florac 130 km (on horseback)
A version of the “Florac 160 km”. The route is identical until Le Fraïsse on the Causse Méjean; from there, you make your way directly downhill to Ispagnac, without going via the Causse de Sauveterre.
The iron-rich water of Salce
After a small detour from the hamlet of
Salièges to the river Tarn, you will come across a spring of ferruginous water. For a long time, the ability to prevent (or cure) alcoholism was attributed to this water rich in Fe2+ ions, and made famous by a sketch by the stand-up comedian Bourvil. It supposedly supplies the iron that would normally come from regularly drinking alcohol. A small construction indicates the Salce spring (the path from Salièges is way-marked), as does the red tinting from iron oxide, which you find in many contact zones between schist and limestone.
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.
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.
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.
Summit of Mont Aigoual
At an altitude of 1,565 m, the climate is harsh: weather conditions are the same as they would be at 2,000 m elsewhere, with only four “frost-free” months a year. Winds of above 60 kph blow on 265 days a year, and the average annual temperature is 4.8°C. Trees do not have enough time to complete their life cycle. Local plant formations are those of the montane zone: subalpine short-grass prairies.
Box is a symbol of immortality because it is evergreen. In the Middle Ages, it was a part of the peasants' materia medica. Its essence, wood and leaves all have the same characteristics. Dried in the shade with frequent turning, its leaves were a remarkable antipyretic and diuretic with sudorific properties. They were also used to treat chronic skin diseases, gout, rheumatism and baldness. Branches were used as litter in sheepfolds. During the summer grazing period, the shepherds turned its wood into staffs with sculpted knobs and other objects.
Quézac mineral water
Quézac mineral water emerges naturally from the Diva spring, near the entrance to the village, in exceptional surroundings which have been naturally protected for centuries. This pleasant-tasting water is rich in mineral salts and trace elements and is also well-known to be beneficial for the stomach. The spring's water actually comes from Mont Aigoual. According to scientific studies, it takes 30 to 40 years for it to re-emerge in Quézac, after first settling in aquifers, where it acquires its effervescence naturally (rare in France).
This bridge crossing the river Tarn gives access to the village of Quézac, located on the left bank. Around 1350, Pope Urban V decided to fund its construction to facilitate pilgrims' access to the collegiate church of Notre-Dame de Quézac. It was finished in the 15th century. Its history is punctuated by partial destruction in floods, and by more or less solid rebuilding. It became a listed monument on 27 August 1931.
From Ispagnac, follow the same route as the “Florac 160 km”. The trails diverge at Le Fraïsse on the Causse Méjean: at Le Fraïsse, continue straight ahead to join up with the D 16. At that road, turn right towards Chanet airfield, and go alongside it on the inside. At the crossroads of the D 16 with the D 63, take the track on the left to join up with the road. Stay on the road for a few metres before turning right onto the track signposted "Costecalde - La Garde". Before you arrive at La Citerne, take the left-hand track to reach the Cambolairo gully. In the gully, take the path on the right (yellow-and-red waymarks) to the D 68. Turn left onto this road, then turn right onto La Condamine track. Continue straight ahead on this track until you reach Tomple. As you leave Tomple, turn left, then left again (watch out for the cattle grid – go through the gate) and go downhill on the forestry track that leads to Les Taillades and then to Quézac. As you leave Quézac, cross the bridge before forking right to go along the river and back up into Ispagnac.
This trail goes through several sheep pens: please shut gates behind yourself. Keep dogs on a leash. The trail is way-marked in one direction only (clockwise). For overnight gites that accept horses, please contact the tourist offices in Florac and Meyrueis.
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
Access and parking
From Mende or Alès, take the N 106 main road to Ispagnac
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