The mausoleum takes you back to the Gallo-Roman period; the châteaux on their seigneurial land to the Middle Ages. On the Causse de Mende, Chapieu farm relives the era of large Causse farms, whilst in the valley the hamlets reflect today's agriculture. Human work has left its marks everywhere.
"It was built in the third century by a well-off couple in memory of their two sons. The couple might have run both an agricultural estate and the region's mines. Tombs of such opulence are rare, and in France only one other example is known, at St-Rémy-de-Provence. Its half-buried position is due to the accumulation of matter brought by runoff (the monument was cleared several times in the 19th century). The main room probably housed the sarcophagi and statues of the deceased. The building is constructed from large carved blocks of limestone laid very evenly, and its entrance is topped by an archivolt (ornamental side of a stone arch) decorated with scrollwork (coiled plant motifs) and a lintel.” (A. Boemare)
"St-Pierre Romanesque church was built in the 12th century and expanded in the 14th. Built from tuff and limestone from the region, it has remained very pure in style. The nave has a barrel vault; two chapels added in the 14th century make up the side aisle. They house the funerary niches of the Auriac, Châteauneuf and Tournel families. The transept, which is topped by a dome on squinches, supported an octagonal bell tower before the French Revolution. The five-sided apse and the apse chapels are covered by spherical vaults: from the outside, they form a beautifully arranged chevet.” (A. Boemare)
Château du Boy
"Le Boy, an agricultural estate in the Early Middle Ages, became the residence of the Seigneurs du Tournel in the early 14th century. These being particularly troubled times (the Hundred Years' War), the property was fortified. A round corner tower remains from this period. This first castle, destroyed during the religious wars, was rebuilt in the 18th century and embellished with a Renaissance courtyard with two galleries accessed by spiral staircases. In the 18th century, the main facade was reworked with the addition of large windows overlooking a French formal garden.” (A. Boemare)
Château de Chapieu
"This château is the oldest in the Tournel barony. The Chapieu site is a diverticulum of the Causse de Mende, with steep slopes on three sides. To defend it, one simply had to bar the passage linking it to the plateau. It is likely that an oppidum preceded the castle from the Iron Age onwards. (…) Was it finally razed to the ground on Richelieu's orders, like so many others? In any case, it is nothing but ruins from the 17th century on.” (A. Boemare)
"These buildings, which were the headquarters of a very large Causse farm, are laid out around a central courtyard. The main building faces south and consists of two floors of living quarters above a sheepfold. Two barns under vaulted granges that are 22 m long form the wings.” (A. Boemare)
“This hamlet contains a few handsome examples of traditional architecture and an unusual joint fountain-bread oven. The back wall of the fountain was added later, and the layout of the buildings shows that the ruined oven, which is behind the fountain, was originally covered by the same roof.” (A. Boemare)
From the mausoleum in Lanuéjols, go uphill into the village and towards the church. Below the cemetery, go downhill on the right to the road. Cross it and take the farm track on the valley floor. Cross first La Prade brook and then the Vareilles road to reach Finiols. In that hamlet, turn right at the T-junction and go downhill to Le Boy. Here you join up again with the D 41, onto which you turn right for 300 m. Then take a track on the left going uphill to Chapieu. Before you arrive on the plateau, at the third hairpin bend, take the level track to reach the Château de Chapieu, 150 m ahead. Return to the track and go uphill to Chapieu farm, skirt its buildings and continue straight ahead to a forestry track. Turn right onto the track and walk to the Col de La Loubière. At the Col (pass), take the lane back downhill to Le Masseguin. In the hamlet, take the path that goes uphill on the left. A ridge path will lead you to St Geniès chapel. Continue on this path, which goes downhill all the way to the road. Turn right onto the road, and, in the hairpin bend, take the track. After 200 m, leave the track for a path on your left going downhill to Vitrolles. Return to Lanuéjols on the road.
Make sure your equipment is appropriate for the day's weather conditions. Remember that the weather changes quickly in the mountains. Take enough water, wear solid shoes and put on a hat. Please close all gates and barriers after yourself.
Tourism office Coeur de Lozère, Mende
BP 83, place du Foirail, 48000 Mende
04 66 94 00 23
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.
Access and parking
From Mende, head towards Balsièges (N 88), then take the N 106 towards the Col de Montmirat (from Florac, take the N 106 towards Mende/Col de Montmirat). At Rouffiac, take the D 41 towards Langlade/Lanuéjols
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