The Gorges du Tarn are a picture postcard destination in south-west Lozère, between Causse de Sauveterre and Causse Méjean. It is difficult not to feel unnerved in this limestone canyon which is 500m deep in places. It is also difficult not to be amazed by its beauty ! It is such a magnificent, well-preserved place that it is part of the Parc National des Cévennes and also the « Causses et Cévennes » UNESCO World Heritage Site !
For an initial view of the Gorges du Tarn, go up to the well-named « Point Sublime » on Causse de Sauveterre and gaze down at the colourful meanders of the Tarn in all their glory, a paradise of rocks and water. It isn’t unusual to spot a distant vulture, a majestic bird with a wingspan of up to 3 metres ! There are also mouflon mountain sheep in the Gorges, so don’t forget your binoculars !
The waters of the Tarn – an open-air playground
After gazing at the Tarn from above, it’s time to cool down. The clear waters of the river look very inviting ! Great for swimming, but much more besides, especially kayaking. There are numerous canoe trails ranging in length from 3km to 50km between Castelbouc and Rozier for beginners or experienced paddlers, for one or several days, with a partner or the whole family - there’s is something for everyone ! My favourite is the trail from Sainte-Enimie to La Malène, which is a perfect balance between natural and architectural attractions including the hamlet of Hauterives, a very special place as it can only be reached on foot or by kayak !
If you don’t fancy paddling, don’t worry, you can explore the Gorges du Tarn in a small boat ! This is an emblematic form of transport in the area, and with very good reason, as before 1905 there was no road through the Gorges du Tarn so to get from hamlet to hamlet, the choice was between walking and asking a boatman ! Spend an hour with a local boatman on an amazing boat trip with a ‘grand finale’ crossing the Détroits, where the Gorges are at their deepest. Along the way you are sure to learn lots about local history, biodiversity and architecture as the boatmen love to talk about their adored native area !