Mende is the largest town in Lozère, yet it only has 12,000 inhabitants !
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Mende – where town and countryside go hand in hand !
In this little capital, town and countryside are one and the same thing, a perfect recipe for an outdoor holiday with urban facilities close-by (cinema, theatre, shops, restaurants…). Mende is also perfectly placed for travelling around the whole département. Aubrac, Margeride, Cévennes and the Gorges du Tarn : every day a new natural area and new discoveries. But there is plenty to do in Mende and the Lot Valley. Just follow the guide !
Surrounded by ramparts in days gone by, Mende has retained the charm of a medieval town. A Heritage Trail through its cobbled streets points out 28 attractions including the ancient synagogue and the Couvent des Carmes (Carmelite convent), two of the oldest buildings in the town built in the 13th and 14th centuries ! Other highlights of the trail include the Lavoir des Calquières washhouse where laundry workers and tanners used to wash laundry and pieces of leather; the Tour des Pénitents and the best-preserved remains of the rampart wall; Pont Notre-Dame bridge, a listed building plus numerous charming period houses.
Cathedral of Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Privat de Mende
Causse de Mende
A stone’s throw from the town centre, you can walk on the Causse de Mende, an open air adventure playground which is reached via the Chemin de la Croix starting from the Place du Foirail. Footpaths, a Via Ferrata, mountain biking park, treetop adventure trail, cycle paths and microlight flights (from the aerodrome where the final scene from « La Grande Vadrouille » was shot!) : there’s something for everyone !
Mende and the Lot Valley is an ‘Art and History District’ offering an eclectic, unusual programme of events at local heritage venues. For example, you can visit the village of Chasseradès during a night time walk lit by lanterns; do yoga at the 3rd century Roman mausoleum at Lanuéjols; experience a walk with a difference which associates smells and local history or go on a drawing outing to Château du Boy. Don’t forget to stop off at Vallon du Villaret, and outdoor leisure park which combines attractions for grown ups and children with contemporary art works. To recharge your batteries after all this activity, head for the spa at Bagnols-les-Bains, beside the River Lot 20 minutes from Mende.
Explore Lozère with Gîtes de France Lozère : Gorges du Tarn en Lozère, Margeride en Lozère, Parc National des Cévennes