TO DO | NATURE
Languedoc has some beautiful natural wonders, most of which are still little known. One of them is “Les Concluses de Lussan” in the Gard region. This wild gorge of the Aiguillon River can be reached by a moderate to easy walk. The gate to the Concluses is breathtaking, and we could even have a dip at this magical place!
Picture perfect view
I’ve first found out about Les Concluses de Lussan when visiting Lussan itself, one of the most beautiful villages of France. Outside a medieval house, I noticed an old and faded brochure showing a fascinating natural site. Last Spring, when Chéri, the kids and I spent another holiday in the Gard region, I definitely wanted to visit Les Concluses. Heading for Lussan, we followed the signs to Les Concluses, some 5 kilometres from Lussan. After parking the car, we started our little hike with a picture perfect view over the Aiguillon River. A very promising start!
The Last Shelter
Although the hike to the gate of Les Concluses is short, only one and something kilometres one way, it is well worth the walk. On our way, we saw some points of interest- like “Le Dernier Refuge”, or “The Last Shelter”- well explained both in French and English! While looking at the cliffs on the other side of the river, the kids discovered some caves. They vividly imagined this must have been a perfect hiding place for cave dwellers, hermits, villains and resistance fighters since the very beginnings of humanity.
Only a few steps further along, we saw another interesting cliff. From far away it looked like a skull, it really made our offspring’s imagination go wild! According to them, we had entered a former pirate hideout. The name of this cliff is “Rocher des Aigles” or “Eagle Rock”. Because it is so isolated and far from human interference, it has formed a unique ecosystem. The perfect spot for rare flora and fauna like the Bonelli’s Eagle and Egyptian Vulture.
We continued on our way after a perfect picnic on the banks of the Aiguillon River. Due to the flowing water, we couldn’t walk along the river bed. Apparently, you can during Summer when the river is dry. Arriving at “le portail”, or “the gate” of Les Concluses is truly amazing. We walked through a canyon, carved out millions of years ago by the river, which eroded the two sides of the cliffs so that they bend over you like two giant waves. The children had a great time swimming and sliding in the gorge.
As I thought a 2-kilometre hike wasn’t really much of a challenge, I persuaded Chéri and the kids to walk a bit further. I tempted them with a search for a tall menhir called “La Pierre Plantée”. However, walking over quite a challenging path without any fences to protect us, we couldn’t find the menhir. We did get another amazing view over the canyon though, this time from the other side of the river. After a few more kilometres (and candy to keep our kids going), we headed back to the parking lot. Perfect reason to come back… we’ll save the menhir and walking the full loop for next time!