TO DO | NATURE
Languedoc has some beautiful natural wonders, which are not always known. One of them is “Les Concluses de Lussan” in the Gard department. 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 department, 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 the first 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 1 and something kilometres one way, it is well worth the walk. On our way, we saw some points of interest, well explained both in French and even English! Like “Le Dernier Refuge”, or “The Last Shelter”. While looking at the cliffs on the other side of the river, the kids discovered the caves. They vividly imagined this would be the perfect hiding place since the early history of humanity for cave dwellers, hermits, villains and resistance fighters.
Only a few steps further, we saw another interesting cliff. From far it looked like a skull, it really made our offspring’s imagination go wild! According to them, we 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, a unique ecosystem has been formed. The perfect spot for rare flora and fauna, like the Bonelli’s Eagle and Egyptian Vulture.
We continued our way after a perfect picnic on the banks of the Aiguillon River. Due to the water, we couldn’t walk through 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 the canyon, carved out millions of years ago by the river. This eroded into two sides of cliffs, bending slightly over like two giant waves. The children had a great time swimming and sliding in the gorge.
As I thought a hike of 2 kilometres wasn’t really a hike, I persuaded chéri and the kids to walk a bit further. I could tempt them to search a tall menhir, called “La Pierre Plantée”. However, walking over quite a challenging path without any fences to protect you, 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. Perfect reason to come back: we’ll save the menhir and the big round walk for next time!