The sight of the Cirque de Navacelles from the Blandas or Baume-Auriol belvederes is breath-taking. This 300m deep canyon is unique in Europe and caused by the crumbling of limestone plateaus and desertion of one of the bends in the Vis. The river found a more direct route by creating a huge waterfall that you can see in the hamlet of Navacelles.
The Rocher de la Vierge, known as "the oyster rock", looms out of a green oasis in the centre of the cirque. What a contrast after going through the expansive arid Causses du Larzac, Blandas and Campestre!
Park at the site centre car parks. On-site: exhibitions, films, local food shop, restaurants, tourist information, free guided tours and a shuttle bus in summer to the centre of the cirque.
Go down to Navacelles to see the mule path bridge, waterfall and Notre-Dame Chapel ruins. Walk to La Foux mills and the Vis River's resurgence: spectacular! The Gorges de la Vis surround the site and run from Vissec to Madières on the lookout for orchis orchids, golden eagles and Eurasian otters. Terraced farms, vineyards, olive orchards and megaliths on the causses appear among cliffs and dolomites. And myriad local agropastoral heritage: droveways, troughs, "clapas" stone walls, drystone huts and farms.
On foot, horseback, donkey or electric bike: 300km of signposted trails are yours. Hit top trails such as the Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert trail or Tour du Larzac Méridional loop. Or go for one of 20 loops ranging from 2.6 to 17km available all year and near to an array of outdoor activities.
You can even treat yourself to a car-free nature getaway taking 3 days with a combination of public transport, walking and cycling!
Turn a corner and you'll stumble upon La Prunarède fortified farm, Saint-Michel-d’Alajou well and the old Saint-Pierre-de-la-Fage windmill.
25km from the Cirque de Navacelles, Le Vigan stands proud with its Vieux Pont bridge, Château d’Assas, mansions and the Musée Cévenol museum in a former silk factory.
East of Navacelles, a maze of streets and lanes characterises Ganges, the former capital of luxury lingerie with a thriving market.
Episcopal city, textile centre and cultural town: Lodève in the south will enthral you with Saint-Fulcran Cathedral, Bishop's Palace, Halle Dardé and one of the last apothecaries in the Hérault still standing.
In the Hôtel du Cardinal de Fleury, the expanded and renovated Musée de Lodève takes you back in time with its permanent collections presented in a new light: traces of life on Earth for 540 million years, mankind from the Neolithic period and the mark Paul Dardé's made in sculpture.