Le Vigan lies in the heart of the southern Cévennes between the plateau of `Le Causse` and Mont Aigoual. Discover a wealth of history and heritage as well as exceptional countryside and scenery.
The Aigoual Massif
The Aigoual forest is the result of a huge reforestation project, which began at the end of 19th century. At this time the mountain was bare, the soil furrowed by the process of erosion and the floods in the valleys were catastrophic. The trees had been cleared by peasants for cultivation, by the over pasturing of animals during the transhumance, but also by lumberjacks tree felling for firewood and to fuel the glass factories. The forester Georges Fabre embarked on the task of reforesting the Aigoual. It was a huge undertaking. With the help of the botanist Charles Flahault, arboretums were created to test non-native species to see how well they could adapt to the land and climate of the massif. Nowadays the Aigoual national forest covers 16 000 hectares, spread over the Gard and the Lozere.
Cirque de Navacelles
The Blandas Causse is a relatively high (up to 1000 metres in places) limestone plateau, made up of rock left by the sea 140 to 170 million years ago. The river Vis has carved its way through approx. 20 km of countryside, creating cliffs up to 300m deep.The Vis created the Cirque (ox bow lake), notably the limestone island in the middle. Several thousand years ago the river ran where the cultivated land now lies, but the meander is now dry. The village of Navacelles in the bottom of the Cirque is one of the oldest and prettiest in the gorges of the Vis.
The St. Laurent- le- Minier mines
Saint Laurent- le- Minier gets its name from the gold and silver mines that were worked there from the middle Ages until recently. Proof lies in the ancient caverns and tunnels hewn out of the rock, and various old official acts. Copper, lead, iron and zinc were also mined and treated at St. Laurent. On the site known as “La Papèterie” there is an old metal working factory, about 500m from the village on the road to Ganges. The factory was in production from 1857 until the early 1950s.
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