Views forever Cévennes and Lozère
Trail 1 Cévennes and Lozère
Riding group Cévennes and Lozère
Fast Riding Cévennes and Lozère
A welcome break Cévennes and Lozère
Perfect weather  Cévennes and Lozère
Firm friends  Cévennes and Lozère
Trail 2 Cévennes and Lozère
Horse riding in France
Smiles all round Riding group Cévennes and Lozère
Buddies  Cévennes and Lozère
At rest Cévennes and Lozère

Join what has become known as the sportiest equestrian trail in Europe on this week-long horseback riding trip covering 35 - 45km per day. The trail follows a large loop within the Cévennes National Park on paths that have been traveled by explorers and shepherds for decades, and features faster-paced horseback riding and magnificent scenery, ideal for intermediate and advanced equestrian riders.

This horseback riding tour features breathtaking landscapes and picturesque bridle paths that range from Mont Lozère to Mont Aigoual, the Tarn and Jonte gorges, and the Causses Méjean and Sauveterre trails.

The diversity of this territory means that overnight accommodation is widely spread, and always different from one to another; small hotels, lodges or guest rooms along the way offer comfortable rooms and hearty meals. This horseback riding trail is a passport to equestrian adventure. 

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Day 1
Sunday. Meet at the Camping du Val Cécennes in Florac at around 6pm. Riders are accommodated in comfortable mobile homes for the evening. Discuss the ride with the team over dinner, prepared by the host.

Day 2
Monday: Start the day riding through the town of Florac and following the Tarnon and Mimente Rivers. Riding along the small road before it becomes a trail that was transformed from an old railway route into a bridleway . Ride approx 20km with very little elevation, which allows for long, gentle gallops. Reach Cassagnas, the village made famous by writer RL Stevenson and his donkey, Modestine (see reading list), where the group stop for lunch. After lunch we climb the Col des Loupes and travel through the Plan de Fontmont forest to reach Barre des Cévennes where the accommodation, Gite de Monsieur Combes (or similar), is located. Although an older Gite, it is comfortable and the host is known for his plentiful meals. (40km)

Day 3
Tuesday: Riders leave Barre and follow the Can de L'Hospitalet passing above the Marquairés tunnel before reaching Bécede for lunch by the river. The afternoon starts ascending Mont Aigoul (1,565m) via the Col de l'Estrade and toward the Prat Peyrot ski resort to reach the village of Esperou. The horses are settled in paddocks and the riding group split between the Gite and a local hotel. (45km)

Day 4
Wednesday. Head to Camprieu via the ski resort to visit the subterranean river cave system of Abime de Bramabiau. The ride then heads into the Valley du Bonheur and the village of St Saviour. It is a short afternoon, planned to give both horses and riders a rest after a strenuous two days. The horses are settled into paddocks and the riders split between the Gite and the hotel for dinner and overnight. (30km)

Day 5
Thursday: This is an active day heading off to the village of Lanuejol and Pierre Plantée, and on to the Col de la Croix de Far where riders can enjoy a 13km gallop to Meyrueis before stopping stopping for lunch close to the waters edge. Leave Meyrueis via the Jonte gorges to reach the limestone plateau, Causse Méjean keeping an eye open for vultures and roaming sheep. Reach the town of Mas Saint Chely and check into the Aires de las Carline (or similar) for dinner and overnight (40km)

Day 6
Friday: The limestone plateau of Causse Méjean is the playground for the day. Riders will explore the northern part in depth, and also take a short trip through the Chanet aerodrome, perfect for a fast gallop. Enjoy a meal above the Tarn valley which follows the full 160km route to Florac. Be welcomed by hosts Pierra and Déa where the group have dinner and overnight (or similar) (35km)

Day 7
This 36km stage reaches Florac at around 5pm. The route climbs close to the Causse de Sauveterre and the Col de Montmirat pass before reaching the final stop. Say goodbye to the horses and team before transferring back to the station.

 

The last riding day finishes at around 5pm and there is an early evening transfer to the train station for the return trip, Those not wanting to travel at night may wish to book an extra night at the camping site and get a taxi to the station after breakfast.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

Riders will use the same horse for the entire trail and the horses will be assigned on the first day. All the horses used on this trail are from the first stud to breed endurance horses in France. They are pure-bred Arabs or part-Arabs. All the horses are forward-going, responsive and safe, and have been selected and trained specifically for endurance. The tack used is mainly endurance saddles although some comfortable trail saddles are also used.



This is the fastest ride in the endurance riding hosts' repertoire, with long canters and areas where the horses will have to be walked. 35-45km will be covered every day so riding fitness is essential.



2024: weight limit is 95kg, but heavier riders up to 110kg can book with prior arrangement dependent on height, fitness level and sporting ability. Younger riders from 16 years accepted if accompanied by an adult. Luggage is transported by vehicle between the overnight stops for the riders, and will be accessible at lunch times if needed.


Rider requirements

Riders should be experienced, riding fit, have been been on a trail ride previously, and used to long hours in the saddle.
Riding hats are compulsory and are available to borrow.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation on the first night (and optional last night) is at the camping site in comfortable mobile homes. On the trail, the overnight stops are at small local hotels and guest houses in twin rooms with shared bathrooms. Single supplements are available, but cannot be guaranteed on some nights in the remote areas of the trail. On occaision there may be a 3/4 person dormatory.



Breakfast and dinners are prepared by the hosts of the Gites, or at the hotels as mentioned. Please note that this is a remote region. Vegetarians can be catered for with plenty of advance notice. Catering for special food allergies or specific diets may be problematic. Please enquire when booking. Picnic lunches are prepared by the backup team and taken en route.



There is an assistance vehicle that follows with luggage, giving riders access to their personal belongings at lunch times.



 



 


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france

In the USA: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/france

Climate Summary

Florac has a mediterranean climate. The summers are warm and dry, and the temperature is cold in the winter. The average annual temperature for Florac is 13° degrees and there is about 501 mm of rain in a year. It is dry for 181 days a year with an average humidity of 80% . The best time to visit Florac is from June through September. In this period there are pleasant temperatures and almost no precipitation.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in France and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.


Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

The emergency phone number in France is 112. If you need to contact other emergency services, call 15 (medical), 17 (police) or 18 (fire).

Electricity

In France the supply voltage is 230V. If the appliance is a single voltage rated appliance, it will need to operate at the same voltage as the supply voltage of the country i.e. 230V. If this is not the case it should be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly.

Mobile, WiFi and charging

There is electricity available at each nights accommodation for charging cameras and batteries. Please note that before using a GoPro, check with the other riders if they are willing to be filmed.

Packing List

- Riding hat - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384 (compulsory, available to borrow if you don't want to bring your own)
- Gloves
- Riding Boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a definite heel are acceptable (such as walking boots)
- Jodhpurs - jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
- Chaps
- Long sleeved shirts
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Lightweight jumper
- Waterproof jacket and trousers
- Casual clothes for the evenings
- Lightweight shoes for evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Swimsuit
- Sunglasses
- Sun cream
- Blister plasters
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- Refillable Water Bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
- Camera, spare Batteries/Chargers - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding

Provided by hosts
- Riding hat

Programmes

7d / 6n programme with 6 riding days. Available on set departure dates. The last day finishes at 5pm. Optional additional nights at the finish are available, in this case a taxi will need to be taken to the train station.

Departure Dates

2024: 2-8 June (FULL); 22-29 Sep (FULL)
2025: 15 Jun; 28 Sep

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.

Although we will try our best, single supplements may not be available on some nights when in remote areas.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
20247d/6n6double pp1,969
20247d/6n6single supplement289
20257d/6n6double pp1,585
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
20247d/6n6double pp2,299
20247d/6n6single supplement339
20257d/6n6double pp1,849
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
20247d/6n6double pp2,669
20247d/6n6single supplement395
20257d/6n6double pp2,149
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
20247d/6n6double pp27,009
20247d/6n6single supplement3,965
20257d/6n6double pp22,279
Additional Night Pricing
  No of days/nights Product item description £
Additional night at camping after ride D, B&Bper nightper person69
  No of days/nights Product item description
Additional night at camping after ride D, B&Bper nightper person80
  No of days/nights Product item description US $
Additional night at camping after ride D, B&Bper nightper person90
  No of days/nights Product item description SEK
Additional night at camping after ride D, B&Bper nightper person939
Recommended Reading

Theodore Zeldin ‘The French’,



Francoise Sagan ‘Bonjour Tristesse’,



Peter Mayle ‘A Year in Provence’ and ‘Toujours Provence’,



Louis Stevensons ‘Travels with a Donkey’ and



For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback, visit www.thelongridersguild.com. An excellent source of equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com  



 


Wildlife

Although wildlife was in decline, in the last few years a number of species have naturally returned to the area (otters, black woodpeckers, owls, vultures). Furthermore, the park has reintroduced red deers, beavers, copercaillies, mouflons and tawny and black vultures. Today, there are a total of 2,410 species (from mammal's to insects) that call the area their home.

Other Country Information

The French wrote the book on la vie en rose and gave the world champagne and camembert, de Beauvoir and Debussy, the Tour de France and the Eiffel Tower. It is a country steeped in history. Staggering monasteries and castles dotted all over the country are a reminder of a turbulent and often violent past, especially in the Carcasonne region where the Gnostic Christian organisation the Cathars, held fast against a crusade launched in the 11th century by an angry and vengeful Catholic church for over twenty years. Despite their vow of non-violence they had a strong support base, including the Knights Templar, and their name often pops up in the legend of the Holy Grail. The French character has undoubtedly been influenced by their past, today they are a proud and patriotic people famed for enjoying the finer things in life and displaying a great generosity in their willingness to share their country with the millions of visitors they receive each year. Food is very important in French culture, almost a passion. Families eat dinner together late in the evening and their diet is usually very healthy, packed with home grown fruit and vegetables. You will hardly ever see anyone eating on the street; if you do chances are they're not French! France is one hour ahead of GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. The international dialling code for France is +33.


Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Clermont-Ferrand train station
Transfer:
2024: 1pm transfers included from Clermont-Ferrand train station (3 passengers max)
Flight Guide:
2024: London - Paris pp ret approx £75.00
London - Lyon pp ret approx £84.00
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