‘Cirque de Navacelles’, Cevennes

Am sat, feeling less than cosy, high up in the currently, very blustery Cevennes.  The heater’s on but feels like it’s taking its time tonight!   

Have eaten a load of almond chocolate, but deserve it after the stressful hair curling adventure of this afternoon!  Admittedly not everyone would have found it stressful, but I have never been the greatest passenger on narrow mountain roads! – and particularly ones lacking barriers and stone walls in too many places! – also minimalist as regards passing places!  

Michael and I had done our very pleasant overnight stop at Aveze, done a grocery shop at Lidl in Le Vigan 

  

and then followed the signs for La Cirque de Navacelles.  

We parked up, had our lunch on board 

  

and then walked to the panoramic viewing platform.   

It’s described in the guide book as a natural phenomenon (which it is),  but you’re best to Google about it than settle for my inadequate explanation!  

Anyway, it must have been a moment of madness that I suggested we go down to the village.  Ordinarily that sounds like a normal suggestion, but when you look at the photos, you’ll see this was anything other than a normal village!  It is set deep down in the river carved valley with just a snaking of mountain roads to get to it (as I’ve mentioned), and more crazy still (for someone who stresses at the slightest thing and doesn’t have a head for heights!), having seen a motorhome coming down to the village from across the ‘crater’ I said to Michael that presumably we’d go that way after!  What ON EARTH was I thinking!!!  I honestly do not have one ounce of adrenaline junkie about me!  

   

   

So, we began the descent!  Generally you could see ahead vehicles imminently approaching and so held back at a passing point.   We gingerly ‘dropped’ down into this great carved-out rocky valley, relieved at each corner navigated!

Almost there, but at enough height to still topple over the edge of the road, we had the harrowing (my feelings!) experience of meeting an oncoming car!  I can only say I didn’t envy them being on the drop edge of the road!!!  

I was freaking out on board, but really the other car occupants were more entitled to be!   The poor lady sat on the very edge of the ‘drop’ where her husband was now off the tarmac and on the rough stone edge, must have been wetting herself!  I’d have been yelling if I had been her, but luckily her husband is not married to me!!!   

She certainly looked concerned, but not one word seemed to leave her mouth! – unlike me!!!   Poor woman – I would no way have wanted to have been in her shoes, and I’d have insisted my husband gently reverse back down to a passing point than have me feel like some kind of stunt woman!!!

At last on ground level!!!  My blood pressure could begin to go down now!  

  

I could not imagine for one moment who on earth would ever have been inclined to set up home and community in this great cavern! – clearly not people like me who hate that ‘hemmed in’ feeling and clearly suffer from vertigo!!!   I guess being an island girl I need that sense of openness towards the horizon line and big skies!

The village oozed character of course, so a few obligatory photos were taken!,

  

   

 

  

  

  

   

 but having found the ride down less than endearing, we were keen to head off pretty promptly!  I wasn’t relishing our ascent!  I was very stressy, very vocal, and very insistent that Michael hoot almost incessantly!!!   We headed up the winding road, and finally made it out!!!

  
 

I have to say, that yes, I was a bit melo-dramatic! (Perhaps an understatement haha!!!) – but at the time it all feels very justified!  As we left the cirque behind us I was able to laugh about my behaviour and hopefully Michael could see the funny side too!!!!  Hmmmm!!!

Still, nobly or not, we achieved doing something that I am surprised I was up for, so I shall praise myself none-the-less!  Michael tells me he certainly had not planned that we go down there.

So, if I can visit the village at the bottom of the Cirque de Navacelles, then I reckon anyone can!!!  Please don’t let me put you off. 

So that was today, and our little living space now warmed up and cosy, and with a tummy full of pasta, fruit smoothie and almond chocolate, I’m once again feeling a happy bunny! 

Bfn! 

Sophie 

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