The Cévennes mountains and River Ardèche form the southeastern defences of the Massif Central, overlooking the Rhône valley to the east and the Mediterranean littoral to the south. The bare upland landscapes of the inner or western edges are those of the central Massif. The outer edges, Mont Aigoual and its radiating valleys and the tributary valleys of the Ardèche, are distinctly Mediterranean: deep, dry, and clothed in forests of sweet chestnut, oak and pine.

Remote and inaccessible country until well into the twentieth century, the region has bred rugged and independent inhabitants. For centuries it was the most resolute stronghold of Protestantism in France, and it was in these valleys that the persecuted Protestants put up their fiercest resistance to the tyranny of Louis XIV and Louis XV. In World War II, it was heavily committed to the Resistance, while after 1968, it became the domain of hippies – some of whom remain.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

France features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Paris

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Paris

All the clichés about Paris are true – stylish, romantic, glamorous and utterly compelling – yet it retains surprises that continue to delight even the mos…

26 Sep 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why Lyon should be your next European weekend break

7 reasons why Lyon should be your next European weekend break

The ingredients for a great European weekend break are simple. You’ll need a walkable city centre, a handful of excellent restaurants, some cool bars, afforda…

26 Aug 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
22 incredible pictures of Corsica

22 incredible pictures of Corsica

Just off the south of France, and closer to the coast of Italy, the small, mountainous island of Corsica lies in wait for the three million tourists that visit …

14 Jul 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month