Breathtaking beauty

The Gardon river canyons - Grand Site de France Marshes of the Carbonniere Tower - Camargue - Grand Site de France

Marshes of the Carbonnière Tower

The Gardon river canyons

The box canyon known as the “Cirque de Navacelles”, the Pont du Gard and the Gardon river canyons, Camargue: 3 sites awarded the special ranking of “Grands sites de France”, 3 different faces which sum up the extraordinary variety of the landscapes in the Gard. Mountain, sea and the heart of the countryside all come together to amaze visitors with the wide range of beauty.

Vis River is proud of its accomplishment. 6,000 years ago, its rapid waters carved out a deep channel through the base of the valley and created an incised meander, now known as the Cirque de Navacelles. The canyon is 300 metres deep; outstanding views can be had from the Blandas lookout point. Deposits of silt and peat at the base from a fertile heart-shape around the Rocher de la Vierge, near an 8-metre waterfall. It’s quite simple – there is nothing else like it in the world! Though it is possible to drive down into this unreal-looking canyon, the best is to hike. All kinds of walks are marked, both down near the Vis River and on the highlands, where you can discover an amazing series of menhirs and dolmens.

The Pont du Gard is a priceless jewel, and the Gardon river canyons are its jewel box. This entire site has been acknowledged as a “Grand Site de France”, and now includes the Nîmes area chaparral, or “garrigue”, creating an ensemble of nearly 8000 hectares. Cross the Pont du Gard on foot and admire the golden-hued stone and how it meshes so beautifully with the blue sky, the water, the green of the trees. Drink in the sight of the bridge from upstream or downstream, along the water’s edge. Here, the ranking “Grand Site de France” also applies to the outstanding resource centre and museums which tell the story of the Roman aqueduct built 2,000 years ago to provide the Roman city of Nîmes with water. As you visit the museum and learn all about Roman engineering, don’t miss the film which shows the bird’s eye view of the Pont du Gard along the entire 52 kilometres of the aqueduct.

The newest entry among the Grand Site de France sites salutes the many faces of the Camargue in Gard county. Marshes and reed beds, salt marshes known as sansouïres, lakes and dunes: all the subtle aspects of this unique biotope are acknowledged. Mystery and fairy-tale sensations accompany you as you visit this land of pink flamingos and salicornia, where you must also see the solitary Carbonnière tower, the medieval ramparts in Aigues-Mortes, the seemingly-endless beaches in L’Espiguette. Stop in the Scamandre Discovery Centre for a good overall vision of the regional nature reserve.

To discover more, go to our INTERACTIVE MAP




For easy hiking:  Espaces Naturels Gardois, the Gard collection of map-guides for hikes and outdoor activities.
Each map-guide has a simplified map of the hikes in the given area. The itineraries are all accessible on foot, and most can also be done on horseback or mountain bike. 100 to 300 km of marked trails and sites for outdoor sports prepared by the Gard General Council and its partners.
Discover hiking suggestions, several-day hikes, botanical trails and practical information on things to do in the area. You can follow one of the hiking suggestions, or compose your own “à la carte” outing using one or several of the map-guides in this collection. All the hiking networks are inter-connected, which means hundreds of possible combinations!


natures escapades

From April to November, the outings known as “Escapades Nature” offer the chance to discover the natural spaces in the Gard, diverse spaces which include forests, rivers, lakes and marshlands, prairies and the Causses highlands. These natural environments are home to exceptional biodiversity: birds in the garrigue and in Camargue, bats in the Cévennes and the garrigues, the butterflies of the Causses, amphibians in the wetlands. Specialised guides take you into these areas on fun visits designed for all ages – families, and friends, young walkers, experienced hikers, day-time outings and nocturnal visits, these nature escapades are excellent opportunities to discover or rediscover the outstanding natural heritage in the Gard.

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