Things to see and do - Alès
The Cevennes :
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The CevennesBy car, 145 km, 1 day
Alès is situated where the Cevennes mountains open out onto the vineyard plain. At 10km, the bamboo centre of Prafrance (created in 1855) today counts 100 bamboo varieties and some superb redwoods. Going back up on the Cevennes the summit roads are all picturesque. On arrival at the dominant Mont Aigoual, see the immense panorama and impressive gorges. On the banks of the Dourbie, in an 18C mill, don't miss 'Noria-The Water Space'. It presents through a series of activities the roles played by water in the region.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
In the 13C coal was extracted from the ground here. The mine museum takes you through ithe history of «coal mining» in the Cévennes region, from the «Industrial revolution »to the present day.
This exotic park, created in 1855 by local man Eugène Mazel, boasts nearly 200 varieties of bamboo. A fine avenue lined with 20m-high bamboos and splendid Californian sequoias runs right through the 10ha park. Another route, lined with palm trees, boasts a superb tulip tree from Virginia. Take a stroll through the Laotian village, the harmonious Dragon dale, the maze, the water garden and the arboretum planted with species from Japan, America and China. A welcome cool break in summer!
This old mill has been restored many times and witnessed many serious floods since it was built in the 13C. In the 18C, it contributed to the manufacture of stockings and was used more recently to produce electricity; today, it forms part of a fascinating educational complex which illustrates the importance of water in an interactive and entertaining way. The numerous activities on offer include an interesting presentation of the hydroelectric installations of the Tarn Valley and a play area.
The meteorological observatory on the summit of Mont Aigoual (1 567m) overlooks the Gard, Hérault and Tarn valleys. The instruments used to record the speed and direction of rain-bearing winds from the Mediterranean and the Atlantic are ever-more sophisticated. From the tower, the view encompasses the Causses and the Cévennes and (in fine weather) the Cantal mountains, Mont Ventoux, the Alps, the Languedoc plain, the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees!