The Gardon Gorges

A walk beginning above the Gardon Gorges and continuing down along Gardon River. Please note that part of the route crosses an area destroyed by fires in 2017.

Technical sheet
No. 70551
A Collias walk posted on 19/07/14 by slinky. Update : 21/03/19
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h45[?]
Distance Distance : 11.37km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 210m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 215m
Highest point Highest point : 177m
Lowest point Lowest point : 32m
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Collias (30210)
Starting point Starting point : N 43.953717° / E 4.479615°
Map IGN Map (Click to buy) : Ref. 2941OT
Download : -
The Gardon

Description

Leave your car at the paid car park, between the bakery and André Clément Hall.

Red and White Waymarks
(D/A) At the car park, turn left along 'Avenue du Pont', then continue down 'Rue de la mairie' on the left. Carry on along 'Rue de la Republique' until you reach the sign 'Collias - Le Portalet'.
Take 'Grand Rue' on the right, which goes through the village and comes out onto the D112 (Route de Sanilhac).

(1) Turn immediately left down 'Rue du Barry'. 200 m further down the hill, before passing by a porch, the waymark turns right by the orangery along a path which runs alongside some properties for about 300m.
Near a white gate, the waymarks turn right onto a paved road. At the next crossing, turn left onto the 'Chemin du camp Grec'. After a further 20m, at the fork, continue straight ahead, then alongside the last property, the waymarks lead you up a trail to the left.
This trail climbs up through some shrubbery to the top of the gorges. You will reach a lone pine tree.

(2) Fork right (after taking a few steps to your left to admire the first view of the gorges). The trail (GR) continues on the ridge, then turns right at a fork offering view of Uzes on your right. You will come out onto a trail 50m further along (sign DFCI-B127)

(3) Turn left on this trail and continue for 900 m until you reach the sign forMenude.

(4) Follow the yellow waymarks to your left, leading to Sanilhac et Sagriès and La Grande Terre (ignore the tracks off to the right and ahead). Further on, you'll see a cairn indicating the starting point of another trail on the left-hand side, ignore it. 20 m further at a fork, follow the trail (GR) to the right. This trail will cross another path: continue straight ahead and at the signGrande Terre, the trail will eventually join the track.

(5) Take the track which bears slightly left towards Sanilhac et Sagriès and Les Condamines for about 300m.

Yellow Waymarks'
(6) At the sign for Les Condamines,turn left onto the trail leading to La Baume. The path takes you through oaks and boxwoods. After leaving this tunnel of vegetation, ignore the path to the left and continue straight ahead.
The path heads up to the top of the gorges and turns left. The descent, which is steep in some areas, is equipped with metallic steps. Lower down, depending on the time of year, it is possible to take a path to the right to reach a cave where there are bats. The cave is closed from November 15th to March 15th (hibernation period) and from May 1st to August 15th (breeding period). Continue on to the foot of the Gardon river near the ruins of an old mill (sign for 'La Baume').

(7) From this sign you can make a return journey to Saint-Vérédème Chapel and the cave by walking back up the Gardon river for about 100 m, then continuing up the access track on the right along the cliff.

(7) When back at the 'La Baume' crossing, walk down the Gardon River, still on the left bank towards 'Collias'. The trail winds between areas of forest and the river banks for 5 or 6 km leading to 'Collias'.
Take care when you cross the stony parts, as the path is sometimes hard to see, however the waymarks are still present and you need to follow the river in any case.

(8) After a small section equipped with a metal cable, the track leads past the foot of a 'Via Ferrata' and eventually gets closer to 'Collias'.

(9)At the sign for Saint Vincent, continue straight ahead towards 'Collias', go past a restaurant and walk towards the bridge.
Turn left, just before the bridge, then climb the stairs to the right, leading you to the D3 (Avenue du pont). Turn left towards the car park (D/A).

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Car park beside Espace André Clément
1 : km 0.58 - alt. km 0.58 - Left down Rue du Barry
2 : km 1.79 - alt. km 1.79 - Lone pine tree
3 : km 2.51 - alt. km 2.51 - Turn left at sign for DFCI-B127
4 : km 3.32 - alt. km 3.32 - Sign for Menude
5 : km 4.84 - alt. km 4.84 - Sign for Grande Terre
6 : km 5.1 - alt. km 5.1 - Sign for Les Condamines
7 : km 6.12 - alt. km 6.12 - Sign for La Baume - Le Gardon
8 : km 8.87 - alt. km 8.87 - Section with metal cable
9 : km 10.86 - alt. km 10.86 - Sign for Saint-Vincent
D/A : km 11.37 - alt. km 11.37 - Car park beside Espace André Clément

Useful Information

A torch comes in useful to visit the cave.

We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 2941OT.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Saint-Vérédème chapel
There are only the remains left of the chapel and an astonishing 150 m long cavity, Saint-Vérédème cave. Located in a vertical wall, it forms a tunnel. It was inhabited during the ancient Paleolithic, then by Neanderthals, and later during the Neolithic period. Numerous ceramics have been discovered here, nowadays exposed in Nîmes Museum.

Myth or reality? Saint-Vérédème (640-720AD) was a Greek hermit who settled by Gardon River and was afterwards joined by Saint Gilles. People used to think they were responsible for numerous miracles, including providential rains.
Saint-Vérédème succeeded Saint Agricol as bishop of Avignon. He was long considered the saint of Crau's shepherds. He died in 720 AD.
The chapel (VIII th century) is thought to be the oldest Christian construction in the lower part of the Languedoc area.
The roof harbors a cradle shaped vault, and the apse is decorated with paintings from the 8th century.
The stairs were subsequently drilled for better access to the cave. The Sanilhac inhabitants used to organize a yearly pilgrimage to 'La Baume' in order to solicit fertile rains. This practice seems to have died out after 1962.

Opinions and comments

Average

Global average : 5/5
Number of opinions : 1
Description quality : Non utilisé
Routemap quality : Non utilisé
Walk interest : 5/5


Walker
on Mon 30 Dec 2019 12:47:17 CET

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 30/12/19
Description quality : N/A
Routemap quality : N/A
Walk interest : Very good

We liked the first half of the walk (upper level) but the path quite quickly became impossible for us to follow on the riverside section returning back to town, where the river came right up to the side of a properly vertical rock cliff. Possibly this is due to the time of year (the water could be lower in Summer) but for now we will only retry this walk *starting* on the riverside section from Collias, in an attempt to find a passable route back up the gorge....

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.