Early one morning in the autumn of 1878, Robert Louis Stevenson set out from the sleepy village of Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille with his donkey, Modestine, to traverse the Velay and Cévennes to the small town of Saint-Jean-du-Gard in the south. Robert Louis Stevenson’s account of his 140-mile trek through southern France has long captured the imagination of walkers and lovers of literature alike. Today, the RLS Trail has become a classic route across the hills and along the valleys of this delightful region of rural France.
The route, which is well served by accommodation of all types, is divided into twelve day-stages in the guide, so that the Trail easily fits into a fortnight’s holiday. The book includes details of the facilities for the traveller and places of interest en route, together with a detailed route description and an account of Stevenson’s adventures with Modestine. For those with more time available, trails that link the beginning and end of the route are also described, making it is possible to walk all the way from the historic town of Le Puy to Alés.
Packed with snippets of fascinating information about this historic region, the guide is also of use to cyclists and motorists keen to trace a parallel road route, following in the footsteps of Stevenson and Modestine.
The Robert Louis Stevenson Trail
Robert Louis Stevenson
?Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes?
First Half of the Trail: The Massif Central – Velay, Gévaudan and Vivarais
Second Half of the Trail: The Cévennes and Le Parc National Des Cévennes
Climate – When to Go
Travelling to and from the RLS Trail
Public Transport in the Velay and Cévennes
Waymarking and Navigation
Public Holidays and Time in France
Stevenson’s Route by Cycle or by Car
Suggested Itineraries for Walking the RLS Trail
How to Use this Guidebook
PROLOGUE Le Puy-en-Velay
Le Puy-en-Velay to Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille
Stage 1 Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille to Goudet
Stage 2 Goudet to Le Bouchet-Saint-Nicolas; Excursion to Lac du Bouchet
Stage 3 Le Bouchet-Saint-Nicolas to Pradelles
Stage 4 Pradelles to Langogne
Stage 5 Langogne to Cheylard-l’Évêque
Stage 6 Cheylard-l’Évêque via Notre-Dame-des-Neiges to La Bastide-Puylaurent
Stage 7 La Bastide-Puylaurent to Les Alpiers/Le Bleymard
Stage 8 Les Alpiers/Le Bleymard to Le Pont-de-Montvert
Stage 9 Le Pont-de-Montvert to Florac
Stage 10 Florac to the Gare de Cassagnas
Stage 11 Gare de Cassagnas to Saint-Germain-de-Calberte
Stage 12 Saint-Germain-de-Calberte to Saint-Jean-du-Gard
EPILOGUE Saint-Jean-du-Gard and Mas Soubeyran, Alès and Nîmes
Walking to Mialet or Alès
Summary Table of Stages
Appendix 1 Gîtes d’étape on or Close to the RLS Trail
Appendix 2 Other Long-Distance Walking Routes Encountered on the RLS Trail
Appendix 3 Stevenson’s Itinerary
Appendix 4 Bibliography
Appendix 5 Useful Addresses, Telephone Numbers and Websites
Appendix 6 Modern Treks Along the RLS Trail
Alan Castle is a writer and photographer specialising in the outdoors, walking, backpacking, mountain walking, trekking and travel in the UK, Europe and worldwide. His interests include UK and European long distance trails, challenge walking, Munroes and peak bagging and adventure travel- he leads several walking holidays throughout Europe each year. He is an occasional contributor to a number of walking magazines and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Austrian Alpine Club.