•Lozère (48400) • Population: 2,065 • Altitude: 542 m
Florac is a town below the eastern edge of the Causse Méjean plateau in the Cévennes. The town is an entry to the northern part of the Tarn Gorges, and is at a confluence of three main rivers: the Tarnon and the Mimente join together at the southern end of town and flow north along side Florac to join with the Tarn at the northern end. The smaller Vibron river flows through the center of the old village to join just before the confluence with the Tarn.
The town of Florac makes a great base for visiting the Cevennes and the Tarn Gorges. It's small enough to get in and out of easily, has hotels, restaurants, cafés, lots of shops and sights to see. One of the shops sells outdoor clothing and hiking and camping supplies.
Château de Florac
The Château de Florac is a 17th-century castle built on a low rocky hill not far from the center of town. The castle has two round towers and is nicely restored. It was completely rebuilt on the site of the original feudal castle.
In the 16th century Florac and its chateau were hotly contested by the Catholics and the Protestants during the Wars of Religion, which resulted in the castle being destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1652, partly from the tuf stone of the hill it sits on.
During and following the French Revolution the castle was used for salt storage, and later as a prison and then a hospital. Today its the headquarters of the Parc National des Cevennes. Its open for visiting all year, most weekdays.
Vibron River Source
The Vibron is a very short but important river that flows through the center of Florac, with a beautiful basin and low dam-waterfall just behind the town hall. The Vibron has its source at the far edge of the large Paul Arnal Park, and has provided fresh drinking water and power for the mills for centuries. Flowing through town via a series of dams, the Vibron passes the old mills to empty into the Tarnon river, only 700 meters from its beginning.
Esplanade of Florac
The esplanade is a wide, tree-lined area of shops and terrace café-restaurants,one side of which was once the fortified side of the Medieval walled town. At the southeast end of the esplanade is the Place du Souvenir, which has more restaurants and shops and is very picturesque.
At the north end of the esplanade is the Place Boyer, with an ancient iron fountain. From the Place Boyer you can walk back southeast through the heart of the old town along the narrow rue Armand Jullié.
Florac has some great trompe l'oeil wall murals. This one [our photo] of the cat in the window is nicely done, but the best of them is an entire wall of houses done in trompe l'oeil at the Place Jean Roux, on the Rue Armand Jullié in the heart of the old town. This picturesque little square is home of Pizzeria Dolce Vita, with picnic-style tables outside in the square.
Florac Walking Tour
At the Office de Tourisme you can get a map of the town, which includes a Balade Patrimoine, a walking tour of the main sights of Florac. The brochure includes a brief description of each sight and a map of the tour, which takes about an hour and a half. We've include the map on a separate page, with the list of the sights at the bottom.
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History of Florac
Prehistoric: There was a prehistoric presence here at Florac.
Celto-Ligurian: There is a dolmen beside the road at the top of the plateau, west of Florac. That area is called Col de Pierre Plate, named for the flat stone that caps the dolmen.
Gallo-Roman: Gallo-Roman remains were discovered at Pont du Tarn, at the north end of the current town, where the Tarnon river (that passes beside Florac) joins the Tarn.
Office de tourisme Intercommunautaire Cévennes Gorges du Tarn
(for Florac, Ispagnac, Sainte Enimie)
33 Av J. Monestier
Tel : 0466 450 114
• GPS: 44.325726, 3.578551
Both the GR43 and GR70 (Grande Randonnée) trails pass through the center of Florac, along the Avenue Jean Monestier and in front of the tourist office. The GR68 passes by town, touching at the northern end.
North, East. Both GR43 and GR70 trails cross to the right bank of the Tarnon-Mimente rivers at the north end of town.
At this point, the GR70 (Chemin de Stevenson) along with the GR68 (Tour du Mont Lozère) go east together along the mountain ridge (about 1300m altitude). The GR 68
From the right bank of the Tarnon-Mimente rivers, the GR43 and GR68 trails continue along the main road before crossing to the right bank (north side) of the Tarn, and both head due north.
South, Southeast. The GR70 and GR43 trails continue along the main road south of town and continue south along the D907; 500 m south of the confluence of the Tarnon and Mimente rivers, the trails turn east, over the Pont de Barre across the Tarnon. The GR43 heads south, towards the Corniche des Cévennes, while the GR70 makes a short jog north to join the left bank of the Mimente, and then follows that river eastward.
West, High Plateau. The high plateau, Causse Méjan, overlooks the town on the western side, rising quickly to 1000 meters. The edge of the plateau closest to town is part of the commune of Florac. A Grande Randonnée called the GR de Pays Tour du Causse-Méjan makes a very large loop completely around the plateau, and joins with other hiking trails, including the GR60, on the plateau. If you drive from town up to the top, you can join the GR at nearest edge, by the Dolmen at the Col de Pierre Plate.
There are hotels in Florac and nearby Ispagnac. We stayed (2015) is the Grand Hotel du Parc in the center of Florac, and really liked the place. Lovely setting (with parking) in the very heart of town, old style with good rooms and good service.