•Gard (30110) • Population: 1,202 • Altitude: 400 m
Laval-Pradel is a small commune in the Gard department 15 km north of Alès. The commune has a few very tiny hamlets, including Laval, and a slightly bigger roadside village of Le Pradel. Le Pradel has a café-restaurant, handy for travelers on their way north via Portes into the Cévennes, and a lovely old chateau.
A Harley, a 13-euro lunch at a terrace café, and an empty road north into the Cévennes through Le Pradel village — what could be better.
There isn't a tourist center in Laval-Pradel, and no fine dining, but Chez Riflette is handy for voyagers and, like most village café-restaurants in France, offers good service and decent food at a decent price.
The Chateau du Pradel is an ancient postal relay, built in the 12th century and heavily fortified against brigands. The front of the chateau is aligned along the side of the D908 road. Behind the chateau (on the northeast side) is the current entrance - now a privately owned farm, and past that are open fields with grazing cattle.
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• GPS: 44.230531, 4.059152
The GR700 hiking trail (Chemin de Regordane) between St Puy-en-Velay (Haute-Loire) and St Gilles (80 km south at the edge of the Camargue) passes through Le Laval village. The trail is mostly along the roadside for this area, but does pass around a back corner of the Chateau du Laval, through an iron-pipe gateway (our photo).
To the south, the GR700 goes through the center of Alès (12 km), the lovely perched village of Vézénobres (21 km). South of Vézénobres the GR700 joins with and follows the GR6 to Saint Anastasie/Russan, then branches south, via La Calmette and Nîmes to St Gilles.
To the north, the GR700 passes beside the boat-shaped castle Chateau de Portes (7 km) at the Col de Portes (557 m altitude).
Department 30, Gard Buses
- See Beyond's Gard Department Bus Schedules for Gard bus-lines maps and bus-line schedules (Horaires).
Maps (Plans) for the Gard bus lines are on the www.edgard.fr website, with a flash webpage for each of five zones around Nîmes (www.edgard-transport.fr/plan/?rub_code=5).
Schedules for the Gard bus lines are available via the www.edgard.fr website horaires page (www.edgard-transport.fr/horaires/?rub_code=23).