Our hiking expert: “The region offers areas to explore all year round”

Our hiking expert: “The region offers areas to explore all year round”

Le sentier des 4000 marches, de Valleraugue au sommet de l'Aigoual, l'une des randonnées préférées de Christophe Levillain en région. Midi Libre – SANDRA FERLEY

Christophe Levillain est photographe et rédacteur des guides Midi Balades. Il est de ceux qui connaissent le mieux les chemins de la région.

Our hiking expert: “The region offers areas to explore all year round”

Christophe Levillain, photographer, caving guide… and hiking specialist. DR

Is our region suitable for hiking ?

In any case, it is easy to find happiness there. We are lucky to have, in each department, mountainous areas offering sumptuous landscapes, but even without going to the summits, there are many areas suitable for hiking, whether it is the Nîmes scrubland, around from Pic Saint-Loup near Montpellier, the Clape massif, the Vermeille coast, etc. Another advantage is that the weather is very favourable: you can enjoy the coastal part almost all year round and take refuge. at altitude during periods of heat to make climbs that are too complicated in winter. There are in fact areas to explore in each season: for example, I prefer hiking in the vineyards in autumn to take advantage of the exceptional colorimetry.

You who often walk the trails, have you noticed an increase in attendance ?

In recent years, there has been a craze for hiking, it’s undeniable. Firstly because it is a leisure activity which remains free, which requires little or no equipment and which is not complicated. After all, you just have to put one foot in front of the other. Everyone can find a course that suits their level, their own motivation. Especially since, in our region as elsewhere, there are always more routes offered by communities, but also the media and specialized applications. There is now a very eclectic offering. The other side of the coin is overcrowding on certain sites which is starting to become detrimental. Around Lac des Bouillouses for example, at the foot of the Carlit massif where it is easy to access by car or shuttle, the paths are now plowed, and have gone from 1 meter wide to 4 meters with the root system laid bare. There is therefore the desire, for those who write topo-guides, to innovate, to offer more intimate places, but with the fear that there will be an impact on the fauna and flora .

We must therefore remember that nature respects itself ?

These are basic rules, but yes, we don't leave our trash, we don't pick flowers or fruits and vegetables, we try not to be too noisy so as not to scare the animals , we stay on the marked paths. We must actually say to ourselves that we are always in someone's home, whether it is the State, a municipality or, very often, an individual.

What are your favorite paths in the region ?

There are so many of them. I would say the Carança gorges in the Pyrénées-Orientales, the Pic de Bugarach in the Aude, the Vis gorges in the Hérault, the climb of 4,000 steps in the Gard, the gorges of the Jonte and Tarn in Lozère, Aubrac in Aveyron… All this is a total change of scenery, it's very different from one sector to another, we don't never tires of it.

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