The heart of the Lozère
The Causse de Mende
This limestone outcrop, criss-crossed by steep, rugged valleys and gorges, runs south of Mende, overlooking the town from a height of nearly three hundred meters. It is the symbol of the Mende region.
Here you'll find the hermit cave of Saint Privat, traditionally assumed to be the founder of the city.
Today the Causse de Mende has lots of picnic areas, children's playgrounds, a forest park, a via ferrata, a mountain biking park and signposted trails for family walks. It is popular with locals and visitors alike. Download the map of the Causse de Mende.
The Hermit cave and Chapel of Saint Privat:
According to tradition, it was here that Saint Privat was martyred.
You will find the cave and chapel on the ridge on the north side of the Causse de Mende. The city grew as pilgrims came visiting the martyr’s tomb. The cave, Chapel and hermitage are currently closed to the general public.
The view from Mont-Mimat:
There is a wonderful view of Mende and the surrounding area from Mont-Mimat.
The ‘dead villages’:
La Chaumette and le Gerbal are two hamlets known as 'les villages morts', victims of the rural exodus. Their inhabitants left throughout the 19th century and they stand deserted today.
Mimat'Aventures, swinging through the trees!
An exciting mix of fun and adventure.
- a two-and-a-half-hour treetop getaway.
- 81 aerial games.
- Children’s course: Kids and Discovery (children between 110 cm and 140 cm tall only).
Safety equipment is available, and can be used to avoid manipulating the apparatus directly. Children and their parents can take the Discovery Route together.
- 4 different routes: (>140 cm tall only). GREEN – BLUE – RED – BLACK follow the competitors from the ground on easily identifiable pathways.
- At your service: Via ferrata equipment rental, mountain bike rental, refreshments.
Free for the bride or groom on stag and hen parties!
- Contact: +33 (0) 4 66 45 00 24
More information about Mimat'Aventures
Download the Mimat'Aventure pdf (prices, timetables etc.)
The via ferrata of Mende-Coeur de Lozère is on the western slope of the Causse de Mende. The first section faces west towards the river Lot, and the second section faces south.
The via ferrata travels horizontally towards a rock cavity. From there, two routes lead onwards, one more difficult and the other for less experienced climbers.
The more challenging course travels up through a sink hole to the open air. There is a 6 metre vertical section towards the end which requires strong arms. This route then rejoins the easier route.
Both routes then lead to the base of a 30 metre tall rock pillar.
The more difficult vertical route leads to the top .
The easy route remains horizontal up to the zip line (35 metres).
A marked trail leads from the start of the via ferrata to the car park.
The via ferrata has a Nepalese bridge, a rope bridge and a zip line.
Duration: between 2½ and 4 hours.
LASER GREEN (from 7 to 77 years of age)
Night: from 20€ / person (1 hour) to 35€ / person (2 hours)
Groups: contact Laser-Green :
Mountain bike trails on the Causse de Mende:
There are two demanding mountain bike trails on and around the Causse.
But there’s nothing to stop you taking one of the many signposted paths that cross the plateau for a quiet family outing.
Mountain biking park:Mende has created a new concept with its All Terrain Park, fully respecting the natural environment in the heart of the Causse de Mende forest, accessible to all for mountain biking through the wild undergrowth!
The goal is to introduce mountain biking to newcomers of all ages, and to encourage people who have given up cycling to get back into it.
Mountain bike and Trial Courses, with sections adapted to all levels.Everything has been designed so as not to spoil the natural beauty of the surroundings:
- All sections are made of wood, with more than half the key equipment sourced locally.
- The features have been created to protect the terrain without grading or levelling.
- No trees were cut down. All site maintenance is carried out by hand.
Three distinct areas make up the park:
1. For children under 5 years (175 m²).
2. A trail for children from five to eight years old (272 metres long with one section, two workshops and three natural obstacles).
3. A trail for over-eights (1,050 metres long with two sections, two workshops, a walkway, and eight natural obstacles).
The sections and workshops are made mainly from category iv treated pine, with no chromium or arsenic, assembled only with screws and without concrete seals.
Walks and hikes on the Causse de Mende: Nine signposted trails.
**National Forestry Office paths: Four trails through the state forest of the Causse de Mende.
The starting point for these circuits is in the car park of the Saint Privat Hermitage on the Causse de Mende.
The markings are checked annually by the Forestry authority and the paths are fairly flat and easy.
Estimated walk times: 1½ hours / 2¼ hours / 3½ hours / 4¼ hours.
* "TOPOGUIDE" - In and around Mende on foot
This guidebook, published by the FFRP (Fédération Française de Randonnée Pédestre) shows several hiking loops that start in or around Mende and go up the Causses and back.
The guide is on sale at the Mende Tourist Office.
* The Causses discovery trail (sentier de découverte): This little map guides you from the Place du Foirail square to the Causse de Mende. Download the pdf.
Discover the Lozère from the air, the best way to see its multiple facets from a new vantage point!
Contact: Aerodrome - Causse de Mende - Mende 48000 - Tel: +33 (0)4 66 65 39 50 - Site web
Association vélivole des Causses:
For more than 35 years, Association Has glided of Causses, established on the aerodrome of Mende-Brenoux, allows all those and those which wish it to be initiated and to improve with the practice of the gliding.
* flights of sailplane initiation, motorcycle-sailplane, plane.
* school of formation beginning and improvement by approved instructors.
* reception and implementation of the external pilots with or without their machines.
Contact: 04-66-49-03-67 - Website
Maiden flights in ULM (various existing formulas and flight "à la carte") - School Autogiro (a formal training and practical to become pilot) - air Work of photography
- Maintenance 1st level of autogiros MAGNI
- Sale and hiring of ULM
Contact: 06 16 81 16 16 / email@example.com - Website
Northeast of Mende:
Badaroux / St Martin du Born / Le Born / La Rouvière / Pelouse
This area to the north-east of Mende marks the transition between limestone and granite formations.
You will find beautiful and varied landscapes and lots of protected heritage sites, such as the famous Croix de Jean du Born, the "ferradous" ( a device for helping the farrier to shoe oxen), fountain sources, communal bread ovens and lots more ancient heritage curiosities.
* The Gallo-Roman "Toto" pagan statue in Born.
The locals call her la Toto, meaning "simple-minded."
* The romanesque church of La Rouvière is a classified historical monument.. The vaulting in the nave is unique, adorned with a beautiful mural depicting a tetramorph - the four-headed beast of Ezekiel. It is a marvel of simple but effective art.
Please note that the church is not open to the public except for religious services. Visits to the church are organised throughout the year. Check with the Mende & Lot Art and History society in Gevaudan. Phone: +33 (0)4 66 31 27 39 • +33 (0)6 42 57 93 09. Website
To the north of Mende:
Chabrits /Bahours /Le Chastel Nouvel /Les boulainesThe Château de Bahours:
This fortified farmhouse is privately owned, but open to the public on National Heritage Days in the third weekend in September. It has a XIVth century kitchen, an antique Lozérian dining room, a XIVth century fireplace in the main hall and a Louis Philippe library.
Private château 5 km north of Mende on the road towards Ribennes: +33 (0)4 66 65 05 63
Le Chastel Nouvel:
The oldest indications of human life in Chastel Nouvel are probably the megalithic boulders of Aspres and Maltres, prehistoric remains that date back to the Neolithic period. A prehistoric menhir was moved a hundred metres in 1988 to the grounds of the city hall.
Further evidence of human life here was found by archaeologists near Alteyrac in 1930. Digs have uncovered buildings, a brick fireplace and artefacts including pottery, all dating from the Gallo-Roman era.
Historians and archivists believe the fortress, in the village of Chastel-Nouvel, was built in the 13th century. It has been called a castrum, a château and a fort.
It was built by the Canons of the Chapter of Mende, feudal ecclesiastical dignitaries with authority over the inhabitants of Chastel-Nouvel, which was then known as Malavieille (Malavetula in Latin).
The new building took the name Castrum Noel de Malavetula or the New Castle of Malavielle. The modern-day name of Chastel-Nouvel is derived from this.
Les Boulaines :
North-east of Mende, the forests of conifers and deciduous trees of the Boulaine form a sharp contrast to the spartan vegetation on the Causses.
Considered to be the second most important of the green spaces around Mende, you are highly likely to come across other people on two wheels, two legs and on four legs too!