The Gréponac cross
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The Gréponac cross
Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux

The Gréponac cross

Agropastoralism
History and heritage
Panorama
Easy
2h40
7,4km
+140m
-140m
Loop
GR
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On paths taken by the shepherds, on the footsteps of the Templars, explore the Larzac Causse to this white cross from which a superb panorama on the Tournemire cirque unfolds.

Stone lighthouse keeping an eye on the Larzac steppe, the granary-tower of Viala-du-Pas-De-Jaux is the starting point of this easy itinerary that crosses a landscape like no other, where the millennial breeding and the monks-soldiers of the Middle Ages have affixed their footprint. This walk takes you to the edge of the plateau, majestic sight on top.

2 points of interest
Geology

The Tournemire cirque

Situated in the southwest of the Larzac Causse, the Tournemire Cirque is a remarkable geological area marking the bondary beetwen the fore-causses and the great causses. It presents limestone ledges and rocky escarpments with caves and cavities where raptors such as the eagle owl and the golden eagle nest.
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History and heritage

Tower of Viala du Pas de Jaux

The Lord of Tournemire gave to the Templars knights the lands of Viala du Pas de Jaux in 1150. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the Viala consisted of a few farms.
After 1312, when the Hospitallers took possession of the Templars’ property, they decided to create in this place a village and for that they built farm buildings, managed by the brothers of the order. They constructed for them a dwelling and a church dedicated to St-Jean-Baptiste, the patron of the Hospitallers.
Until 1430, the inhabitants of Viala du Pas de Jaux and the surroundings took refuge in Ste-Eulalie de Cernon during the periods of insecurity which occurred on the Larzac. Because of the high distance between the two village, the inhabitants asked the authorization to the Grand Prior of Saint Gilles, to build a fortified tower to be able to take refuge inside with their possessions. This is the first fortification built on the plateau.
Today the 30 meters high tower has been restored. The vaulted ground floor, the five floors, its terrace and the dwelling dating from the 14th century are now accessible.

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Description

From the park car, get to the village.
  1. From the tower of Viala-du Pas-de-Jaux, head north and follow the GR71C for 200m.
  2. At the wayside cross, turn off towards left, follow a track in the middle of the boxwoods which, after 1km, joins to “La Grande Passade”. Continue northwest towards the plateau.  Walk along a fence to reach a junction on the edge of the cliffs.
  3. Turn left and continue walking on the top of cliffs until the cross of Gréponac (beautiful views on the Tournemire Cirque).
  4. From the cross, head east to get to the road D23. Take it for 800m.
  5. Turn right in operating path towards the cross of “Plo de la Lavogne”. After the cobbled-watering place, turn off left.
  6. Before D23, turn right and follow a dirt track that gets to a small road. Take it on the left in direction of the village of Viala to reach the starting point.
Departure : Tower of Viala du Pas de Jaux
Arrival : Tower of Viala du Pas de Jaux
Towns crossed : Viala-du-Pas-de-Jaux, Tournemire

Altimetric profile


Recommandations

White and red signs (GR) excepted between point 2 and 3 (yellow signs).
Is in the midst of the park
This itinerary is located in the World Heritage zone Causses and Cévennes, mediterranean agropastoral cultural landscape.

Information desks

Tourist Office Larzac et Vallées

Place du Claux, 12230 NANT

http://www.visit-larzac.com/

infos@tourisme-larzac.com

+33(0)565622364

Located on the ground floor of the Town Hall (mansion of the 18th century), The Tourist Office welcomes you all year and offers tourist information on the Larzac and its valleys, the department of Aveyron, and also on neighboring counties. Free Wifi access.

Opening hours :

From Novembre to February: Tuesday morning 9:00-12:30
March and October :  Tuesday to Friday 9:00-12:30
April : Tuesday to Friday 10:00-12:30 and 14:00-17:30
May, June : Tuesday to Saturday 10:00-12:30 and 14:00-17:30
July and August : every day 10:00-12:30 and 14:30-18:00
September : Tuesday to Saturday 10:00-12:30 and 14:00-17:30

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Transport

To travel by bus or train, by carpooling  Aires de covoiturage and hitchhiking Rezopouce.

Access and parking

36km south of Millau  by the D809 and D23.

Parking :

Shaded car park direction L'Hospitalet du Larzac.

Source

C.C. Larzac et Vallées - CDRP Aveyron

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9
What to see

What to see

At its entrance, is a 180 million-year-old complete skeleton of an extinct marine dinosaur, the Occitanosaurus tournemirensis which was discovered fossilized in the “grey clay soils.”

The ecologically Sensitive Natural Space (SNS) of the Tournemire amphitheatre which is situated in the village of the same name, stretches over an area of approximately 130 ha and marks the boundary between the frontal causses and the causse du Larzac. This area has a remarkable environmental importance due to the geomorphology of the site and also owing to several natural habitats of European interest that it provides. This natural space shelters numerous noteworthy bird species: the Eagle Owl, the Golden Eagle, the Common Whitethroat, the Wallcreeper, the Red-billed Chough and some inconspicuous bats. A few plant species well-adapted to the topography, the rock and even sometimes to the Mediterranean climate can be observed: Hoppe's Figwort, Hormathophylla macrocarpa...

The House of Plesiosaur displays the skeleton of the marine reptile (it's a copy, the original is at Millau's museum) along with interpretative panels about the geology, Plesiosaur, flora, birds and bats. It is also the starting point of the Tournemire amphitheatre hiking circuit that enables you to immerse yourself in a unique environment and of the point of departure for the amphitheatre interpretive trail.

"Espace Nature Aveyron" is a mobile application which allows to discover the whole range of animal and plant species living in this ecosystem and to enjoy the SNS stroll.


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Where to sleep ?
Where to sleep ?
Where to sleep ?
Where to sleep ?