The fosses de Fournès

THE FOSSES DE FOURNÈS

Some may say that Fournès is just the town near the road that takes you to the famous Pont du Gard. Others will talk about its hilltop location that offers a breathtaking view of the landscape. Still others will describe its bell tower, distinctive staircase streets, Saint-Pierre chapel or hillsides planted with vineyards that produce excellent Côtes du Rhône wines. But what makes this place really unique and original are the incredible Fosses de Fournès.

A landscape like no other

The arid landscape, with pits and basins, seems unreal, as if it were bathed in an aura of magic and fantasy. Quaternary clay sediments have been eaten away by time and the erosion of the rock has formed a picturesque landscape. There are peaks from 10 to 30 meters high, the highest of which is called La Mourre de Pitaraçon. Their sloped sides are etched with furrows and their flat tops are dotted with herbs and thyme. This geological strangeness recalls the surface of the Moon. If you consider the land around you, a rich flora is all about: from oaks, to lavender and rosemary with their delightful scents. A diverse fauna feeds here too:  the stunning bright turquoise bird called a European bee-eater dig holes in the soft rock.

The clays on this site have led to the development of a clay industry in the nearby village that is still well-established today.

A perfect place for a hike

Your first step on this clay soil brings you back to Earth from your lunar dream, to the Fosses de Fournès, more precisely. On a narrow path, you cross yellow flowering plants and meander through lush vegetation. The old clay quarry extends over a slight gradient with a trail that ascends and descends over the terrain. The steeper parts of the trail are managed to make it easier for you to get around. The fascinating landscape really does make you feel that you are travelling from the Gardon to the Moon and back again, all the while passing by the vineyards.