Sentier des Lauzes (flagstone path)
Sentier des Lauzes (flagstone path)
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This Chemin d'Art en Paysage (artistic and natural path) in the Drobie Valley is designed for those who love hiking, art, or just nature. The flagstone path enables one to discover not only the wonderful landscapes of the valley, its gorgeous bridges, small barns, terraces and béalières (small irrigation canals), but also a series of works of art created especially for these places, with a close link between Art and landscapes. The flagstone path, a loop touring the villages of Saint-Mélany and Dompnac, is interspersed with works by Domingo Cisneros, Akio Suzuki, Christian Lapie, Gilles Clément, Ivo Provoost and Simona Denicolai. Every year, the path is enriched with works produced at the Atelier-Refuge (haven-studio), a place for artists in residence that you will also pass during your walk. Who knows, maybe you will meet an artist working there ?
- Head towards the city hall and past it on a narrow tarmacked road following the arrow "Saint-Régis 6 km, Dompnac 8.4 km". Continue on this road.
- After a tight bend to the right, and another one to the left, leave the road and take a path going left just before the end of the road. Carry on up to the place called the Eyrolle and take the direction of "Saint-Régis 5.1 km, Dompnac 7.5 km" on a goat track that forms a hairpin bend in front of a gate before leading to the road.
- Cross the road and take a calade (cobblestone path) going uphill to the right in front of houses. The path goes back to the road and crosses it again.
- Go up above the road and take the calade uphill on your right, overlooking the Pourcharesse Valley, and crossing the gorgeous landscapes of vineyards and chesnut groves terraces. You will then discover the first "oto-date", a place to listen, installed here in 2007 by the Japanese artist Akio Suzuki; after that will come two "Chambres d'Ecoute" and other "oto-dates" scattered along the path and on neighbouring ridges or valleys.
- Under the place called the Elzière, the path goes past "Paroles de lauzes" by Domingo Cisneros. After an impressive hillside planted with vines, the path overlooks "l'Echappée", haven-studio built by the association to receive artists, researchers, students, and anyone who wishes to immerse oneself in this powerful landscape (please do not disturb the residents when someone lives there).
- After that, the path leads to a track and goes downhill to the Vernet's small bridge where you will find "Silence de Lauzes - groupe 1" by Christian Lapie. The path continues across a terraced hillside, covered with old vines. It then enters an undergrowth, crosses a brook and goes up again towards houses. Go below them, then take the road on the right up to Le Vernet crossways.
- Continue towards "Saint-Régis 3.1 km, Dompnac 5.5 km" on a path going uphill in the undergrowth up to the hamlet of l'Adreyt. Below the houses, continue on the track that makes a loop and comes back towards the houses.
- In front of the house, leave the track and take a narrow path going uphill on the left and leading to another track just before the Travers hamlet. Take it on the right, then cross it to take a calade uphill on the right of the hamlet.
- Cross the road. After the last houses, turn left, then right, and continue uphill.
- You will reach a track on the ridge above the valleys of Saint-Mélany and Dompnac up to the Grimal Cross. (pay attention to the "oto-date" a little before the Cross). The track goes along the foot of a schist slab overlooked by "Silence de lauzes groupe 2". Then a board on your right invites you to visit the "Belvédère des lichens", by the landscape architect Gilles Clément, to admire the valley and discover the lichens' mysteries.
- The belvedere also offers a panorama on the Sueille Valley, the Ondes summit to the West and the Cheylard summit to the North. Continue on the track up to the chapel of Saint-Régis.
- Once at the chapel, take the direction of "Dompnac 2.4 km" up to the Croix des Lèbres. The markings are now white and yellow.
- After 100 m, at the crossways "la Croix des Lèbres", follow "Dompnac 2.3 km". The path goes down along the slope, winding among undergrowth and heath up to Le Théron.
- At the crossways, go straight ahead towards "Dompnac 0.8 km". The path goes downhill then turns right and crosses a track. It goes below houses before entering Dompnac. At the village entry, turn left up to the church and the city hall.
- Leave Dompnac on the departmental road. Continue on it past a cross. About 200 m after the cross, take the bridge across the brook. Continue on the road for 500 m.
- Then take a path on the right. It goes uphill in the undergrowth up to Lachamp de Merle.
- At the crossways of Lachamp de Merle, follow "Saint-Mélany 5.2 km". The path soon goes downhill to the houses of Lachamp de Merle. Go through the hamlet, and up to the departmental road.
- Follow it on the right, through the Merle hamlet.
- After the last houses on the left, take the road on the left. In the hairpin bend, leave the road and go straight ahead on a path going down to the bottom of the valley. Cross a first brook, then turn right to ford the Sueille River. Continue on the right on the path that goes along the river and old irrigation canals. Don't take the paths going right or left, carry on straight ahead up to the La Coste hamlet. Just before it, a thin cobblestone line across the path invites you to go down in a chesnut grove to discover the art installation by Ivo Provoost and Simona Denicolai (to discover what is inside it, you have to buy a key at the restaurant Au Bon Port in Saint-Mélany).
- At the La Coste hamlet, take the tarmacked road leading to the departmental road, then turn left in the hairpin bend, and continue towards Le Chambon.
- At Le Chambon crossways, turn left on the road D420 towards "Saint-Mélany 0.4 km" and follow it up to your starting point.
- Departure : In Saint-Mélany, on the little square before reaching the city hall.
- Towns crossed : SAINT-MELANY and DOMPNAC
Access and parking
Go up the Beaume Valley, then the Drobie Valley from Joyeuse on the road D203, then take the road D220 up to Saint-Mélany.