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The Grand Causses Regional Natural Park

From the Larzac plateau to the Causse Mejean, the Grands Causses Regional Natural Park includes four major Causses. These geological features are limestone highlands  cut by deep gorges with steep slopes and woodland. The particular climate means that the high plateaux qualify as desert by some classification systems. Backed by the foothills of the Massif Central, this mosaic of landscapes conceals remarkable heritage resources, and opens up an invitation discover the heart of nature.

Principal mission

Reconciling the preservation of fauna, flora and cultural heritage with    sustainable development. The Grand Causses  Regional Natural Park  carries out missions to protect and enhance the biodiversity of its territory, its fragile natural environments and make it a natural area classified and recognised by the Department of Ecology.

Created in1995

In the département of Aveyron in the Midi-Pyrénées region.

Area: with a surface area of 327 070 hectares, the Grand Causses is the third largest natural park in France.

Number of municipalities of all sizes: 97

Number of inhabitants: 68,000

 

Landscape types and their natural heritage

Causses and gorges - cradle of endemic species

Gorges

On these plateaus interspersed with gorges, including the famous Larzac plateau, over 2,000 plant species have been identified, including Aquilegia viscosa (columbine) or Galatella sedifolia - an aster. Birds are kings here with the remarkable presence of vultures (the griffon vulture, black vulture and the Egyptian vulture), peregrine falcons and the chough.


The avant-causses - a mediterranean influence

These landscapes are marked by alternating meadows and cereal production. Mediterranean flora occupies the valleys which are home to wild asparagus and traveler's madder. On the steep and exposed areas to the south, the green lizard and ocellated lizard may be found.

The rougiers - contrasts made by water and its scarcity

Eroded areas and arid landscapes give the rougiers their contrasting colors. Exceptional flora are to be found - thyme and broom occupy the dry and hot environments while plants such as messicoles adonis, buttercup and thoroughwax are found in the wetter, crop growing, areas that are also home to harrier hawks.

The monts - on the slopes of the Massif central

From the Raspes du Tarn to the foothills of the Cevennes, the monts punctuate the landscape of the Causses. Here you can see owls and other birds, while on the peatlands of Lévézou you'll come across the Greater Blue Butterfly.

Micropolis - the City of the Insects in Saint-Léons has fifteen fun and interactive exhibition spaces dedicated to the miniature world of bugs.

Hippolyte Coste botanical collection is a small museum dedicated to the botanist Hippolyte Coste in Saint-Paul-des-Fonts.

Water

The Dourbie, the Jonte and the Tarn rivers are the sculptors of the magnificent canyons that separate the major plateaux. Deeply infiltrated, the water creates karst springs in the valleys. Sometimes, it is heated by geothermal energy and springs out enriched in minerals. The best known springs are to be found at Andabre and Sylvanès.

Noria - a water tour installed in an 18th century watermill. Exhibition and interactive tour introducing you to the problems and solutions involving the region's water supply.

 

Find out more: Grands Causses Regional Natural Park

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