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Brittany 2003


Cirque de Navacelles  


photos taken  August 2004

A75 & Millau


Cirque de Navacelles

Rhodes - Languedoc-Rousillon


Valley of the Tet and the Mediterranean


ViaMichelin map of Cirque de Navacelles

The Cirque de Navacelles is a cut-off meander on the Gorges del la Vis, in the Cevenne region of the southern Massif Central. The old river course has filled in with soft sediments, that are much more fertile than the surrounding rocks.


It is the scale of the feature, however, that is immense here, as the meander has been incised hundreds of feet into the limestone plateau.

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The road leading down to the settlement from the southern rim at la Baume Auriole.


The gorge, incised meander and northern rim of the plateau.


Another view of the road leading down to the valley floor.

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Limestone rock on the rim of the gorge, with some overhangs.


A general shot of the feature, together with some typical vegetation on the poor, dry soils.


From high on the road, the settlement of Navacelles.

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The River Vis can just been seen through a tangle of trees towards the lower reaches of the gorge.


Limestone cliffs on the southern rim.



An irrigation canal, here in its embanked section, is largely cut through the limestone hills.

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The fertile flat lands of the old riverbed have been used for pasture.


The settlement on the old cut-off; a rocky ribbed area of sparse vegetation.


The southern escarpment, the canal, and the road crossing the old river course.

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Some of the buildings are in need of substantial repair. The economic base of the area must be in tourism, and summer tourism at that. Road access is good if in fine weather, but the steepness and narrowness of the links will be a barrier in poor weather.


Navacelles and the northern slopes. The whole area is one of great physical difficulty. The barren summer hills were devoid of any agriculture save that of the appearance of  extensive pastoralism.




The hamlet at the Cirque de Navacelles. As a rural retreat in glorious scenery this must be the ultimate, excepting the buzzing of tourists on hot summer days!


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The meadows in the old river bed, the settlement and hills of the northern slopes behind.

As a world-class example of an incised meander and cut-off the Cirque de Navacelles is a must for geographers!


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