Causse & Cevennes article celebrates Robert Louis Stevenson and the 140th anniversary of Travels in the Cévennes with a donkey

Contributor: Christian Brochier

The path of the Cévennes and the history of its rediscovery, from its first integral waymarking (1977) to the (very) festive events that marked the centenary of the “travels in the Cévennes with a donkey “. We owe it all to the Club Cévenol, an avant-garde Association created in 1994 to publicize and enhance the Cévennes and the Causses, their natural and cultural heritage, to encourage the creation of economic activities and tourism respectful of the ” country “.
Articles on Stevenson’s vision of the Cévenols and Highlanders, on the author’s world aura, and the history of the Cevennes association complete this review.
You can order it online at the Jean Calvin Bookstore of Alès by clicking on the following link:

A presentation abut the publication of the book appeared in an article of the “Journal of Millau”:

The following is an English translation of the article thanks to Odile Guigon our member from Mende:

Stevenson and the Cevennes, a love story

(Translated from an article published by Journal de on  Monday, March 18th, 2019)

In its first issue of this year, Causses et Cévennes magazine honours the most famous “Englishman” (sic!) of the Cevennes: Robert Louis Stevenson.

140 years have passed since Robert Louis Stevenson rambled the Cevennes in 1878 with his donkey from Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille near Le Puy to St-Jean-du-Gard. Stevenson’s life and works and Le Club Cévenol have followed tracks which often crossed. As announced at the Club’s 1878 general meeting in Millau, this special issue of Causses et Cévennes –the Club’s magazine- is dedicated to the writer.

Stevenson died three months before Le Club Cévenol was created. As early as 1901 the Club published the first summarised French translation of his travels through Velay, Gévaudan and Cevennes. In 1978 the centenary of this walking trip was widely celebrated through various events which the magazine narrates.

A pageant evoking 1878 Cevennes with a dance and parade was followed by a huge banquet attended by numerous Scots wearing the traditional kilt. On that anniversary a new version of the account of the trip was published thanks to the discovery in a Californian library of the original school notebook in which Stevenson had written down the details of his walk. The present issue of the magazine describes the long and meticulous work which made possible the publication of the full text of the journal abundantly enriched by live testimonies and details about late 19th century context in our region.

The Journal de route en Cévennes published by Editions Privat and Le Club Cévenol in France and Mainstream Publishing in Scotland (under the title The Cévennes Journal) appeared in May 1978. The Stevenson path was signposted by Le Club Cévenol, Syndicat d’initiative (=Tourist Office) of  Le Monastier and Association Drailles between 1977 and 1978 under the supervision of  Raymond Senn, chairman of the Fédération Française de Randonnée (the main French walkers association). For the last twenty years, the path –now “GR70, chemin de Stevenson” (long-distance trail 70, The Stevenson Trail)- has been looked after by the Association Sur le Chemin de Stevenson. About 7000 walkers use it every year.

Finally, the delicious account written by Caroline Patterson for National Geographic is one of the many anecdotes with compose this rich special issue of the magazine –she wanted to experience the trip in the same conditions as Stevenson, complete with donkey and bivouacking. Robert Louis Stevenson contributed to make our region known throughout the world, Le Club Cévenol continue its defence and promotion.

Journal de route en Cévennes can still be found on the net (Editions Privat/Club Cévenol

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