Starry-eyed in the Cévennes

Fancy a holiday with your head in the stars? Head to the Cévennes and its International Dark Sky Reserve (RICE) for a holiday that's as close to nature and the sky as you can get. France.fr gives you its top tips for stargazing in this exceptional protected area.

At the Mont Aigoual weather observatory

A must-see first stop in the Cévennes for all sky lovers, the Observatoire météorologique du Mont-Aigoual offers a remarkable panorama of nature as far as the eye can see. It is the last inhabited mountain weather station in France, rising to an altitude of 1,567 metres! On site, you can discover the meteorology museum and learn all about meteorological phenomena and tools. There are even workshops with a technician from Météo France, where you can learn how to draw up a weather report or decipher satellite images.

Observatoire météorologique du mont Aigoual (External link)

Join Azimut Voyage for a wilderness hike

For a different kind of stargazing, Azimut Voyage organises unusual excursions in the heart of the Cévennes National Park. These walks are led by a mountain guide, accompanied by an astronomer or an astrophysicist. For 7 days and 6 nights, with the help of donkeys, you'll explore this incredible site, discovering both the wildlife and the sky. Cartography, planets, stars, clusters and nebulae will be explored along the way. As for accommodation, you'll sleep in an astronomical observatory, a yurt, a wilderness bivouac and a perched gîte!

Azimut Voyage (External link)

Under the stars in the Cabanes & Bulles self-catering cottages

If you're looking for a romantic getaway, Cabanes & Bulles in Saint-Sébastien-d'Aigrefeuille in the Gard is the place to be. These unusual gîtes are run by Nathalie and Didier, who welcome you to their 8-hectare estate in the heart of the Cévennes National Park. Here you can sleep in transparent bubbles, domes or pyramids, surrounded only by oak and chestnut trees. Each room has its own private jacuzzi for a moment of wellbeing overlooking the Cévennes countryside. At nightfall, you can lose yourself in the vastness of the Milky Way! A wonderful invitation to let go and dream...

Cabanes & Bulles (External link)

In a cottage run by an astronomy enthusiast

At Les Esperelles, south of Mont Lozère, astronomy enthusiast Hervé Roche has opened two gîtes to welcome lovers of the constellations. Thanks to the quality of the site's dark skies and his Dobson 406/1800, he offers introductory courses in stargazing. As an added bonus, both gîtes are exquisitely decorated, tastefully combining the old with the new. La Clède sleeps up to 4 people, while Le Paillet is reserved for couples. Thanks to Hervé, you can enjoy an exclusive stay in the heart of the Cévennes International Dark Sky Reserve (RICE)!

Les Esperelles (External link)

During the festival Les Nuits du Causse Noir

Every year in summer, there's one event that budding astronomers won't want to miss: Les Nuits du Causse Noir. Held on an exceptional site at Lanuéjols, between the Gard and Aveyron departments, at an altitude of 1,000 metres, this event brings together amateurs and professionals with a passion for astronomy. Astrophysicists, science journalists... all come together for nights of observation far from any light pollution and conferences on exoplanets or the celestial vault. Rendezvous in July or August at the Domaine de Pradines campsite.

Les Nuits du Causse Noir (External link)

Domaine de Pradines (External link)

Getting to the Cévennes, in Occitanie