Le Train à Vapeurs des Cévennes connects three
stops in the beautiful Vallèe du Gard, and provides
the means for a great day out. Jeanne Marshall
wipes the soot from her eyes.
In the Gard valley, between Anduze and St Jean du
Gard, there is so much to do this should have been
two days out.
We made an early Sunday morning start at the large
brocante market near the centre of town. This
market is well worth a visit; it is well organised
and full of bargains – stalls range from vide
grenier amateurs to regular dealers - but you need
to arrive early, because it gets very busy later in
When we had finished, we sat down at a café in the
centre of town to rest with our purchases before
heading off for the station for the 11.30 train to
St Jean du Gard. There is, by the way, an excellent
newspaper shop, Maison de la Presse, which supplies
English papers, a real treat on Sunday, and other
publications in English, with lots of friendly
advice and good cheer.
The steam train is a great favourite not only with
children and train enthusiasts, but also for its
spectacular views, which you won’t see from the
road. We arrived at the Bambouseraie in time for
lunch. This part of the train journey is short and
not as picturesque as the section between the
Bambouseraie and St. Jean du Gard, though the kids
will love the 1km-long
tunnel and bridge at the start of the journey.
Having disembarked at the Bambouseraie, we walked
for five minutes up the road where we came across
L’Auberge de Montsauve. They have a set menu for 10
euros on a Sunday or 17 with a large salad option.
I recommend the saussice d’anduze, a local
speciality. The outdoor terrace was a nice setting
and very child friendly with a good children’s
menu. Service was attentive and friendly, though if
any English was spoken by the staff, they were too
shy to use it.
After lunch we wandered back to the Bambouseraie
and had a long stroll around the gardens for about
two hours. There are some interesting fixtures such
as the Laotian village, the Japanese Garden and
lots of interesting flowering bushes, aside from
the obvious assortment of bamboo, which grows so
high that for the most part, you are walking in the
The entire complex is irrigated via a network of
small canals, so the experience is beautifully
augmented by the sight and sound of running water.
The men in my family were particularly taken by the
giant carp who roam the canals, but mostly live
near the restaurant and visitor centre, which are
both airy, comfortable and tastefully done. You can
buy a variety of plants and bamboo-derived
products, and the souvenirs on offer are all of a
The price of entry was 7.50 euros, with few
concessions for a family, so it is worth going only
if you expect to make a real visit, not for a quick
At about four o’clock we continued our steam train
journey to St. Jean du Gard, taking in drinks and
ice cream at the station, while the locomotive ‘ran
around the train’, before returning to Anduze.
We enjoyed our day out enormously, but it was quite
long and tiring. For me, a single journey on the
train would have sufficed, but this requires having
someone willing to meet you at the other end with a
If the Bambouseraie is the focus of your visit, it
is better to take the train from the other
direction, ie, from St. Jean du Gard, and there is
a difference in price which makes the journey seem
better value for money. From the other direction,
the last train scheduled did not give us time to
look around St. Jean du Gard, which is a lovely
little town with some very good restaurants at all
price levels. Had we arrived in St Jean earlier, we
would have had time to visit the aquarium which has
an impressive variety of fish in over 50
glass-walled tanks of varying sizes.
Entièrement rédigée en anglais, par une rédaction de
résidents anglo-saxons en Cévennes, la revue ouvre ses
pages aux annonceurs et aux acteurs du développement local.
Le choix d’une région géographique très ciblée:
le cœur des Cévennes (Le Vigan, St Jean du Gard, Anduze,
Alès, St Ambroix, Génolhac, Florac) et l’esprit
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