Living close to the Orb River, my family and I have spent many happy moments in and on the water. This playful river with some fun rapids is excellent for kayaking and canoeing, but you can also discover the Orb from its banks. Between Cessenon-sur-Orb and Réals, for example, you can do a leisurely 11 kilometre hike that will bring you through a varied landscape.
Since I downloaded this great hiking app, called ‘Visorando’, I have discovered numerous new hikes. It helps you to find a hike to your liking just around the corner from you or further afield. When you subscribe, you can search and save hikes, print maps and get detailed descriptions of hikes (mostly in French, but sometimes in English too). With a couple of friends, we decided to walk the ‘Berges de l’Orb‘. One of my friends is very organised and gave all four of us a printed map.
We started at Réals, where we parked the car at the Auberge near the bridge. Crossing the bridge (coming from the Auberge), we headed left (with the Orb on our left) to find a blue sign on a small step directing us left again, up through the woods. This is the only part of the hike where the path climbs a little, but nothing horrible. Now and then, we could peek through the trees to see the river meandering through the green landscape until we reached the ruins of an old mill. Although the Berges de l’Orb hike is partly marked with blue signs, my friends and I kept a close eye on the Visorando map. I’m glad we did, otherwise we would have walked away from the river, whereas you should stay relatively close to it.
Once you come to a black cross, turn left here past some houses. Continue on your way until you see a signpost with the blue-marked hikes (‘Circuits Les Bords de l’Orb’ and ‘Les Gourniès’). Here you go straight, passing some houses again while ignoring the blue cross marked on a pole. Walking and chatting away, we suddenly had the company of a dog on the loose. Wondering who it could belong to, we went to ask the nearby riding school. However, nobody was there. Except for a sheep, who decided to join our walking group… So, there we were, four girls, a dog and a sheep!
Luckily, we were saved by a woman passing by who knew the owner of both the dog and the sheep. Continuing on our way animal-free again, we soon enough reached the lovely village of Cessenon-sur-Orb. We crossed the bridge and walked through the village while keeping as close as possible to the river. Eventually, we came to the Voie Verte, a car-free trail for bicyclists and walkers, that led us to Réals again. We made a slight detour by having a scenic picnic, literally on the banks of the Orb River.