Tucked away in the inland area between Montpellier and Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert lies an awesome natural site. Near the villages of Notre-Dame-de-Londres and Saint-Martin-de-Londres, you can hike to the Ravin des Arcs. Here, erosion shaped an impressive arc in a 10 kilometre canyon of the Lamalou riverbed.
Chéri joined me to go on a little expedition in the Montpellier hinterland. The drive there brought us through a remote landscape of garrigue, the typical Southern French scrubland, dotted with charming villages. I had done my homework and via the description of the Visorando app, we arrived at the clearly indicated start of the hike along the D986 road. A sign mentioned that the trail was a 1.5 hours circular walk for 4 kilometres. As I normally take the family on longer walks, Chéri and I both thought it would be a piece of cake. The first part of the hike was easy indeed, going slightly up first until you reach the first panorama of the Lamalou gorge.
To get to the river, we walked downhill through a forest, following a tricky descent with lots of gravel parts and loose stones. Once we reached the riverbed, we immediately saw the huge arch that rose above us impressively. To continue on our way, we were slightly puzzled, but the yellow signs really directed us into the riverbed. When the water runs through the river, you cannot go further and have to go back. Especially after the first rainfall of the year, it can turn into a wild torrent. However, the Lamalou river goes underground during the high season, and most of the water was already gone when we were there. Therefore, we had to step up our efforts by hopping from rock to rock, looking for the right track.
When we reached the point where Chéri and I had to go up the shore on the other side of the river, we enjoyed the magnificent surroundings some more. And then the workout continued… Going up was rather challenging over a short but steep trail. A sign warned us by saying it’s a ‘montée délicate’ or a delicate climb. Well, delicate it was! But we made it, and once the path went flat again, it rewarded us with a magnificent view of the Pic Saint-Loup. In the end, we returned to the starting point in 1.5 hours, just as indicated on the sign at the beginning. With another beautiful hike under our belts, we felt proud of ourselves.