The Aubrac shows signs of the kind of erosion which indicates the ice age and there we can see wide valleys, hollows sculpted out by glaciers long ago (100 000 years) as well as ancient moraines (piles of rock) and alluvial sediment.
There are some climatic similarities between the Aubrac and the Aigoual. They both have a harsh climate; with short summers, sometimes stormy, cold winters and high rainfall. Not to mention wind, snow and fog!
Aumont-Aubrac placed at the departure point of the trail has a strong economy with its forest industry, farming, hotels, railway connection and a motorway (A75). Vast spaces with rich, high plateau grasses makes for quality cattle breeding (Aubrac cattle). A sparse population of hard workers take care of ; Industry : sawmills and cutlery ( the famous “Laguiole” knives), tourisme is growing, this, with calm and authenticity being the key words. La Canourgue and Sainte Enemie are picturesque and well preserved old towns where tourism is on the increase and is an important factor in their development.
The “Cevennes” of the “Aigoual” are mountainous and abrupt and divide the direction of the rivers, bringing the water either to the Atlantic or to the Mediterranean and are the heralds of the transition to the south. These two climatic influences are in constant interaction here and record rainfalls and winds are still established by the meteorological station at Aigoual (last station non-automated, as of today). Meyrueis, a delightful small town, nestled at the meeting of the Jonte and the Betuzon rivers, is a busy tourist spot in summer. To the south, an ancient Chestnut forest reaches to Le Vigan. The older inhabitants “Cevenols” have taken great care of them and lived long lives on their abundance of protein.
The deep Herault valley hollows out schist formations and the river descends the slope, generously watering the downstream villages on its way, during the heavy autumn rains. The town of Le Vigan, between the Aigoual and the causse de Blandas, more part of the south, is connected to the cities of Nimes, Montpellier or Millau by a network of roads which are in constant renovation. Crafts and commerce are very present, but industry is in decline, though social services and tourism are developing. Some small producers keep up high quality agriculture (sweet Cevennes onions) and some, farm organically. An active cultural life inspires the “Viganais”.
The Causse de Blandas and likewise, the Larzac, which come after the Cirque de Navacelles, is traditionally sheep raising country but recently there is a tendency to raise cattle rather than sheep. There has been an influx of new inhabitants in this attractive and particular land.