The Eschino d’Azé and the Cham des Bondons

Hiking distance : 16 km ; Hiking time : 05:00

On the western end of Mount Lozère a limestone plateau known as the “Cham des Bondons” bridges the space between Mont Lozère and the Sauveterre Causse. The Cham is interesting for a number of reasons.

Cham des Bondons landscape
Cham des Bondons landscape
    • The plateau is sprinkled with an estimated 150 prehistoric monolithic standing stones. Over time, many have been knocked over but many are also still standing or have been replaced upright in modern times. The meaning or purpose of the stones is unknown. Religious significance, waymarkers for travellers, burial markers… ? Christian prelates, however, considered these monoliths to be a symbol of paganism and so some were voluntarily knocked down to signify the dominance of the Christian faith. These monoliths are all granite and have therefore been quarried elsewhere – presumably on Mount Lozère – and transported to the Cham to be erected. The Cham has the largest accumulation of these monoliths in southern France. No one knows why prehistoric peoples would have gone to all the trouble so the monoliths represent a cultural heritage yet to be explained. To the best of my knowledge, however, there are no upright monoliths along this particular route.

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