The Causses and the Cayennes Mediterranean agro-pastoral Cultural Landscape is a 302,319 hectares property located on the southern part of central France. It is a mountainous landscape that is interspersed by deep valleys. The landscape is a good representation of agro-pastoral systems.
Get ready to be mesmerized by the stone farmhouses that nestle on the terraces of Causses that showcase the abbey organization of the 11th century. Inside the property, you will find the Mont Lozere where summer transhumance is still practiced traditionally using drailles.
The region was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2011 due to being one of the few places on earth that has practiced agro-pastoral for 3 millenniums. The area has evidence of all the agro-pastoral practices that have evolved over the 3 millenniums. The Causses and the Cayennes are a classic example of how the humans interacted through agriculture and pastoralism.
Whenever on tour to France, take some time off from the beach and shopping and venture into this region. You will meet the old French ladies who will welcome you for a cup of tea as they regale you with stories of the region. If you are lucky, you will find the men before they go out into the fields and accompany them in their daily activities. Trust me; if you are a city person, you will be sweating just one hour into the work and will quit by the third hour with fatigue.
If there is any region in France that has retained its traditions, then it is the Causses and the Cayennes Mediterranean. A visit here will give you the authentic feel of France – very quite unlike the feel you will have in, say, Paris. Here you will not have a burger, you will have croissant with tea. You will not speak broken French…rather; you will speak the traditional French.
Fortunately, you will also not leave a big hole in your pocket exploring the region. It is one of the cheapest places in France. Haul your family there and see that you will not make friends for life out of the locals.