The road from Lodève to Caylar reveals its last secrets
Built on a promontory at the foot of the Larzac, five kilometers north of Lodève, Soubès is at a crossroads and has been the link between the plain and the plateau since time immemorial.
If the “Roman road” that crosses the city from east to west along the shore of Molenty is well known to the public, there is another road, located on its western opposite, whose age we do not doubt.
It is the road from Lodève to Caylar identified as such in Napoleon’s 1833 cadastre, which today corresponds to the GR 71 connecting Lodève to Couvertoirade.
Coming from the north, via Mas de Rouquet, the ancestral path leading up the Font d’Amans stream crossed the Brèze upstream of Oulette Falls before following the present A75, at Les Arques, to reach Lodève. Its predominance is given by the IGN map which mentions a “mule track”, a term specific to the network of tracks that prevailed by 1850. “95% of goods were transported on the backs of mules”, as the late Cevennes explorer Pierre Clément recalled.
As evidence, the stone parts that remain on the steepest part of the path date back to the beginning of the 19th century at the latest.
“The road had its importance from the High Middle Ages with regard to the pre-Romanesque chapel of Saint-Clément founded around the 10th century which is located nearby, whose origin is closely connected with it”, confirms, for his part, the historian from Lodévois Francis Moreau. But the via is much older and dates from the beginning of our era according to observations that can be made, on the spot, after the equinox rain.
It is not uncommon, in fact, for runoff, here and there, to bring to light fragments of sigillata pottery dating from the 1st century.
Thus the potters from Graufesenque de Millau used the Amans coast to transport famous dishes through the Roman Empire. It is true that the route from Lodève had the advantage of reaching Larzac without encountering the slightest natural obstacle, unlike the neighboring Val de Lergue which collided with the cliffs of Causse.
However, the two paths could coexist before the Pas-de-l’Escalette path replaced the Font d’Amans path, no doubt for practical reasons: the valley was much more spacious, safer and better adapted to the evolution of modes of transport. of transport compared to the Font d’Amans valley which had the disadvantage of being much steeper.