Definitions

Cévennes

Cévennes

[sey-ven]
Cévennes, mountain range, S France, bordering the Massif Central on the southeast. The Cévennes proper occupy the central section of a mountainous arc (average height 3,000 ft/910 m), swinging generally NE from the Montagne Noire (NE of Toulouse) to Mont Pilat (SW of Lyons). Between the Cévennes proper and the Montagne Noire are the Causses—barren limestone plateaus intersected by deep chasms and ravines. The Loire, Allier, Lot, Tarn, Aveyron, Hérault, Gard, and Ardèche rivers all radiate from the Cévennes or the Causses. Mont Lozère (5,584 ft/1,702 m) is the highest peak of the Cévennes proper; Mont Mézenc rises to 5,753 ft (1,754 m). The cultivation of silkworms and the manufacture of silk were characteristic of the area, but the silk industry has greatly declined. Heavy industry in Alès is on the decline. Intensive sheep raising in the interior has worsened erosion, but a reforestation program has been started.
The Cévennes are a range of mountains in south-central France, covering parts of the départements of Gard, Lozère, Ardèche, and Haute-Loire.

The word Cévennes comes from the Gaulish Cebenna, which was Latinized by Julius Caesar to Cevenna. The Cévennes are named Cemmenon (Κέμμενων) in Strabo's Geographica.

The average population density is 14/km².

The Cévennes are a part of the Massif Central. They run from southwest (Montagne Noire) to northeast (Monts du Vivarais), with the highest point being the Mont Lozère (1702m). Another notable peak is the Mont Aigoual (1567m). The Loire and Allier flowing towards the Atlantic ocean, the Ardèche and tributary Chassezac, Cèze, the different Gardons to the Rhône, Vidourle, Hérault and Dourbie rivers to the sea source in the Cévennes. The region hosts Cévennes National Park, created in 1970 and the Parc Naturel Régional des Monts d'Ardèche. Two canyons are near the region: the Gorges de la Jonte (the Jonte River gorge) and the Gorges du Tarn (the Tarn River gorge).

The region is known for its large community of Protestants, or Huguenots. During the reign of Louis XIV, much of the Huguenot population fled France, particularly following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, but the community in the Cévennes largely remained in place, protected from attack by the hilly terrain. In 1702, this population, dubbed the Camisards, rose up against the monarchy. The two sides agreed to peace in 1715.

In French, the adjective derived from "Cévennes" is Cévenol (fem. Cévenole), as in d'Indy's Symphonie Cévenole, a composer of Ardèche origin (known in English as his "Symphony on a French Mountain Air"). The mountain range also gives its name to a meteorological effect when cold air from the Atlantic coast meets warm air of southern winds from the Mediterranean and causes heavy autumnal downpours, often leading to floods. These are called épisodes cévenols.

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