The GR 70 known as the Chemin de Stevenson or the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail, is a Grande Randonnée that runs for 225 kilometres through the French departments of Haute-Loire, Lozère and Gard in a north–south direction from Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille to Saint-Jean-du-Gard. It follows the route taken by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1878, a journey described in his book Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. Although it is not on the formal route, many hikers begin at Le-Puy-en-Velay and walk to Le Monastier-sur-Gazeille via a section of the GR 430. Many walkers continue beyond the official end-point of Saint-Jean-du-Gard to Alès via sections of the GR 61 and GR 44 D. Both of these cities have railway stations; the route was formally adopted by the Fédération Française de la Randonnée Pédestre in 1994, by 2007 an estimated 6000 hikers walked its full length each year. A dedicated organisation, the Association Sur Le Chemin de Robert Louis Stevenson, promotes the trail and maintains an accommodation list.
Places marked with an asterisk are not on the formal route, but are included by those walking the GR 70
Pope Urban V
Pope Urban V, born Guillaume de Grimoard, was Pope from 28 September 1362 until his death in 1370 and was a member of the Order of Saint Benedict. He was the sixth Avignon Pope, the only Avignon pope to be beatified. After his election as pontiff, he continued to follow the Benedictine Rule and modestly, his habits did not always gain him supporters. Urban V pressed for reform throughout his pontificate and oversaw the restoration and construction of churches and monasteries. One of the goals he set himself upon his election to the Papacy was the reunion of the Eastern and Western Churches, he did not succeed. Guillaume de Grimoard was born in 1310 in the Castle of Grizac in the French region of Languedoc, the second son of Guillaume de Grimoard, Lord of Bellegarde, of Amphélise de Montferrand, he had two brothers, Étienne and Anglic, the future cardinal, a sister Delphine. In 1327, Guillaume Grimoard became a Benedictine monk in the small Priory of Chirac, near his home, a dependency of the ancient Abbey of St. Victor near Marseille.
He was sent to St. Victor for his novitiate. After his profession of monastic vows, he was ordained a priest in his own monastery in Chirac in 1334, he studied literature and law at Montpellier, he moved to the University of Toulouse, where he studied law for four years. He earned a doctorate in Canon Law on 31 October 1342, he was appointed Prior of Nôtre-Dame du Pré in the diocese of Auxerre by Pope Clement VI, which he held until his promotion to Saint-Germain en Auxerre in 1352. He began both financial reforms, his new bishop, Jean d'Auxois, however, in concert with the Archbishop of Sens, Guillaume de Melun, made heavy demands on their hospitality, when the latter attempted to impose new exactions, which were resisted by Grimoard, the Archbishop physically abused the Prior, who nonetheless would not submit. Prior Grimoard became Procurator-General for the Order of St. Benedict at the Papal Curia, he became a noted canonist, teaching at Montpellier and Avignon. He was appointed by the Bishop of Clermont, Pierre de Aigrefeuille to be his Vicar General, which meant in effect that he ruled the diocese on behalf of the bishop.
When Bishop Pierre was transferred to Uzès, Guillaume Grimond became Vicar General of Uzès. Guillaume was named abbot of the monastery of Saint-Germain en Auxerre on 13 February 1352 by Pope Clement VI. In 1359 the town and abbey were subjected to heavy imposts. In the summer of 1352 Pope Clement VI summoned Abbot Guillaume for an assignment. Northern Italy had been in a chaotic state for some time, thanks to the ambitions of the Visconti of Milan, led by Archbishop Giovanni Visconti, he had conquered much of Lombardy, seized the Papal city of Bologna, was invading the borders of Florentine territory. In order to keep a hold on the territory for the Church, the Pope had hit on the scheme of making Archbishop Visconti his Vicar of Bologna for the present, he drew up an agreement on 27 April 1352, which absolved the Visconti of all their transgressions and signed away much of northern Italy. The Pope made the first payment on the subsidy which he was going to provide them; the Visconti, on their part, had no intention of observing the terms of the pact, one of, the return of the Legation of Bologna to the Papacy, despite the fine words and promises they made in Avignon.
On 26 July, Abbot Grimoard and Msgr. Azzo Manzi da Reggio, the Dean of the Cathedral of Aquileia, were presented with written instructions by Pope Clement to go to northern Italy as Apostolic nuncios to deal with the situation. Guillaume was to receive the city of Bologna from the Visconti, who were illegal occupiers, hand it over to Giovanni Visconti as the Papal Vicar, to threaten with ecclesiastical censures any parties who did not adhere to the treaty; this he did on 2 October 1352. Guillaume was allotted 8 gold florins a day for his expenses, his associate Anzo only 4 florins. While he was in Milan he was able to get the Archbishop to renew the treaty, expiring with the King and Queen of Sicily, he was back in Avignon in November 1352. In 1354 Abbot Grimoard was sent to Italy again, this time to Rome, where there was business that needed to be transacted for the Apostolic Camera. There were serious disorders in the Basilica of S. Peter which needed to be sorted out. In August 1361, he was elected the abbot of the Abbey of Saint-Victor in Marseille.
Despite the appointment, he continued to teach as a professor, at least for the next academic year. Cardinal Gil Álvarez Carrillo de Albornoz had been sent to Italy in 1353, to bring under control the notorious Giovanni di Vico of Viterbo, as well as the Malatesta of Rimini and the Ordelaffi family of Forlì. In 1360 Abbot Guillaume was sent to assist him by dealing with Archbishop Visconti's nephew and successor, Bernabò Visconti, their confrontation was so hostile and threatening that the Abbot left and reported back to Pope Innocent the treachery of his vassal. The Pope sent him back to Italy but the utter defeat of Visconti's army, besieging Bologna by Cardinal Albornoz eased the situation considerably. Nonetheless after he was elected pope, Grimoard excommunicated Bernabò Visconti, he returned to France, retired to his castle of Auriol, where he was found on 10 June 1362. The reason for his retirement to Auriol is not far to seek; the plague was raging in southern France again in 1361 and 1362.
Cardinal Pierre des Près died on 16 May 136
Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine
Château de Florac
The Château de Florac is a castle built in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 17th century, located in the French town of Florac, in Lozère, in south-central France. It belonged to the Barony of Anduze and passed through a number of feudal families; the castle was rebuilt in 1652 after the Wars of Religion. During the French Revolution, the castle was turned into a "salt loft" for storing salt, it was used as a prison in the 19th century. Since 1976, the castle has been the headquarters of the Cévennes National Park; the ground and first floors house an exhibition on the National Park. The information centre has details of hiking, guided tours, accommodation and écomusées in the park. List of castles in France Media related to Château de Florac at Wikimedia Commons Florac Castle, virtual tour
French Wars of Religion
The French Wars of Religion were a prolonged period of war and popular unrest between Roman Catholics and Huguenots in the Kingdom of France between 1562 and 1598. It is estimated that three million people perished in this period from violence, famine, or disease in what is considered the second deadliest religious war in European history. Much of the conflict took place during the long regency of Queen Catherine de' Medici, widow of Henry II of France, for her minor sons, it involved a dynastic power struggle between powerful noble families in the line for succession to the French throne: the wealthy and fervently Roman Catholic ducal House of Guise and their ally Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France versus the less wealthy House of Condé, princes of the blood in the line of succession to the throne who were sympathetic to Calvinism. Foreign allies provided financing and other assistance to both sides, with Habsburg Spain and the Duchy of Savoy supporting the Guises, England supporting the Protestant side led by the Condés and by the Protestant Jeanne d'Albret, wife of Antoine de Bourbon, King of Navarre, her son, Henry of Navarre.
Moderates associated with the French Valois monarchy and its advisers, tried to balance the situation and avoid open bloodshed. This group put their hopes in the ability of a strong centralized government to maintain order and harmony. In contrast to the previous hardline policies of Henri II and his father Francis I, they began introducing gradual concessions to Huguenots. A most notable moderate, at least was the queen mother, Catherine de' Medici. Catherine, however hardened her stance and, at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572, sided with the Guises; this pivotal historical event involved a complete breakdown of state control resulting in series of riots and massacres in which Catholic mobs killed between 5,000 and 30,000 Protestants over a period of weeks throughout the entire kingdom. At the conclusion of the conflict in 1598, the Protestant Henry of Navarre, heir to the French throne, converted to Catholicism and was crowned Henry IV of France, he issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted Huguenots substantial rights and freedoms though this did not end Catholic hostility towards them or towards him, personally.
The wars of religion threatened the authority of the monarchy fragile under the rule of Catherine's three sons and the last Valois kings: Francis II, Charles IX, Henry III. This changed under the reign of their Bourbon successor Henry IV; the edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685 with the Edict of Fontainebleau by Louis XIV of France. Henry IV's wise governance and selection of able administrators did leave a legacy of a strong centralized government and economic prosperity that has gained him the reputation as France's best and most beloved monarch, earning him the designation "Good King Henry". Along with French Wars of Religion and Huguenot Wars, the wars have been variously described as the "Eight Wars of Religion", or the "Wars of Religion"; the exact number of wars and their respective dates are subject to continued debate by historians: some assert that the Edict of Nantes in 1598 concluded the wars, while the ensuing resurgence of rebellious activity leads some to believe the Peace of Alès in 1629 is the actual conclusion.
However, the agreed upon beginning of the wars is the Massacre of Wassy in 1562, the Edict of Nantes at least ended this series of conflicts. During this time, complex diplomatic negotiations and agreements of peace were followed by renewed conflict and power struggles. Humanism, which began much earlier in Italy, arrived in France in the early sixteenth century, coinciding with the beginning of the French Protestant Reformation; the Italian revival of art and classical learning interested Francis I, who established royal professorships in Paris, equipping more people with the knowledge necessary to understand ancient literature. Francis I, had no quarrel with the established religious order and did not support reformation. Indeed, Pope Leo X, through the Concordat of Bologna increased the king's control over the French church, granting him the power of nominating the clergy and levying taxes on church property. In France, unlike in Germany, the nobles supported the policies and the status quo of their time.
The emphasis of Renaissance Humanism on ad fontes, the return to the sources, had spread from the study and reconstruction of secular Greek and Latin texts, with a view to artistic and linguistic renewal, to the reading and translation of the Church Fathers and the New Testament itself, with a view to religious renewal and reform. Humanist scholars, who approached theology from a new critical and comparative perspective, argued that exegesis of Scripture must be based on an accurate understanding of the language and grammar used in writing the Greek scriptures and later, the Hebrew Scriptures, rather than relying on the Vulgate - a Latin translation of the Bible, as in the Medieval period. In 1495 the Venetian Aldus Manutius began using the newly invented printing press to produce small, pocket editions of Greek and vernacular literature, making knowledge in all disciplines available for the first time to a wide public. Printing in mass editions allowed theological and religious ideas to be disseminated at an u
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish novelist and travel writer, most noted for Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, A Child's Garden of Verses. Born and educated in Edinburgh, Stevenson suffered from serious bronchial trouble for much of his life, but continued to write prolifically and travel in defiance of his poor health; as a young man, he mixed in London literary circles, receiving encouragement from Andrew Lang, Edmund Gosse, Leslie Stephen and W. E. Henley, the last of whom may have provided the model for Long John Silver in Treasure Island, his travels took him to France and Australia, before he settled in Samoa, where he died. A celebrity in his lifetime, Stevenson attracted a more negative critical response for much of the 20th century, though his reputation has been restored, he is ranked as the 26th most translated author in the world. Stevenson was born at 8 Howard Place, Scotland on 13 November 1850 to Thomas Stevenson, a leading lighthouse engineer, his wife Margaret Isabella.
He was christened Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson. At about age 18, he changed the spelling of "Lewis" to "Louis", he dropped "Balfour" in 1873. Lighthouse design was the family's profession. Thomas's maternal grandfather Thomas Smith had been in the same profession. However, Robert's mother's family were gentry, tracing their lineage back to Alexander Balfour who had held the lands of Inchyra in Fife in the fifteenth century, his mother's father Lewis Balfour was a minister of the Church of Scotland at nearby Colinton, her siblings included physician George William Balfour and marine engineer James Balfour. Stevenson spent the greater part of his boyhood holidays in his maternal grandfather's house. "Now I wonder what I inherited from this old minister," Stevenson wrote. "I must suppose, that he was fond of preaching sermons, so am I, though I never heard it maintained that either of us loved to hear them."Lewis Balfour and his daughter both had weak chests, so they needed to stay in warmer climates for their health.
Stevenson inherited a tendency to coughs and fevers, exacerbated when the family moved to a damp, chilly house at 1 Inverleith Terrace in 1851. The family moved again to the sunnier 17 Heriot Row when Stevenson was six years old, but the tendency to extreme sickness in winter remained with him until he was 11. Illness left him extraordinarily thin. Contemporaneous views were that he had tuberculosis, but more recent views are that it was bronchiectasis or sarcoidosis. Stevenson's parents were both devout Presbyterians, but the household was not strict in its adherence to Calvinist principles, his nurse Alison Cunningham was more fervently religious. Her mix of Calvinism and folk beliefs were an early source of nightmares for the child, he showed a precocious concern for religion, but she cared for him tenderly in illness, reading to him from John Bunyan and the Bible as he lay sick in bed and telling tales of the Covenanters. Stevenson recalled this time of sickness in "The Land of Counterpane" in A Child's Garden of Verses, dedicating the book to his nurse.
Stevenson was an only child, both strange-looking and eccentric, he found it hard to fit in when he was sent to a nearby school at age 6, a problem repeated at age 11 when he went on to the Edinburgh Academy. His frequent illnesses kept him away from his first school, so he was taught for long stretches by private tutors, he was a late reader, learning at age 7 or 8, but before this he dictated stories to his mother and nurse, he compulsively wrote stories throughout his childhood. His father was proud of this interest, he paid for the printing of Robert's first publication at 16, entitled The Pentland Rising: A Page of History, 1666. It was an account of the Covenanters' rebellion, published in 1866, the 200th anniversary of the event. In September 1857, Stevenson went to Mr Henderson's School in India Street, but because of poor health stayed only a few weeks and did not return until October 1859. During his many absences he was taught by private tutors. In October 1861, he went to Edinburgh Academy, an independent school for boys, stayed there sporadically for about fifteen months.
In the autumn of 1863, he spent one term at an English boarding school at Spring Grove in Isleworth in Middlesex. In October 1864, following an improvement to his health, he was sent to Robert Thomson's private school in Frederick Street, where he remained until he went to university. In November 1867, Stevenson entered the University of Edinburgh to study engineering, he showed from the start devoted much energy to avoiding lectures. This time was more important for the friendships he made with other students in the Speculative Society with Charles Baxter, who would become Stevenson's financial agent, with a professor, Fleeming Jenkin, whose house staged amateur drama in which Stevenson took part, whose biography he would write. Most important at this point in his life was a cousin, Robert Alan Mowbray Stevenson, a lively and light-hearted young man who, instead of the family profession, had
Mont Lozère is the highest peak in the Cévennes, a subrange of the Massif Central in France. It lies within the Cévennes National Park. Mont Lozère is used for skiing during the winter months, it is a popular destination for student groups during the summer months. It offers some stunning natural scenery and is covered by coniferous plantations and'broom' scrub moorland. Mount Lozere is the source of the River Tarn, the highest point on the Robert Louis Stevenson Trail, a popular long-distance path following the route travelled by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1878 and described in his book Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes; the GR70 follows a draille across the mountain, marked by montjoies