Mont Aigoual - Cévennes, shows meteorological station, forests, Hérault valley

Mont Aigoual (1565 m.) is a granite rock on the watershed between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. The name is reminiscent of both eagle and water in Occitan and French: it rains a lot and there are eagles. The slopes were controversially reforested to assure water for the southwest of France; a weather station, looking very much like a castle, was built on the summit and has been manned since the eighteen nineties.

Most of the measurements are now made by automatic instruments. There's a museum of meteorological instruments but disappointingly scarce information about modern forecasting.

The guides say that on a fine day you can see both Mt Blanc in the Savoie Alps and the high peaks of the Pyrénées but that must be at a crisp clear dawn rather than the midday mist of late summer. Even so, you still have the fantastic feeling of being on top of the world.

We came down the wooded valley of the Hérault towards the heat of the Mediterranean.