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A Day Trip Itinerary...print this out   print the content item
Two easy mountain hikes: St. Michel and Dio

At the castle a table explains the panorama and the extraordinary geology of the area, some of the most unique in Europe and rich in minerals
St. Michel is a chapel and castle ruin with a panoramic view of the Orb river valley. You can drive almost to the castle itself. Dio is a small, prosperous wine village perched on the GR7, one of France's national walking trails. St. Michel and Dio are close as the crow flies, but they feature very different terrains: one forested, the other volcanic. Time to either St. Michel or Dio: about 1 hour 15 minutes.
On the outskirts of Béziers, as you approach a roundabout (what Americans call a rotary), take the road that bears sharply right and is signposted for Bédarieux/St. Pons. Shortly you make a turn onto D909, heading for Roujan/ Bédarieux.For St. Michel: As the D909 reaches a crest in the foothills, follow the curve on D909A toward Hérépian. At Hérépian, take the D908 toward Lamalou-les-Bains.
At the Lamalou traffic light, turn left toward Les Aires. You will cross the Orb. Take a left onto D160. Just past the "Moulinas" sign, take a sharp right uphill onto a narrow road signposted St-Michel. If you want to drive to foot of the castle, don't stop, no matter how forsaken the road seems. It's often a track over bare rock or buried under fallen leaves. But at the end there's a large parking lot and picnic tables. Or you can park along the way and hike up.For Dio: As the D909 reaches a crest in the foothills, you can turn right onto D909 toward Bédarieux. Pick up the D35 (it follows the River Orb north). Turn right at le Mas Blanc onto D157. Turn left onto the D8 and you'll soon see signs for Dio. Drive into Dio, park across from the Mairie (mayor's office). Consult the signboard next to the phonebooth for a guide to hikes in the surrounding hills.
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