Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/198

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132
THE CEVENNES

Burzet leads to the very fine cascade of Ray-Pic, where the river leaps over a basaltic escarpment that had been vomited by the volcano of the same name, which filled the valley of the Burzet to the distance of ten miles. "He who has not seen Ray-Pic has seen nothing" is a saying among the peasantry.

At Burzet, on Good Friday, a procession perambulates the little place, bearing representations on cars of the scenes of the Passion, much like that which is famous at Seville, but here on a much smaller scale.

The river of Burzet has not, like other streams, sawn its way through the basalt, only through the upper uncrystallised portion which it has carried away, and it slides on its course over a paved bed of the tops of the prisms, "not unlike the Roman roads in Italy, but arranged with far greater neatness and accuracy of design." The columns in Lower Vivarais, says Mr. Scrope, are usually hexahedral, often five-sided; those of four occur rarely, of seven still more rarely.

But to return to the valley of Montpezat. Of this small town not much need be said. It is a very ancient place, and was the second stage on the high road to Gergovia. It contained a temple to Jupiter Olympus, and a medieval castle of which very little remains. But at Montpezat quarters must be found for the night, if it be desired to ascend so as to explore the Vestide du Pal, the most formidable mouth by which subterranean fires were belched, in all France, and perhaps even in all Europe.

An excellent road following the course of the Roman highway mounts here to the miserable village of Le Pal, 3,600 feet above the sea, where in winter the snow heaps itself up before the raging winds and buries the