Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/391

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293
L'ESCALETTE

The octagon is surmounted by a dome. The church is of great simplicity, and consists of a nave, vaulted, with a circular apse. On the north side is a pretty portal of three orders, resting on pillars with foliaged capitals.

Near the church is a little chapel, on the front of which is inlaid an inscription in characters of the twelfth century, stating that it was consecrated on the 11th of the Calends of June in honour of S. Michael, but without date of the year.

At no considerable distance is a remarkably well-preserved dolmen. The end stone is pierced with a triangular opening, through which food was thrust for the dead who lay within. From Lodève the great upland causse can be reached by the road that leads to Le Caylar, through the valley of the Lergue and by the passage of l’Escalette. This was formerly a scramble up a stair of rocks, but now a good road has been driven up the heights to the vast plateau of Larzac, which has been seen as the train passes over it from Le Vigan to Tournemire.

There are caves to be explored near Lodève by such as enjoy such underground excursions; and these with marvellous stalagmitic and stalactitic formations. Such are the Mas de Bouquet, in the commune of Soubès. Another is the Grotte de Labeil, opening out of a cirque of rocks above the source of the Baume-Bauède, that once found its issue thence, but has now burrowed its way to a lower level.

Larzac (Larga saxa) is the most extensive and the most barren of all the limestone causses—a Siberian tundra in winter, an Arabia Petræa in summer.

It seems to be transpierced by the Cevennes, that