Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/399

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THE HÉRAULT

picturesque towns in France. It can be reached from Montpellier by taking the train to Aniane and walking or driving thence, or from Clermont in a carriage.

The Hérault escapes from its gorges at S. Jean de Foss, a little walled town, of which one gate remains. The church, crowded about by houses, is very early Romanesque and peculiar in many ways. It underwent alterations in the second Pointed period. There is a west tower, and the chancel is bored out under another.

Aniane is an uninteresting place, with a church built in the eighteenth century, very ugly. The huge abbey was also rebuilt about the same period, and now serves as a prison. I have not stayed the night at Aniane, and think that perhaps the inns may be better on the inside than they appear without. They do not invite to try their internal comforts.

The Hérault breaks out into the plain through a gorge of calcareous rocks, and it has sawn for itself a deep cleft in the bed below the roadway. The strata therein are strangely contorted. From Aniane a bridge is crossed, Le Pont du Diable, not very alarming, in spite of its name, and above is an aqueduct that conveys the water of the Hériault by a channel into the plain to Gignac and beyond that to S. André, carrying fertility with it.

Springs break forth from the cliffs, forming tables of calcareous deposit. One of these, of a high temperature, has constructed a large shelf extending towards the river, into which it flows.

The cliffs on each side of the ravine are very bare, striated, grey and yellow and white, spotted here and there with shrubs, aromatic and evergreen, and the