The Anduze steam train

A bit of history

The steam train line of Anduze connects Anduze and Saint Jean du Gard. It was inaugurated on May 26, 1909, by René Boudon, the mayor and councilor general, and spans approximately 13 km.

The construction was colossal: it required building a metal bridge, viaducts, tunnels, and arches! Also, walls were needed to support the hillsides.

Where to catch the steam train and its route?

You can board the train at either the Anduze station or the Saint-Jean-du-Gard station.

The journey takes you through the discovery of the Cévennes National Park with its magnificent landscapes. Along the way, you will also encounter the “mazets,” small houses alongside the railway track that once housed the gatekeepers at level crossings.

In addition to the journey, the Cévennes train offers several extra activities:

Locomotive baptism

During the journey, experience riding in the locomotive! Learn about the train’s operation and assist the driver; you will even receive a diploma at the end of the journey! Please note, the baptism requires advance reservation, and only one person can enter the locomotive at a time.

On-board meal

Step back in time and enjoy a meal in the dining car! Meals are available on select days depending on the season, so be sure to check and book directly on the Cévennes train website. Departure is from Anduze station, where you can enjoy an aperitif at the beginning of the journey before arriving around noon at Saint-Jean-du-Gard, where the train will stop for the continuation of the meal.

Steam train escape game

The escape game takes place in a 1930s-era wagon: locked in for 40 minutes, you must solve “The Secret of the Cévennes Express” before arriving at Saint-Jean-du-Gard station. There are two versions available: beginner or advanced. Please note, the escape game wagon is not open daily and requires advance booking; check the website for details.

Timetable and fares for the Anduze steam train

Timetables and fares vary by season, so we recommend checking the website, which often offers half-price ticket sales!

Our opinion on the Anduze steam train

First, you hear a whistle, then the station master checks the doors. A second whistle blows, “Attention, departure!” The locomotive releases a burst of steam, and the train sets off!

After a few meters, you enter the first tunnel, the longest one (about 800 meters), and if you’re not prepared, you come out covered in black soot! There’s laughter all around as people wipe their faces; the train gains speed, and you can admire the landscapes of the Cévennes park.

Occasionally, your eyes sting a bit. The train emits its black smoke, instantly transporting you into the past. The ride is beautiful.

Both children and adults loved this extraordinary and timeless journey!

The bamboo garden of Anduze

History of the bamboo garden in the Cévennes

The Bamboo Garden of Anduze or “La Bambouseraie” is situated in the Cévennes region. It is unique in Europe both for its size and its wealth of plant variety: bamboo, trees, and more.

Established in 1856 by Eugene Mazel, who planted the first bamboos following the death of his uncle, using an inheritance to fuel his passion. The initial species from Asia were introduced and planted.

The park is divided into several landscaped areas:

  • The forest of giant bamboo, which impresses right from the park’s entrance.
  • The aerial walkway: for a moment, one feels like a monkey, navigating from tree to tree on suspended nets—a delightful and amusing experience loved by the whole family.
  • The Laotian village: a true cinematic setting with its typical house reconstructions, flowers, plants, and fragrances that transport visitors. Children will delight in encountering various animals.
  • The Dragon Valley and the Red Phoenix Pavilion: transporting visitors to China, a breathtaking spot that stands out as a favorite. Take time to sit and observe every detail of this open-air postcard.
  • The bamboo meadow.
  • Eugene’s Basin Garden: a charming garden with several differently shaped basins, inviting relaxation with the soothing sound of flowing water in the background.
  • The Mazel Greenhouses: a succession of wrought-iron greenhouses housing various species. Take the time to observe the plant names and read the informational signs.
  • The Japanese garden.
  • The large maze for the enjoyment of children.

Don’t miss the gardening area just before exiting. Here, you can purchase beautiful species not found elsewhere and seek advice from the gardeners.

La Bambouseraie also provides a snack bar and a souvenir shop where you can find tableware, books, and various Japanese-inspired items.

Practical information, hours and rates

The hours and rates vary by season, so we recommend checking the La Bambouseraie’s website for current information. Entrance to the park starts at 10 euros, and an annual pass is available starting from 20 euros.

Our review of La Bambouseraie

After approximately 10 minutes of train ride, the first stop is at La Bambouseraie, where you have about 2 hours to explore. We found this a bit short to fully appreciate La Bambouseraie and to take our time admiring its beauty. Two hours is indeed the minimum needed; if possible, allow more time.

La Bambouseraie is a magnificent place; as soon as you enter, you feel transported away from Gard. Despite the crowd, the atmosphere is very peaceful, and there are plenty of spots to sit and observe the details—of which there are plenty everywhere!

Throughout the year, La Bambouseraie hosts various events according to the seasons. Be sure to check their website for details on upcoming events.

Where to park a motorhome to visit La Bambouseraie and board the train?

The parking at La Bambouseraie is not suitable for motorhomes, which is unfortunate!

We recommend parking directly at the Anduze train station, where there are designated spaces for motorhomes. From there, you can easily board the train. In our opinion, the simplest way is to take the train and get off at the La Bambouseraie station. Alternatively, you can walk there, but it will take approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour on foot.

About Author

We are Sophie, Adrien, and our two adorable little ones. Passionate about travel, discovery, and gastronomy, we bought a 2007 Rapido camper van to travel differently, travel more, and introduce our children to the world. Here, we share our wonderful discoveries and tips for activities to do with children in France and beyond ! Welcome !

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