Mende, (48 Lozère, Occitanie) does not often get a mention being somewhat off the main routes out of the Languedoc, and now bypassed by the A75 autoroute (la Meridienne) which is free between Beziers and Clermont-Ferrand, which means that you are unlikely to come across the town by accident on the way to somewhere else.
I discovered it after a day enjoying the rather magnificent Gorges du Tarn, which are to the northwest of Millau (12 Aveyron, Occitanie):
Classified since 2010 as a UNESCO World Heritage site , the Gorges du Tarn derive their fame from the strange spectacle of nature that they offer. From arid Causses to deep valleys, you are everywhere surrounded by grandiose. In the heart of the Regional Park of the Grands Causses, the country extends from the singular Causse Méjean to the North to the famous Larzac to the South, passing through the Sauveterre and the Causse Noir, huge expanses of wilderness. These valleys are carved by the Tarn and its tributaries, the Jonte and the Dourbie rivers, which meander along these rivers in the middle of spectacular Gorges – see the official tourist office website
In Autumn Mende hosts its Mushroom Festival (Toqués du Cèpe) 4 – 6 October 2019:-
A large and very special autumn fair of seasonal fruit and vegetables occupies the streets and squares around the Cep Market in the Halle au Blé (the Corn Market). It is the chance to see various demonstrations (distillation using a still, jam-making, etc.), take part in cookery workshops and to sample the giant omelette. The programme also includes a supervised forage in the surrounding woods and guided visits of the city, capital of Lozère – see www.ot-mende.fr/
Mende describes itself as “the gateway city to the Cevennes, The Gorges & the Grand Causses – a magnificent natural setting where a diversity of Mediterranean landscapes have been shaped by man for millennia.” My memories are of a pleasant, if unspectacular town in the midst of stunning countryside- see Mende Tourist Office
21-24 December 2017 December more than 50 exhibitors await you at the “Village de Noël” (Christmas Village)” You will find everything you need to enjoy the festive season in the streets of Mende: local produce, arts and crafts – see www.ot-mende.fr
Many street events are held during this fortnight in December : shows, street performances (stilt walkers, jugglers, fire eaters), brass bands, horse-drawn carriages and pony rides, children’s workshops, etc. Highlight of the festivities: the Big Parade. More info see http://en.destinationsuddefrance.com