La Mer de Rochers – Sauve, France - Atlas Obscura
Unusual adventures and hidden discoveries. Explore our 2018 trips now »

Sauve, France

La Mer de Rochers

This French "sea of rocks" is packed with stunning rock formations and its own medieval castle. 

Hidden in the garrigue outside of Sauve, France the Mer des Rochers (Sea of Rock) is a sprawling geological wonderland nearly alien to the rest of the country.

Looking like a harsh lunar landscape if it had more vegetation, the Mer des Rochers is laced with a maze of tight little trails criss-crossing through tall stacks of stark boulders. Yet even though the landscape looks a bit inhospitable, there was once a great deal of human activity in the area, the remnants of which can still be found along the trails. Thanks to the “terra rossa” (“red soil”), a typical south red clay soil excellent for farming, terraces and houses were built, grapes and celtis were planted, and the area became a prosperous medieval community. With the modernization of agriculture, the people moved away from the rocky area, but the remains of a crude castle can still be found nearby.

Today the Mer des Rochers is open to hikers looking for otherworldly landscapes mixed with a bit of medieval ruin. However visitors should be forewarned that the hike to the site is a bit tough and there are a number of cavities among the crags, so special care should be taken.   

Know Before You Go

The only way to access this area is by passing through the village of Sauve, a medieval town full of "chemin de traverse", disadvised for people with limited physical ability.