Discovering the Southern Ardèche
A trilingual French/English/German Welcome Booklet awaits you upon your arrival, with suggestions of routes to discover the rich natural and cultural heritage of the Southern Ardèche, as well as sports activities and nice gourmet addresses.
Maps, guides and tourist documentation are available and I will be at your disposal to advise you according to your interests, the available time, the season and the weather.
Some ideas for walks, visits and sports activities to make you want to come and discover the wonderful Ardèche!
DISCOVER / BE AMAZED / GET MOVING / RECHARGE
Nearby, less than 10 km / 15 minutes
- Aubenas: the Château des Montlaur, the Saint Benoit Dome and the Maison Délichères in the pedestrian streets, very lively on Saturday morning, open air market day. An artisanal ice cream on the terrace of the Fabrique Givrée on the Place du Château. Tourist Office Place de l'Airette.
- Vals les Bains: the thermal park and its intermittent spring. The thermal baths of the Redwood Sequoia Spa, the opportunity for a relaxing break in the thermal water of the Séquioa Pools, à la carte wellness treatments to recharge your batteries. Homemade ice cream on the terrace of the ice-cream parlor Béatrix. Tourist Office rue Jean Jaurès, in the Maison Champanhet, museum space dedicated to the Ardèche of yesteryear.
- Jaujac: scenic village, its square bordered by majestic plane trees, the medieval district of Chastelas, the basaltic castings along the Lignon. House of the Regional Natural Park Monts d’Ardèche in the Château de Rochemure.
- Pont de Labeaume : Ventadour medieval castle, Niègles Roman church.
Just a little further, less than 20 km / 30 minutes
- Largentière: the pedestrian city center nestled along the Ligne and dominated by its castle. Open air market on Tuesday morning. On the way, visit the scenic villages of Ailhon, Vinezac and Chassiers. Go to Montreal and Tauriers to discover their castles.
- Thueyts: scenic village and its famous Pont du Diable that spans the Ardèche. Basaltic castings of the Echelle du Roi. Nice swimming spot. Or relax at the Neyrac les Bains Spa.
- Antraigues sur Volane: scenic village above Vals les Bains, where the singer Jean Ferrat used to live. « Que la montagne est belle ! ».
The Ardèche "must-haves"
- The Gorges de l’Ardèche National Nature Reserve. Abundant Mediterranean vegetation with a variety of wildlife.
- The natural arch of the Pont d'Arc at the entrance to the gorges. A geological curiosity dating back at least 500,000 years, crossed by the Ardèche river.The spectacular landscapes of the Gorges Touristic Route.
- The canyon with cliffs more than 250 meters high, which invites you to a canoe trip.
- Chauvet Cave 2. The superb replica of the original ornated cave, discovered in 1994 and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The vineyards of the limestone plateaus.
- The Ardèche Mountains located in the heart of the Regional Natural Park Monts d’Ardèche. Discover the wide spaces of altitude. A breath of fresh air in summer.
- The Mont Gerbier de Joncs, where the Loire rises from its source before travelling 1,000 km to its estuary on the Atlantic Ocean.
- On the way, a small detour to the Ray Pic waterfall that runs down the basaltic cliffs.
- The Mont Mézenc, shared with the neighbouring Haute-Loire. Breeding land of Fin Gras du Mézenc Oxen PDO.
- Breathtaking views on a multitude of lesser-known volcanic mountains.
- Many hiking possibilities.
The numerous caves and avens of the Southern Ardèche
- Around the Ardèche Gorges, limestone soils have been conducive to the formation of cavities and spectacular concretions for millions of years.
- A temperate atmosphere all year round for refreshing summer visits. A few steps to be expected…
- Introductions to caving.
- Underground wine tastings.
- The Aven d'Orgnac, classified Grand Site de France. Offers tours of the cave paired with an underground Ardèche wines tasting, at the ideal temperature of a cellar.
- The Grotte Saint Marcel and its cascade of rimstone pools, unique in Europe.
- The Grotte of the Madeleine, in the heart of the Nature Reserve. Its magnificent view of the Gorges and the Cathedral Rock.
- And many more ….
Villages along rivers and some natural curiosities
- Vogüé, scenic village, and its castle. Leaning against the cliffs and the feet in the water of the Ardèche.
- Balazuc, listed as Plus Beaux Villages de France, hanging on the cliff overlooking the Ardèche. Its small streets, stairs and churches. Its beach.
- Labeaume, scenic village on the banks of the Beaume. Its small streets and stairs. Its beach. Its music festival.
- Rochecolombe, a medieval village on the top of the hill. Its crystal clear waterfall, active after heavy Cevennes rainfalls.
- Cirque de Gens from Ruoms or Chauzon.
- The Défilé de Ruoms.
- Views from Sampzon at the entrance to the Gorges.
- Vineyards between Ardèche and Chassezac.
Under the sign of basalt: the Coiron plateau
You will see them from the panoramic terrace and may want to discover them more closely: Mirabel and Saint Laurent sous Coiron, and some other remarkable villages or castles.
- On the way to the Coiron plateau, a short detour to the Château de Boulogne and its magnificent Renaissance gate.
- Saint Laurent sous Coiron, scenic village. Its houses and church in basaltic stones. Its magnificent panorama over the Southern Ardèche, especially at sunset.
- Mirabel. Its tower and the village nestled at the foot of the basaltic cliff.
- Sceautres, a village nestled at the foot from its basaltic neck, a geological curiosity.
- Alba la Romaine, with its two facets: its ancient Gallo-Roman theatre with its museum, its medieval castle with basalt and limestone stones.
Under the sign of sandstone and schist: Villages and Roman churches of the Cévenne Ardéchoise
- Have an overview from the Tour de Brison above Sanilhac before discovering Vernon, its small church, the geological sights of the Sentier des Tétines and the Baumicou waterfall, during a pleasant hike.
- Discover the villages and churches with slate roofs: Saint André Lachamp, Saint Jean de Pourcharesse. Go to Thines to discover a jewel of Roman art.
- Return over the pink sandstone villages of Brès, Faugères and Planzolles. Discover the ripening of Picodons PDO at Fromagerie Peytot.
- Visit the medieval city of Joyeuse and its chestnut museum, Castanea. Open air market on Wednesday mornings.
- The vineyards of the Cévenne Ardéchoise.
Under the sign of limestone: the Gras plateau
- From Saint Thomé, discover Gras, at the foot of the Dent de Rez, then the Roman church of Larnas and the village of Saint Montan.
- Take the opportunity to move and discover the wide expanses of the Gras plateau to the top of the Dent de Rez. 360° panorama.
Moving: Sports activities
The fabulous and multi-faceted nature of the Ardèche is a paradise for lovers of outdoor sports activities.
There’s something for everyone!
- Several circuits will be suggested in the Welcome Booklet, with maps and descriptions to support you, allowing to combine sports activity and discovery of natural sites and remarkable panoramas. Sentier des Tétines and Baumicou waterfall, Gour de la Sompe, Cirque de Gens, Coupe d’Aizac, Vestide du Pal, Dent de Rez, Tanargue mountain, etc.
- The Regional Natural Park Monts d'Ardèche offers numerous circuits on its website and on the very practical "Rando Monts d'Ardèche" App which allows you to select hiking or cycling tours according to the sector, the level of difficulty, the altitude difference.
- The Vins d'Ardèche website suggests several walks through vineyards near Aubenas and Largentière, in the Cévenne Ardéchoise. To combine sport and oenology!
- On the small departmental roads, on the bicycle paths or "off-road" with mountain bike, discover the Ardèche nature and its landscapes. Cycling maps are available with the Welcome Booklet.
- The "Rando Monts d'Ardèche" App offers not only hiking but also cycling tours.
- The Via Ardèche, a bicycle path built on the former railway track, now allows you to connect Saint Sernin near Aubenas to the borders of the Gard, for more than 50km without any difference in altitude, very rare in Ardèche! , thanks to tunnels and viaducts that offer breathtaking panoramas. Along the way you will discover the villages of Vinezac, Vogüé, Balazuc and Labeaume.
If you want to rent e-bikes, here are the recommendations of the Tourist Office