A department popular with nature lovers, thanks in particular to its superb gorges, the Ardèche does not contain large towns but a myriad of small villages with origins spread over history. A land of adventure, peaceful and generous where it is good to get lost…
We start our journey in Ardèche with heavy! Balazuc whose beauty has allowed it to be classified among the Most Beautiful Villages of France, known for its picturesque location, its rich history, its castle and its sarcophagus. Even if the one that can be seen on the spot is in fact a copy of the real one. On the side of the cliff, Balazuc still imposes quite a lot. An essential step in the Gorges de l’Ardèche.
Also classified, Vogüé is not only distinguished by its umlaut but by its privileged position, between the rock walls and the river. A remarkable village for its castle in particular, which dates all the same from the 12th century, or its beautiful viaduct. A wonder !
3. Saint Montan
Welcome to the Middle Ages! In Saint-Montan where the story is told as you stroll through the cobbled streets, in the shadow of the remains of the castle perched on its rocky point. Here too there is plenty to do! Going back in time, for example, has never been so easy.
At the foot of the Cévennes, overlooking a beautiful limestone plain rich in 27 dolmens, Banne also boasts serious advantages in the face of which it seems difficult to remain indifferent. And then here too there are beautiful ruins. Those of a castle in this case. The nerve center of the medieval village nestled in nature.
Just to see the Pont d’Arc, this magnificent rock formation spanning the Ardèche river and offering a superb link between the villages of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc and Labastide-de-Virac, it’s worth the detour. In Vallon where tourists rush every year to taste the hospitality of the inhabitants, but also to go down the gorges of the Ardèche or, more peacefully, to walk in the village. A place also famous for its caves with rock paintings. And if the Chauvet cave is, like that of Lascaux, closed to the public, the municipality still offers a beautiful reconstruction.
Less than 700 inhabitants live year-round in this superb Ardèche village. An enchanting architecture, in line with the generous surrounding nature, old stones with fascinating memories and a music festival that brings together tourists and locals every summer. What more ? A pretty pierced bridge? It’s good, sold, it’s there!
Here too the trees and nature play an essential role: that of providing shade but also of injecting a little green into a moving picture where the color of the stones dominates. Boucieu, this small royal city on which King Philippe-le-Bel set his sights is as picturesque as it is relaxing.
One of the characteristics of Ailhon is its position in a forest of maritime pines. A historic village conducive to great adventures, with a friendly atmosphere and therefore a certain charm. A great opportunity to also discover the faÿsses, i.e. terraces formerly exploited for crops. One of the most surprising elements of Ardèche heritage.
Ruins from the 11th century, a spectacular church in the Romanesque style from the 12th century… All within a decorum that is as charming as it is encouraging discovery and relaxation. Because that’s also Saint-Laurent-sous-Coiron: an art of living!
When you intend to visit the Gorges de l’Ardèche, you have to go through Ruoms. If only to ride along the parades, this road largely carved into the cliff, with a unique point of view. Perfect before stepping into the village itself. A superb medieval town which is also rather lively. It is also said that it was here that the limestone used to build the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York was extracted. An amusing story with no real basis. The base being officially the only part of the statue precisely made in the United States, with granite from Connecticut.