The region of the Ardèche is characterized by its nature, such as the Gorges de l'Ardèche with the famous Pont d'Arc at Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, but also the regional nature park of the Monts d'Ardèche. In addition, you will also find a lot of picturesque villages, where you can stroll in and enjoy the Mediterranean climate.
The walking and hiking possibilities in the Ardèche are almost unlimited. There are over 6,000 km of signposted hiking trails that are maintained by numerous associations and municipalities. There are hiking trails for every level of family walks to long-distance walks such as the Grote Routepaden - "Les Sentiers de Grande Randonnées" or in short GR © with the familiar red-white markings. The GRs that cross the Ardeche are the GR4, GR 4 F, GR 44, GR 44 A, GR 7, GR 42, GR 427, GR 420, GR 420 A, GR 421, GR 3 and E.4. On the website Grote Routepaden in France (Dutch language) you can find a lot of information about these great route paths. The 'GR de Pays' are loop-shaped multi-day hikes that are marked by yellow-red markings and are usually between 60 and 250 km. In the department of Ardèche, three circuits were set out: Le tour du Tanargue, Le tour du Bassin d'Annonay, Le Cévenol. In addition, 4,500 kilometers of day hikes have been set out by official bodies such as municipalities that are marked with a yellow-white marking. You can go to the local tourist offices 'Office de Tourisme' for detailed route descriptions and maps.
Places of interest.
If you say Ardèche, then you say canoeing and kayaking. The rugged river has something in store for young and old in this area. From Easter to the end of May the challenge is greatest because the water level of the river is very high. In the summer months, the river flows less quickly, but the adventure is never far away. The summer months are therefore suitable for a family canoe trip to experience. On the many natural beaches you can pick-nick or sunbathe. We recommend for families the descent by canoe from Balazuc to Isla Cool Douce in Chauzon. Isla Cool Douce is a day recreation park with a beautiful natural sandy beach where you can swim, eat and drink something.
Vallon Pont d'Arc is probably the most famous, but also the most visited, village in the surroundings of the Gorges de l'Ardèche. Every Thursday morning there is the local market with local products and in the shopping streets there is always a lively crowd. Cozy terasses and restaurants are available in all scents and colors. The old part of the village is historically very interesting and also much less crowded. In Pont Vallon d'Arc you can also visit the permanent exhibition about the cave Chauvet (paying.) The cave itself is not open to the public to protect the famous wall paintings. The cave was not discovered until 1994 by three speologists Chauvet, Brunel and Hillaire. The exhibition is set up in 4 rooms with a different aspect of the cave in each room. The 450 murals and engravings of animals such as bison, horses, bears and panthers date from 30,000 BC. The visit ends with a film screening about the murals and how the Cro Magnon man used to live in the Ardèche.
At 2 kilometers from Vallon pont d'Arc you will find the famous Pont d'Arc a natural bridge over the river with a height of 34m and 59m wide. This is probably one of the most photographed places in the Ardèche. You should try to figure out the legend of the bridge. It has something to do with a beautiful lady and the devil!
Well worth a visit is the pretty village of La Beaume that is built against the rocks on the banks of the Chassezac. The bell tower of the church is not really what you would expect.