— Ardèche —
Although Ardèche is quite famous under the Dutch vacationers, I never heard of this region in the South of France before. I was so happy that I got to visit this area and now I get to recommend this place to others who never heard of it, because it’s really that beautiful!
Let’s say, if you are looking for beautiful nature you won’t get bored here with activities like hiking, biking, canoeing, flying etc.
I would say that by car is the best way to explore the area, to visit village after village. A few of the most beautiful villages of France are in this area!
Here is my list of recommendations when you decide to go.
Take the chance to live in a fairytale castle. Take a look at my hotel review in a separate article –> here.
2. Gorges de l’Ardèche
A must see in Ardèche is the Gorges de l’Ardèche, also locally known as the “European Grand Canyon”. Pictures doesn’t do this place any justice. It’s really immense and it’s such a marvelous sight! It’s made up of a series of gorges in the river.
We went by car. It’s really easily park at the viewpoints to stop for photos or a lunch and hop to another one.
3. Pont d’arc
The icon of Ardèche. It’s quite busy here on beautiful summer days. We found a scenic spot to have picnic. What you really should do is canoeing! We didn’t have the time for it this time, but it looked like a really fun activity to do with a stunning scenery.
4. Lavender fields
The lavender fields were actually the reason why I wanted to visit region. There is even a Lavender museum between the fields. We were a little too late though at the third week of July. Best to visit a few weeks earlier. To be honest, the fields were nice, but I expected endless fields like in the Provence, these were just a few.
Address: Route des Gorges – D 490, 07700 Saint-Remèze
5. Caverne du pont d’arc
This impressive cave is famous for their replica of the world’s oldest currently know painting and engravings reproduced (36.000 years ago) from the Chauvet Cave, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although I haven’t seen the original one (closed for public) you just know they did an amazing job to copy the other one, including the smell and temperature. Plan your visit beforehand to get a tour to get to know the background story with all the artwork. I was blown away by this!
tip: book your ticket online beforehand
address: Plateau du Razal, 07150 Vallon-Pont-d’Arc
6. La Beaume
A lovely village with lots of (Instagrammable) photospots, when you get lost in the alleys of La Beaume. There is a trail of 15 minutes that brings you to a very nice viewpoint on top of a hill overlooking La Beaume. Later we went back to this place to have a nice dinner at Le Bistrot de Pays Le Bec Figué.
There are many lovely villages to visit in Ardèche. In fact, a few of those villages are known as the most beautiful villages of France. The ones that I briefly visited were Balazuc en very briefly Vögue. All different and nice to wander around and have a lunch or dinner.
8. Aubenas market
Every Saturday there is a market in the center of Aubenas to stroll around. I bought this hand woven basket and ate some croissants and olives. I loved the French atmosfeer here.
Flying in a ULM is something that I did not imagine I would do. I said yes to this, without me knowing what I was getting into. ULM stands for Ultra Light Motor. Not gonna lie, I was super scared to go on board (but then again I am also scared to fly with a regular plane).
I must have screamed “OMG” a hundred times during the 15 minutes flight, with the adrenaline rushing through my body it was by far the most exciting thing that I have done. And it was a unique view to see Ardèche from above. If you have the chance to do it, I would totally recommend this!!
It’s a family company where the couple and their two sons fly on a daily basis. They really make you feel at ease in the air and if you want you can buy the dvd where they take these photos and videos for you with an action cam.
tip: bring a jacket with you, because it’s windy up there. Also, you can only bring your camera with you if it has a strap for around your neck.
address: Basse Hironde, 07110 Vinezac
A few days was obviously not enough to experience the whole area. There are a few things that I still want to see and do the next time, like going to the waterfall, visiting a cave and canoeing.
Special thanks to the France tourism board (Ardèche) for having me!