Manon tried the Train des Gorges du Doux

Get on board with Manon and her partner for a trip outside of time on the Train de Gorges, at the heart of the Doux Valley. Discover along the trip unique landscapes only visible from the Train de l’Ardèche. Let’s go on a journey where time disappear.

The Train de l’Ardèche

Ah! The famous Train de l’Ardèche most commonly named Mastrou! An historical train that runs at the heart of the Doux valley since 1891: 28 kilometers of meter gauge railway connecting Tournon to Lamastre, in a wild natural scenery listed as “Sensitive natural zone”. Take an extraordinary step back in time following the steam rhythm thanks to several routes among which the Train des Gorges and the famous Mastrou.

 

The Doux Valley

This valley listed as “Sensitive natural zone” is full of wonderful landscapes. The Doux valley is accessible and visible from the Train de l’Ardèche. However, you can also access it by car around villages such as Boucieu le Roi. The Doux Valley will reveal itself and its exceptional diversity along the trip. 

Les gorges du doux
Les Gorges du Doux ©JuanS83

Come along with me on a trip on the Train des Gorges !

Gare Train de l'Ardèche Tournon/ Saint Jean
©A Piron

With the return of the nice weather, half-day train trips are organized. My partner and I choose to discover the Train des Gorges. Two departure times exist: 10AM and 3PM. Let’s go for the afternoon ! We book on their website, very handy!

We arrive at the railway station (in Tournon Saint Jean) at 2:30PM. It is essential to be at the station at least 30 minutes before the departure. We present our tickets and we move on to the platform to choose our carriage. We choose to sit on the left side when we come in from the front of the carriage (if you enter in the back, put yourself on the right). On the left side we will have a direct view on the Doux Valley without having to change sits during the trip.

It is 3 o’clock, we hear the whistle blow in the station !  It is the sign of an imminent departure. We are so happy and excited to discover the Doux valley on the train for the very first time!

At the beginning of the trip, landscapes are familiar, since we regularly see them from the road. However, from the steam train the viewpoint is not the same, we look at the nature in another way. The more we get in the valley, the more we discover a unique and savage panorama. We are amazed by the valley. Below us, the Doux River weave among the rocks carved by the water. As a keen photographer, I take as many pictures as possible so that I do not miss anything of this beautiful landscape. With my partner, we did not expect such diversified landscapes. Even if we live in the region since our childhood!

Come and live this experience on board of the Train des Gorges to understand my feelings in front of the discovery of the Doux Valley !

Les Gorges du Doux

 

We continue the trip following the rhythm of the steam locomotive. When the train passes in Clauzel, the couple living in a charming little house gets out to make us hand signs, like a little ritual for them. Of course we give them back their greetings with joy. “Like a scene from an old movie”.

The trip really cuts us out of the outside world. We stay amazed all along until the arrival at the station of Colombier le Vieux – Saint Bartélémy le Plain. Everybody gets out of the train, and we head towards the turnaround platform for the locomotive. And here come the most expected moment: the turnaround of the locomotive, and that only by human strength! It’s an impressive show, I take a lot of pictures!

We get back to our seats; meanwhile the locomotive is hooked up back to the carriage. We tried to take pictures as if we were in an old movie, but I’m not so sure about the results!

 

And there it is… it’s already time for the return trip. I decide to keep my camera in its bag to enjoy the moment. We take the same railroad, but we discover new sceneries once again.

 

After an hour and a half-long trip, we reach the terminus at the Tournon Saint Jean station. We leave the place with plenty of nice images in our head, as well as in the memory card of my camera!

I will come back with great pleasure on the Train des Gorges, and why not try a full day trip with the Mastrou next time?

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Practical informations

The station of Tournon Saint Jean is located 5 kilometers away from the city center. Take the direction of Lamastre and follow the sign “Train de l’Ardèche”. The railway address is “Route du Grand Pont, Saint Jean de Muzols 07300”.

It is strongly advised to book on the website: (lien) or by phone at the 04 75 06 07 00.

On the day of your trip on the Train des Gorges or in the Mastrou, it is advised to get at the station at least 30 minutes before the departure.