Sidonie has tested the holidays by bike: Steam Train of Ardeche, Dolce Via with her family.

Going on a bike holiday, our little family challenge of last summer, a beautiful adventure that just made us want to travel more often with our bicycles. Bike, tourist train and cycling path, a nice handset, ideal for families and those who like to ride easy!

Train de l'Ardèche / Dolce Via / ViaRhône Loop

Travel on board of the Mastrou, the steam train, bicycles in special compartment, to reach the departure of the Dolce Via (cycling path) : this is the beautiful idea of the Train de l’Ardèche. Go up and down the Gorges du Doux, a natural and sensitive area, on steam rhythm. Enjoy the incredible landscapes without effort thanks to the train crossing 28km and climbing 236 m in height.           

At the Lamastre train station, it’s time to take back your bicycle and follow the Dolce Via. This cycling path of 90 km, secured and equipped, link the “Vallée du Doux” to the “Vallée de l’Eyrieux”. This path follow the old railway. This trip brings you from Lamastre to Le Cheylard in 20km thanks to a soft way . The highest point is at “Les Nonières”. After this, you allow to freewheel down.

 From the “Cheylard“ to “La Voulte sur Rhône”, you follow the amazing “Vallée de l’Eyrieux”, a ride down, perfect for family or contemplatives person who prefer admire the landscape than pedal.

Finally, your way between “La Voulte” and “Tournon” sur Rhône ends by following the ViaRhôna, cycling path from Le Léman to the Mediterranean Sea. You have to make a difficult choice at “Guilherand Granges” : cross the Rhône river in order to follow the ViaRhôna or follow the right bank of the Rhône thank to the new cycling path : la Voie bleue (110km). Dare your holidays on bicycle !

Dolce Via - voie verte

Our Bicycling Stay : Our Feedback

ViaRhôna, Dolce Via, Vallée de l’Isère, Voie bleue :  since a long time these paths for our clients ring a bell for me. We like to do bicycle in family and the ViaRhôna, only at few kilometres away from our house, is one of our favourite playground. It doesn’t take a lot of time to convince my family to go by bicycle during the holydays. Our destination : the Dolce Via. We decide to do a 3 days loop, by combining the Train de l’Ardèche, the Dolce Via and the ViaRhôna.  We are 3 to go : 2 adultS and my step-daughter of 7 years old.

Day 1 : Tournon sur Rhône – Saint Julien Labrousse – 30 Kilometers

Departure from our house, by bicycle, full of motivation ! Cycling short for everybody because we are going to spend few hours on the bicycle. We take the direction of the railway station of the Train de l’Ardèche, under a beautiful sun : it’s the beginning of the holidays !

When we arrive at the train station, we put the bicycles on board and we take our sit in coach number 7. Our sweetheart, Alice, is completely amazed : she discovers the famous Mastrou for the first time. 1h40 of ride, into the heart of the Vallée du Doux. Me too, I always enjoy this trip.

In Lamastre, we take our bike back and after a quick stop to the bakery for the picnic, we are ready to go. We ride few kilometres before the lunch break. What a pleasure to see special layout : picnic table, dustbin and bikepark.

We start again, we are always motivated but the weather isn’t ! We are under the storm. Hopefully, the old train stop are still there and we can shelter. We keep smiling because this is a part of bicycle holydays. After the rain, we cross 20 km before arriving at La Bergerie de Laulagner, our nice stop for the night. Alice’s smile is gone with the sun and the little ascension doesn’t help. We arrive at Les Nonières and the sun comes back. We cross the tunnel and it’s a nice freewheel to go down  : Alice takes the leadership ! We finally arrive at our charming bed and breakfast, located at St Julien Labrousse, on the Dolce via. We enjoy the swimming pool to relax our legs and, of course, the calm situation of this little piece of heaven next to the river.

 Train de l'Ardèche et Vélo

Day 2 : Saint Julien Labrousse – Saint Fortunat sur Eyrieux -  30 Kilometers

After a good night and a wonderful breakfast, we ride again. The weather is not the best but it does not rain. During this day, less effort, we enjoy the freewheel to go down. What a pleasure! A little rain arrives during lunchtime but it doesn’t matter because we stop in a little restaurant. We are now at Saint Sauveur de Montagut, Headquarter of Terre Adélice, an ice-cream maker. So, one kilometre away, we stop to take the dessert. The sun comes back and we follow the road until  Saint Fortunat sur Eyrieux to reach  le Domaine des Buis, our second B&B. Perfectly located (500m from the Dolce Via), this B&B offers some really nice services like a salt swimming pool, fully enjoy by Alice. Riding or swiming : nothing stops her! She impress us a lot during those 3 days.

 vélo-route voie verte - vallée de l'Eyrieux.

Day 3 : Saint Fortunat sur Eyrieux – Tournon sur Rhône – 50 kilometers

Last day of our trip and it’s the longest : 50 kilometres are waiting for us. We choose to stay 2 night in the Vallée de L’Eyrieux in order to be in a different environment than the Vallée du Rhône. We rapidly arrive at La Voulte sur Rhône and the ViaRhôna. The Rhône river is our link until home. We meet some cyclist, all of them are full of admiration in front of Alice, so proud of telling our journey. She tells to everybody that she rides 110 kilometres without being trained. We enjoy being a tourist on a well know path.

We arrive at Glun, 7 kilometres away from our house. Kilometres seem to be longer, we start to feel the pain of staying several hour on the bike. We arrive at our final destination, so surprise of our new tan look. Finally, these holidays on bike leaves some traces!

Vacances à Vélo

Useful information 

For your next bicycle holyday, you can find, for free, the map of the ViaRhôna, the Dolce Via and the cycling guide in Ardèche. In addition, you can check our web site for all kind information: restaurant, b&b, etc…

Contact the professional:

  • Ardèche Hermitage Tourisme – mail :  Tel : +33(04) 75 08 10 23
  •  Pays de Lamastre – mail : Tel : +33(0) 4 75 06 48 99
  • Ardèche Buisonnière – mail : Tel : +33(0)
  • Rhône Crussol – mail : Tel : +33(0) 4 75 40 46 75

For the cycling lovers, the Vallée de l’Isère and the Voie Bleue are other possibilities, easy to reach from the ViaRhôna and perfect for a family trip. For the sportsman, you can go on the most famous cycling ride of the department : l’Ardéchoise.

See you soon for your bicycle holliday in Ardèche Hermitage !