The naturals sites of Ardèche
The arrival of the warm weather invites you to explore the natural sites. Outdoors or underground, enjoy yourself!
The Gorges of Ardèche with the emblematic Pont d’Arc
A stone arch naturally made by the Ardèche River, overhang the waterway. Nearby you will find paying parking lot allowing you to park (otherwise, in season, a shuttle from Vallon Pont d’Arc is available). The time to admire the view from the panoramic viewpoint, or the time for a day for a total immersion, the nature reserve of Gorges de l’Ardèche. For sports fan, the canoe trip down the Ardèche River is unmissable, as are the marked trails in the reserve! To spend the night in Gorge de l’Ardèche, two bivouac are open during the season.
Grand Site de France de l’Aven D’Orgnac
An exceptional tour is waiting for you … underground! Discovered in 1936 by Robert de Joly, the site has long been open to the public, for your greatest pleasure! On site, you are going down on 121m depth! The visit, guided by one of the member of the amazing l’Aven Orgnac team, will take you over 700 steps to the last room where a sound and light show will end the visit. You will never again confuse stalactite and stalagmite, and you will know that, underground, “the piles of crêpe” cannot be eaten! After all this effort, a lift will take you back to the surface! The Cité de la Préhistoire completes this not-to-be-missed trip in the Ardèche.
The Bois de Païolive
A Mediterranean atmosphere, a legendary forest, a bestiary of animals petrified in stone… During this walk in Ardèche, you will come across a bear and a lion or a giant tortoise. Incredible but true, your imagination will love them. Nearby, the Chazezac river, offers you a break and canoeing trip are possible as well as the discovery of the surrounding villages.
Natural lake filling the former crater of a volcano. It is the deepest lake of France with its 138m! Bordered by numerous shops and restaurants as well as the municipal campsite, it is a real place of pleasure. Accessible all year with a supervised swimming area in summer and a paddleboat hire, you are sure to have fun. The tour of the lake is 4 km long: discover it and stop off at the troglodytic dwelling of the former fisheries warden, built into the volcanic tufa.
Le Mont Gerbier des Joncs
One of the natural must-see of Ardèche. Second summit of the department thanks to its 1551m high, a 360° amazing view (ascent on foot, duration about 1 hour, walking shoes required). The site offers small boutique of local producers as well as a farm restaurant and souvenir shop where you can also quench your thirst thanks to the source of the longest river in France: the Loire.
Ardèche, it is several hundred marked paths and numerous cycle tracks. The Via Rhôna, the Dolce Via or also the Via Ardèche make you discover the region to the rhythm of your pedal strokes. In Ardèche Hermitage, think about using the rando-ardeche-hermitage app and enjoy nature sport outings!
Be amazed with the must-see sites of Ardèche
Travel from the north to south of Ardèche and discover all activities that will make Ardèche your most memorable vacation!
The Train of Ardèche and the Velorail
To relive the Ardèche railway epic of the 19th century, there is nothing like the Ardèche train and the vélorail! This railway going through Gorges du Doux offers unmissable adventures of Ardèche! Start from touristic train station of Tournon St Jean, get on board in an historic steam train: the Mastrou. Depart at 10:15am, it is driving you to Lamastre where you will have few hours to eat and visit. At 3:15pm, get back on board for the return to Tournon. Otherwise, the half-day variant is called the Train des Gorges, from Tournon St Jean to Colombier le Vieux. On the same railway, a different activity is possible: meet the funny red pedal beetles! Welcome to the Velorail, from Boucieu le Roi. Four rides (from 8km to 20km) to discover. The descent is by calf power, but on the way back you take a seat in a diesel railcar. You will have plenty of time to admire the wild landscapes of the valley, which is only accessible by rail!
Archeological site of Alba la Romaine
More recent in the human history, after prehistory, go back in time with the incredible archaeological site of Alba la Romaine. Free access all year, pace up and down the ancient roman city of Alba. To complete your outgoing, visit the Muséal museum to broaden your perspective. During the season, numerous events are offered, not forgetting the fabulous Alba street art festival at the beginning of the summer. Above the ancient city, the medieval village is waiting for you as does the hamlet of La Roche.
The Grotte Chauvet
36000 years ago, men have turned a cave into a sanctuary. Discovered only in 1994 by a spelunker team headed by Jean Marie Chauvet, it was a real surprise! Inside the original cave, in the cirque of Estre, next to Pont d’Arc, numerous cave painting cover the walls. Closed to the public for conservation reasons, a copy in Vallon Pont d’Arc, was created in 2015. This site is today a must-see activity of Ardèche! An immersive travel is waiting for you at Chauvet Cave 2. Open all year, this is the occasion to delve into the origins of representative cave art. Lions, horses and other animals are exposed with the greatest realism. The guided visit allows you to know its secrets and to extend the experience, the aurignacian gallery, a small museography space, will transport you to prehistory with its life-size reconstructions.
Tournon sur Rhône castle
As we move forward in time, you can discover many mediaeval castles like the one from Tournon sur Rhône. The castle-museum of Tournon dive you into Tournon’s family history as well as its numerous links with France history. The second floor takes you on a journey to conquer the Rhône and the great inventors of Ardèche. The must-see of the visit is for sure the amazing balcony offering you a view on Tain, Tournon, the Rhône, the Vercors and the Diois on the horizon. Open during the season, 7 days a week, guided visits and animations.
In a total different universe, come and discover the animal park of Peaugres. A must-see place for families in Ardèche! Located near Annonay, they welcome you all year long. On foot or by car, different tour are waiting for you. You will learn all about wildlife and be able to observe majestic creatures. For passionate, it is also possible to spend the night in the park, accommodations are available.
Stroll through our villages with outstanding character
At the north of the department Ardèche region, make a hook to the village of Boucieu le Roi . This village is classified as “Villages with outstanding character” was the center of power in the Middle Ages. Charming village with its old strong square on the heights, it is up to you to unveil the history of its village with a thousand secrets. To help you, a treasure hunt is available all year long (on paper or on the Baludik application). You can also take a bike tour of Vélorail at the bottom of the village. The surrounding area offers beautiful walks along the Doux river for example or on the Pierre Vigne path.
Discover other unmissable villages of Ardèche, like the village of Mirabel with its beautiful viewpoint, Voguë with its castle, Balazuc with its museum, and many other villages as beautiful as each other: Labeaume, Lagorce, Saint Montant, Thueyts, Desaignes, Saint Laurent sous Coiron…
For vacations, a weekend or the day, there is always a good reason to come in Ardèche. Need an advice? Our team of destination experts is here for you! We are waiting for you!