1 - The town centre of Tournon-sur-Rhône and its History
Located at the gates of the South of France, the town of Tournon sur Rhône is at the heart of the Rhône Valley as well as a place of passage for holidaymakers driving to the Mediterranean coast.
Let yourself be carried away by the town’s History and discover the historic centre of Tournon through the Grande Rue, a charming street made of cobblestone. At the southern entrance of the Grande Rue, you can admire the Porte de Mauves, which is the former gateway to the city of Tournon sur Rhône. On the opposite side, in the north, you will discover the church of Saint Julien. It was built in place of a small Romanesque church, of which only the base of the bell tower remains. It is one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic art in Ardèche. Just next door, you can admire the Hôtel du Marquis de la Tourette, a former private mansion. Even if today it belongs to several owners, this was not the case when it was built. Settling in this exceptional location was a way for the owners, the De la Tourette family, to show their high standard of living.
Keep going and you will reach the Place du Quai Farconnet, the animated place of the town. You will find bars and restaurants that are most of the time full during the summer season and that liven up the town of Tournon sur Rhône. In front of the bars and restaurants, a shaded square runs alongside the Rhône. Very often, you can see the locals playing boules (pétanque) or children enjoying the new playground, which was built along the famous ViaRhôna.The latest historical landmark is the Gabriel Faure high school and its chapel, founded in 1536. Formerly kown as the Collège de Tournon, it is one of the oldest school in the provinces. It was later elevated to the status of “Université de philosophie et des sept arts libéraux” (University of Philosophy and of the seven liberal arts)
something very few cities could boast about. Nowadays, it remains one of the oldest high schools in France with its unique building full of history. In the same park as the school you will find the Chapel. It has a Jesuit architecture and a magnificent roof of glazed flat tiles, something pretty rare in our region. As of today, the chapel and school are not open to the public except for the National Heritage Days.
You can now stroll through the streets and monuments to learn more about the History of Tournon sur Rhône. An essential to our top 5 ideas for visits to Tounon-sur-Rhône.
2 – Tournon Castle and Museum
The castle is the emblematic monument of the town of Tournon sur Rhône. Perched on its rock, it is one of the best preserved castles in Ardèche. Classified as a historical monument since 1927, it definitely is a must-see when visiting the town!
In terms of history, it once was inhabited by the Counts of Tournon until the 17th century. The numerous items of property that were found on the site show the wealth of this place. Later on, in the middle of the 17th century, the castle was transformed into a prison and that until 1926.
Today, the castle has become a museum and can be visited in order to discover the History of the Tournon family as well as that of the Rhône. Once inside the castle, get ready to travel back in time! The castle is another must-see during your visit to our beautiful town of Tournon.
3 - The path to the towers (Sentier des Tours)
Take a step up and discover Tournon sur Rhône in a different way. The path to the Towers offers a panoramic view and allows you to admire the old ramparts of the city. This short hike is accessible to most people* and will reveal a magnificent view of Tournon sur Rhône as well as of the Hermitage vineyards. Following this path, you will have access to the two old guard towers that overlook the old medieval city. Opt for this walk of about an hour for the whole family* to observe the town of Tournon sur Rhône from above. A great outing for our top 5 ideas for visits in Tournon sur Rhône.
*Prams are not recommended because of the steps at the beginning and end of the trail.
4: The Garden of Eden: in the top 5 ideas for visits in Tournon-sur-Rhône
As its name suggests, the Garden of Eden is a little corner of paradise located at the heart of the old ramparts of the town. This garden is the former park of the monastery of the Cordeliers brothers, a story that the owners will be happy to share with you. This garden of more than one hectare is made of botanical spaces, fountains and basins, which, for some of them, date back to the Renaissance. It is a true haven of peace in the town. The Garden of Eden is worth a visit! With this garden, discover an authentic place close to nature and far from the noise of cars in the centre of Tournon sur Rhône.
5- The Train de l’Ardèche
Ah ! The famous Train de l'Ardèche! Who has never heard of the Mastrou when coming to Tournon sur Rhône? The railway of this historic train that used to travel between Tournon and Lamastre was built between 1886 and 1890. Because of the winding route, it required numerous engineering structures to hold the railway against the rock face. Inaugurated in 1891, the line weaves through the Doux valley. Since 1969 the line has been reserved for tourist trips only. The Tournon - Lamastre journey allows you to access unique, wild and inaccessible landscapes. It is therefore a must in our top 5 ideas for visits around Tournon sur Rhône.
The line between Tournon and Lamastre departing from Tournon station operated until 2008. The Mastrou was then at a standstill for 5 years but, since 2013, the train is back on the rails at the Tournon-Saint Jean de Muzols station (3 km from Tournon sur Rhône town centre).
Come and discover or rediscover the historic Mastrou for a trip outside of time !
With this top 5 list of visit ideas in Tournon-sur-Rhône, you now hold all the cards!
For a day, a weekend or a stay, Ardèche Hermitage is the destination for your holidays and leisure activities! For more information about your activities, it's here! For accommodation, right over here!(permalink)