The Monts d’Ardeche Geopark sites UNESCO

The Regional Nature Park of the Monts d’Ardeche – raising awareness and preserving heritage and culture

The aim of the Monts d’Ardeche nature park – a perfect destination for country holidays that is renowned for its chestnut farming – is to share its strong natural identity and also help visitors discover this beautiful protected area.  Volcanic geology, rural architecture and the ruins of great medieval fortresses are spread over 152 individual communities between the departments of Ardeche and Haute-Loire. 

The Regional Nature Park of the Monts d’Ardeche was created in the 1990s thanks to the chestnut farmers who saw through this emblematic fruit a real opportunity to promote the area and the people who live there.  Today the Park’s visitor centre in Jaujac welcomes visitors throughout the year with exhibitions and a full programme of events. 

A remarkable geological heritage classified as internationally important by UNESCO 

The park is made up of ‘geosites’, a term used to identify places that merit promotion because of their scientific or aesthetic qualities, their educational value or rarity.  Most of them are freely accessible by the public and are managed in such a way as to encourage visitors.  For example, the Park’s volcanic craters and domes, granite cliffs and seams of clay which still hold the remains of dinosaurs.  Each geosite takes you whirling back through time.  And some 50 volcanoes, extinct for centuries, make for a very distinctive landscape.

Biotreasures – discover by yourself or with a guide 

Set off on the trail of nature’s secrets. The rustle of a lizard as it runs from your approach, the piercing cry of an eagle as it wheels overhead or a marmot peeping out from the rocks.  Keep your ears and eyes open.  Whether you head out independently or with a guide, biodiversity fans will be overwhelmed by the natural treasures of the area.   The only thing you need to discover the unspoilt nature here is time.  Look out for the nature events under the Biotresor programme. 

©A.Renaud-Goud-ADT07

Did you know?

Among the 61 amazing geosites in the Monts d’Ardeche Regional Nature Park, you can see some of the oldest dinosaur remains in the world. 

The Watershed Line, an open air collection of artworks

You probably would not expect to find large pieces of art as you walk through the Ardeche mountains, so prepare to be surprised by an artists’ trail that stretches for 100km.  On one side lies the Atlantic, on the other, the Mediterranean, and between the two, the watershed line crosses the Ardeche from east to west.  This invisible line has inspired the Watershed, an outdoor gallery featuring works by nine artists, one designer, and three landscape artists. 

With a unique geological story to tell and a history going back 550 million years, this is a very special place. As you follow the trail, the history of the earth is laid out before you.  Men have dug the ground to shape the relief, playing their own part in creating this exceptional landscape that began hundreds of millions of years before they arrived.  So don’t miss the chance to discover the marvels of the Regional Nature Park of the Monts d’Ardeche.  

Griffon vulture
©A.Renaud-Goud-ADT07

Eagles and vultures return

Many species of raptor disappeared during the 1970s, but several of them are again flying above ArdecheAnd to boost their return, the Park is taking positive action to safeguard majestic birds such as the Royal Eagle and Wild Vulture.

Prepare and book my stay around the Geoparc

Can you go swimming in the Monts d’Ardeche Nature Park?

There are several swimming zones in the Park with lifeguards, such as the lakes at Coucouron, Issarles, and Saint Martial.  

 

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