Green Ardeche is also referred to as Northern Ardeche

The territory begins on the banks of the mighty Rhône, most powerful river in France, and extends towards the foothills of the Ardeche Mountains, including the peaks of Grand Felletin and Mont Chiniac, as well as the Chirouze volcano. 

A number of valleys – large and small – slice through the landscape, offering an invitation to explore more deeply.   The Cance valley where paper was produced in the 19th century.  The Doux valley with its legendary Mastrou steam train.  And the valleys of the Eyrieux and the Payre for gentle ambling and rambling.   Thanks to shady paths and a network of PR and GR walking trails, you can quickly reach the mountain slopes to enjoy the cooler air, perhaps visiting the spiritual destination of Lalouvesc or maybe exploring the Vernoux plateau. In fine weather, you can even see Mont Blanc. 

©M.Dupont-ADT07-CD07

Did you know?

The town of Privas – renowned for its chestnut industry – is one of the smallest administrative centres in France. It is also home to the Faugier company which celebrated its 140th anniversary as a producer of chestnut puree in 2022.

An area of superlatives

A number of famous inventors have come from the area around Annonay.  Marc Seguin, inventor of the suspension bridge and the tubular boiler, then used for steam trains.  The Canson family and the Montgolfier Brothers, papermakers and inventors of the hot air balloon. Today, visitors can still find all these activities in Ardèche.

Look out for the extensive orchards producing peaches, cherries, and apricots of the highest quality, as well as world-famous vineyards like St Joseph, Cornas, Hermitage, and St Peray which organise a variety of activities linking wine to gastronomy, cycling, walking and even chocolate.  
One of the department’s most popular tourist attractions is Peaugres Safari, home to more than 1000 animals.

Cycle all over

Four linked Green Ways and several electric bike loops enable visitors to explore the area safely on two wheels.  Try Via Fluvia between Serrieres and Annonay, ViaRhôna between Serrieres and Bourg St Andeol, the Dolce Via between la Voulte and St Agreve, and the Payre between Le Pouzin and Privas. 

Village with outstanding character of Chalencon in autumn with electrically assisted bicycles
©Le_Caillou_aux_hiboux-ADT07

The Viewpoints cycle route

An unforgettable cycle experience for four days between the three character villages of Boucieu le Roi, Desaignes and Chalencon.

The Viewpoints Route itinerary 

What days does the Ardeche train run?

The Ardeche train operates between March and November and has a carriage especially for cycles.  Don’t forget to book.  But if the hours don’t suit you, you can also explore the valley by vélo-rail or rail bike, a pedal-powered open-air wagon on a disused railway line. 

Why is Lalouvesc referred to as an important place of pilgrimage?

The village has been welcoming pilgrims since the 17th century but became a place of sanctuary after the canonisation in 1737of Saint Francis Régis for his work with women and orphans who were at riskThe basilica is now the last resting place of two saints, following the addition of the body of Sainte Thérèse Couderc in 2018, a former nun recognised for her spiritual writings.

What is the difference between a marron and a chataigne?

The main difference is inside the protective case.   A single fruit is called a marron, whilst multiple fruits are called chestnutsThe outer case is thick, green and covered in spikes, but the fruits look very differentChestnuts are smaller than marrons and tend to be triangular and slightly flattened, whilst marrons are roundTrue marrons, originally from India, can be toxic and should never be eaten.   The term ‘marron’ is still used in culinary vocabulary but in fact, they are all chestnuts.  

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