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Panoramic view of the Ardèche Gorges

- © MikeDotta / Shutterstock
Ardèche
Ardèche

The wonders of wilderness travel

Ardèche in short

Throughout the year, hot-air ballooning, music, circus and puppet festivals enliven the life of this wilderness department. Famous sports races and night-time sporting events bring the people of the Ardèche together in an atmosphere all their own! Culinary gatherings are also part of the busy schedule between the most popular tourist seasons. Discover the Ardèche, a French nugget that continues to prove its worth to new visitors every year!

The Pont d'Arc, Mont Gerbier de Jonc, the Ray-Pic waterfall, the not-to-be-missed Grotte Chauvet, the Païolive wood and the Orgnac site all bear witness to the natural wealth of the Ardèche. Over the millennia, the river has carved out sumptuous landscapes, offering visitors the unique panorama of the Ardèche Gorges Nature Reserve. Mountainous hills, sensational rivers, endless green spaces and surprising underground passages combine in these majestic lands.

Viviers in the Ardèche

- © Bob Pool / Shutterstock

Balazuc, Labeaume, Vogüé, Ruoms, Saint Remèze, etc. are exceptional villages, perched on cliffs or hidden away in the heart of nature. These picturesque villages, with their cobbled streets, flower-filled balconies and quaint little addresses, are a must for any stay in the Ardèche. As a result of its strong medieval past, the department is home to many buildings whose unique architecture surprises, seduces and amazes. Usually associated with Brittany, dolmens are actually even more common in the Ardèche! There are around 900 stone treasures to be discovered in all four corners of this land of rock.

Canoeing down the Ardèche Gorges

- © Fly_and_Dive / Shutterstock

Canoeing down the Gorges, canyoning through the rapids, paddle-boarding or punt-boating are all great ways to discover the joys of water-based activities in the Ardèche. While summer temperatures are no obstacle, in winter the pleasures of the snow take the place of swimming. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing and tobogganing are at the heart of winter activities. All year round, hiking, via ferrata, cultural and heritage explorations delight visitors who have come to discover the jewels of the Ardèche.

Chestnuts, a speciality of the Ardèche

- © Yoann MORIN / Shutterstock

With a land of excellence and a thousand and one flavours abounding in both sweet and savoury specialities, the Ardèche is an epicurean land of choice. Picodon, chestnuts, appellation wines, caillette and Joyeuse macaroons are just some of the delicacies on offer. Prepared by the expert hands of local families who have handed down their recipes for generations, their know-how is undeniable. Hundreds of multi-skilled craftspeople open their workshops to the public throughout the department. Glassmakers, painters, ceramists, cabinetmakers and leatherworkers are all to be found on the pavements of the Ardèche.

Saint-Marcel d'Ardèche cellars

- © jorrisg / Shutterstock

Whether you're looking for a relaxing weekend, a sporting break, a family holiday or a gourmet getaway, the Ardèche is the place to be. In the west of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, this department, where nature and authenticity reign supreme, continues to win the hearts of its new visitors. With its rich heritage, culture, traditions and local know-how, this surprising area of France has yet to reveal all its wonders. Unique and surprising adventures punctuate the stay of visitors and the daily lives of locals.

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How to get there?

With its excellent road network, the Ardèche is easily reached by car from other parts of France and neighbouring countries. You can also reach the larger towns, such as Aubenas and Pierrelatte, by train. For tourists from further afield, you can also fly to Valence airport.

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Where to stay?

Renting a pretty Ardèche house or lounging in a hotel are among the best accommodation options in the Ardèche. In the Villages de Caractère, the charm of the stone houses and the unique village atmosphere are sure to attract tourists. There are plenty of alternatives, to suit all tastes, at fairly affordable prices, especially in low season.

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Practical information

👉 Visitor pass

For 3 days, 6 days or 1 year, the Ardèche Pass gives visitors access to the Ardèche department's biggest attractions at a reduced price. This card gives free access to almost 40 sites for the duration of the chosen period. Entry to museums, châteaux, caves, tourist trains and animal parks is included in the pass. For certain sites, such as the Peaugres safari or Montgolfières & cie, discounts apply thanks to the Ardèche Pass. Prices are €44 for 3 days, €54 for 6 days or €79 for an annual pass. Available at partner tourist sites, the pass can also be booked online and collected on site.

For more information on the Ardèche Pass, visit the website

🚌 Public transport

In the heart of this mountainous region, the road network is highly developed, making it easy to get around by car or bus. Set up by the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, a network of around twenty bus routes serves the department's biggest towns and most touristy villages.

👉 For more information on the public transport network

👉 Essential documents

French citizens and foreigners alike must carry identification with them when they travel. A national identity card, passport or driving licence may be essential to enter certain places and sometimes useful to benefit from special fares.

Tourist tax:

For tourists staying in Ardèche establishments, a tourist tax must be added to the price of the night's stay. Ranging from €0.2 for campsites to €4 for palaces, the rate varies according to the type of accommodation. This additional cost imposed by the Government is multiplied according to the number of nights and the number of people. Depending on the establishment, the tax is included in the initial rate or must be added by payment at the end of the stay.

👉 Ideal period:

To make the most of all the outdoor activities on offer in the Ardèche, the ideal time to visit is between spring and early autumn. From May to September, there's plenty of sunshine and high temperatures, and almost no rain.

👉 Equipment to bring:

With its many outdoor activities, the Ardèche offers different joys to its visitors throughout the year. In winter, opt for a ski outfit to discover cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. In summer, pack a swimming costume for a dip in the Gorges, climbing gear for exploring the various via ferrata and sportswear for hiking.

👉 What to bring back:

With its many local specialities, the Ardèche department requires you to make room in your suitcases on the outward journey so that you can leave with suitcases full of culinary souvenirs. White or red wines, chestnuts in all shapes and sizes (cream, ice cream, etc.), cheeses and other delicacies from the Ardèche are popular with tourists, and are often given as gifts to friends and family on their return.

lightbulb_outline Editor's tip

Plan to come to the Ardèche by car, or hire one locally. As the department is mountainous, there isn't much in the way of public transport, so a car gives you more independence to discover all its secrets.

Useful links
Ardèche Tourism website

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