Ardeche Journals

The Ardèche: land of rivers and chestnuts

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An April 2005 trip to Ardeche by jaybroek

Pont dArc Photo, Ardeche, France More Photos
Quote: The Ardèche: loved for its rivers by canoeists, its limestone cliffs by rock climbers and trekkers. The locals share their obsessive passion for chestnuts with visitors such as us, who are content to idle the days away on riverside beaches in medieval villages.

The Ardèche: land of rivers and chestnuts

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Overview

The Goat Photo, Ardeche, France
Quote:
Occupying a less fashionable corner of Southern France, the Ardèche has long been popular with the French and other continental Europeans who like to do energetic things while on vacation. Bordered to the east by the Rhône, the land rises to form part of the Central Massif, the enormous lump of limestone that so dominates the southern part of central France. Up on the plateau the terrain is relatively featureless; the interesting bits are tucked away in the deep river valleys that carve up the region.A river (or two) runs through itThe southern Ardèche is all about the river, from which the département takes its name. Rising in the limestone uplands that characterise muc...Read More

L'Oustalou

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Hotel

L'Oustalou Photo, Ardeche, France
Quote:
I know how to make a good first impression; a kind smile usually helps, a bit of consideration. Steering your car onto someone’s lawn while they wave frantically at you to stop doesn’t normally qualify, but with Phillipe and Veronique, I seemed to get away with it. Over the subsequent days, I came to realise that it would take a lot more than tyre tracks on the grass to ruffle the feathers of our genial hosts, as we enjoyed the very best of their understated hospitality. The Alcaldes bought the rundown farm a few kilometers outside Rosières 4 or 5 years ago, when they were living in Montpelier. For the first year, Phillipe lived in a caravan on-site and carried out the restoration work, with Ver...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 12, 2005

L'Oustalou
Augnac - 07260
Ardeche, France
33 (0)4 75 39 57 05

Le Relais Fleuri

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Restaurant

Le Relais Fleuri Photo, Ardeche, France
Quote:
The Blonde and I, along with countless other couples, have an Escape Plan. French rural idyll, experienced during frequent sojourns in charming villages, beckons. British TV conspires to fuel this desire with a never-ending supply of ‘getting away from it all’ docu-dramas peopled with hapless English folk carving lives for themselves in dream locations. One of the more amusing of the oeuvre (which we became perversely hooked on) followed the trials and tribulations of a dreamer called Nigel. He set about running an Indian restaurant in the heart of the Ardèche, more specifically, in the village of Laurac, some 4km or so from our chambre d’hôte. Over dinner with our hosts one evening, the topic o...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on August 12, 2005

Le Relais Fleuri
07110 Laurac-en-Vivarais
Ardeche, France
+33 03 86 34 0285

Balazuc Photo, Ardeche, France
Quote:
The French love and revere their villages as timeless symbols of their rural heritage. The département Ardeche is no exception with their heavily promoted "Villages de caractère." Matters such as rural charm, however, are still subject to another French passion, bureaucracy. Villages must fulfill the criteria of "La Charte" before they can be considered for this distinction, which includes the setting up of car parks away from the village centre, eliminating TV aerials, and, my favourite, Fleurissement des édifices publics et des maisons. There are few places that wouldn’t benefit from a little fleurissement. Then, and only then, are they ripe for the richest of French simile and ...Read More
Pont d'Arc Photo, Ardeche, France
Quote:
The département Ardèche is all about the river after which it was named. Rising high in the Central Massif in the east of the region, it carves a languid course through the limestone before draining into the Rhône. The landscape it has helped shape is dramatic and more than a little spectacular, nowhere more emphatically than in the Gorge de l’Ardèche. A willfully meandering 40km stretching from Vallon-Pont-d’Arc to St-Martin-d’Ardèche, the Gorge is described as Europe’s Grand Canyon and serves as the focal point for visitors to the region. Unsurprisingly, it is popular with lovers of outdoor pursuits, and Vallon is a major centre for canoe and kayak hire, along with rock climbing, abseil...Read More