Beautiful villages of character made of old stones, a nature in an almost wild state, hilly lands, gorges that criss-cross the land… Here I am in Ardeche!
During 3 days, I could discover the north of Ardèche in road trip with 3 other bloggers. Between discovery of the local soil, cultural stroll, hike in nature and bike tour, we could have easily spent several days there, to discover all the touristic jewels which are hidden in this department.
If you want to spend a long weekend or enrich your stay, here is how to spend 3 days in the north of Ardèche!
Discover the north of the Ardèche in 3 days
Discovering the north of the Ardeche is taking the time to discover another Ardeche, the one that is less touristic and less known, the one that surprises by its diversity of styles and its multiple activities that make us feel close to nature and gastronomy. So if you’re wondering, YES it’s worth it to go through the north of the Ardèche. In this article, I present you some places and activities that are worth the detour!
3 days in Ardèche
▪ Visiter les ruines du château de Crussol
▪ Se balader à Tournon-sur-Rhône
▪ Se rafraîchir dans les Gorges du Doux
▪ Faire une balade à vélo sur la ViaRhona
▪ Pique-niquer à Arras-sur-Rhône
▪ Découvrir la Vallée de la Cance
▪ Randonner au lac de Devesset
To take height at the ruins of the Castle of Crussol
The first step of our road trip starts with one of the most important sites in Ardèche: the Crussol castle. Built in the 11th century, this fortress – located in the commune of Saint-Péray – proudly dominates the Rhône valley. In the Middle Ages, the castle of Crussol was one of the strategic points of the Kingdom of France. Today, only a few ruins remain, such as the ramparts, the dwelling, a tower and a gate. Crussol Castle is only a few minutes away from the Drôme (the neighboring department) and therefore from the Valence TGV station, where we arrived a few moments earlier.
We took the time to have a picnic at the foot of the castle and then went for a walk. The ruins of the castle of Crussol can be visited freely. We parked easily in front of the Auberge de Crussol and then, we just have to go up to admire the view from above. Enjoy it!
Walking on the path of the Towers in Tournon-sur-Rhône
Leaving the castle of Crussol, we take the road of the peaks which leads us gently to Tournon-sur-Rhône. We stop in Saint Romain de Lerps to admire the view from the Belvedere du Pic. Tournon-sur-Rhône is a charming little town, located in the heart of the Rhone valley, which smells like the south. Bordered by the river and overhung by the hills, Tournon makes you want to settle down on one of the barges to have a drink or eat some Ardèche specialties. In the historical center, the pedestrian streets still have their charm of yesteryear and it is a pleasure to walk around. In order to get some height, we followed the “sentier des Tours” (an itinerary that leads to the old city wall). A tour to do at sunset to enjoy the soft light. The view is just splendid!
Refreshing in the Gorges du Doux
To close this first day, we took the car for a few moments to reach the Gorges du Doux. It is probably one of the most touristic activities of the Ardeche: the gorges! In the south, we have the Gorges de l’Ardèche, in the north, we discover the Gorges du Doux. They can be discovered either by the road, but it is also possible to take a “Train de l’Ardèche” which crosses the Gorges. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to take the train, but I would have loved to. Instead, we made a few stops to dip our feet and enjoy the pretty view under the Duzon bridge. A moment of pure happiness!
Biking along the Via Rhona
Our second day starts with an activity I particularly love: a bike ride! I appreciate more and more to take a bike to discover a place, taking the time to see the landscapes passing by, to be able to stop according to my desires,… To my great happiness, the Ardèche is a welcoming land for bike lovers. There are several (relatively flat) itineraries for cycling through the territory. We had the opportunity to test an electric bike ride between Tournon-sur-Rhône and Arras-sur-Rhône, using the ViaRhona.
After picking up our bikes at Station Bee’s (in Tournon), we rode along the Rhone river, along paths in the nature and then along the railroad tracks. A light-hearted interlude that could have gone on much longer. There is a brochure that includes all the cycling itineraries in the Ardèche.
You can also find more information about the Via Rhona on the ViaRhona website.
Picnic at the tower of Arras-sur-Rhône
Our bike ride took us here: to Arras sur Rhône. Another typical small town in the Ardèche. Here we met a group of French Instagrammers who are spending the day in the Ardèche. We go up together to the Tour d’Arras for a picnic with local products. Pascal Jamet makes us taste his wines whose vines are cultivated right at the foot of the tower of Arras. We follow him in his passion, while tasting and enjoying the view!
In the Cance Valley
After a hearty lunch and a little tour of the vineyards, we headed back to the Cance Valley. The Cance river has its source in Ardèche, at the Baraques pass, at 1100m of altitude. A small winding road leads to Annonay from Cance, along the river. It can be done on foot, by bike or by car and it leads us in the heart of the green and natural Ardèche. We stopped at the bridge of Moulin sur Cance and at the Roche Péréandre, a real nugget of the northern Ardèche. In a few moments I feel like I have been transported to a tropical land.
Hiking around the lake of Devesset
For our third and last day in Ardèche, we wake up in an enchanting setting at the Moulin de Montabonnel. This guest house is located in the middle of the nature at more than 1000m of altitude. After a good breakfast, we leave on foot to reach the lake of Devesset. We take the “Chemin des Proverbes” from the Moulin de Montabonnel (our gite) to the Arbre Vagabond (a bookshop-restaurant). Our mission during this walk: to discover and translate 12 proverbs in North-Occitan patois. We managed to translate almost all the proverbs but the rain caught up with us so we decided to take the car again to go for a walk at the Lac de Devesset. Because of the weather we didn’t go around the lake (about 1 hour), but the place promises to be a nice stop on nice days. It is on these last images that we slowly take the road back…
L’Auberge de Crussol
Chemin de Beauregard
Qu. de Crussol
07130 St Péray
Tél : +33 4 75 40 47 65 ou voir le site web
La Péniche Slow Food Café
Slow Food Café
2, promenade Léon Perrier
Tél : 04 69 11 00 75 ou voir le site web
Le Gîte « le Pied du géant »
Gîte le Pied du Géant
25, Grande rue
Maison d’hôtes « Le Moulin de Montabonnel »
Moulin de Montabonnel
Lieu-dit « La scie de la Bâtie »
Le site web
- By train: By stopping at the Valence TGV station (direct train from Brussels, Paris, Lille and other French cities). However, in order to get around the area, it is better to have a car.
- By car: The Ardèche is rather well connected from Belgium (as well as most of the big French cities).
This trip was organized by the Tourist Development Agency of Ardeche. I warmly thank the ADT Ardèche and Cécile for inviting me and for organizing this beautiful program. I had the chance to share the trip with Clothilde (Partir Voir Le Monde), Marelune (GirlTrotter) and Marine (Marine Popping). I would like to specify that this article reflects exclusively my experience and my personal opinion.