This one-day excursion starting from Saint-Martin-d’Ardèche brings you to magnificent sites from the Gorges of the Ardèche river to the Cèze Valley. Welcome to the original and natural South!
Aiguèze, a medieval balcony overlooking the river
From the beach of Saint-Martin-d’Ardèche, the view on this wonderful medieval village is a must-see for who is visiting “Gorges de l’Ardèche”. Once you’ve crossed the bridge to the other bank of Ardèche, you are in Aiguèze.
In this picturesque village, you will find paved narrow streets, rampart walks, dungeon, and a portcullis gate that drives your imagination 10 centuries earlier. Nowadays, quiet atmosphere and French joie-de-vivre are reigning under the shadow of old houses and little village shops. It’s under the plane tree of the main place of the village, sat on a terrace when the pétanque players are whistling with their Provencal accent, that you will enjoy the most this wonderful village. This village deserves is classification as “one of the most beautiful village of France”: just amazing !
The Valbonne Carthusian monastery surrounded by a bucolic environment
On the way to La-Roque-sur-Céze, you can spot the Valbonne Carthusian monastery thanks to its glazed roof, hidden in a thousand-year-old forest. Founded in 1204, the 41st house of the Carthusian monk gives surprises by its large dimensions. Pass in the court of honor then under the renaissance gate, and enjoy the discovery of the conventual church and of the big cloister, one of the biggest in the south of France. Visit of this quiet place ends up with the discovery of a Monk cell and….a wine tasting. A beautiful immersion for people who are looking for calm and osmosis with nature.
La Roque-sur-Cèze : From the Sautadet waterfalls to the perched village
Alongside the river “Cèze” in the village of La-Roque-sur-Cèze, the view on the giant holes where the water is flowing from rocks to rocks is worth it. Nevertheless, this is a hazardous site so… be careful. Walking against the current, you can cross the Charles Martel medieval bridge to go to the village. Tied on its rock, this village is a Provencal jewelry and seduces by its narrow streets, its antic facades made out of stones and its craggy alleyways. Don’t leave without taking the “breaking ass” ( rompe-cul) street which starts just under the church, in order to know what the women of the older times had to face to go to the riverside.
Montclus, a simple and authentic village encircled by the Cèze river
Sometimes you dream of an oasis of calm next to fresh river and away from the crowded places. Montclus is the place you are looking for ! Classifed as one of the “most beautiful villages of France” in 2012, it seduces by its simplicity and its quiet atmosphere. There, you won’t find a lot of shops and restaurants but a few good places to spend a great moment.
When you’re in Montclus, don’t hesitate to go to l’Aven d’Orgnac, which is a cave clasified “Great site of France” and where you can find the museum of prehistoric times. On the road, Goudargues (nicknamed the small Venice) or Cornillon are great stops.