Tweety with beret in Rhone-Alps (France)



Scenic road

At the edge of Ardèche and Drôme, near Valence, the D287, from Crussol to Tournon-sur-Rhone, is called the scenic road. At Crussol we can access the ruins of an ancient castle on a cliff from which we get a view over the Rhone, Valence, Vercors and the trois-becs. Going on along the road, we arrive at the village of Saint-Romain-de-Lerps where there is a panoramic terrace. The 360° view covers no fewer than 13 departments. With the binoculars present on the site we distinguish the Alps and Mont Blanc. The view on the Chartreuse mountains, Vercors, and the trois-becs is superb. Opposite the Rhone we see the basin of Eyrieux with its greenery.


The medieval town is built against the rock. A 16th century castle gives more charm to the village where runs the ardèche river. The houses are built of stone and some of them have outdoor staircases.

Vogüé and its castle Street of the village


Here is another village listed among the "most beautiful villages of France" and located in a beautiful scenery. The houses are built of stone on the steep streets. The view over the bridge and surrounding landscape has something majestic.

Balazuc Landscape near Balazuc

Ardèche gorges

Pont d'Arc over the Ardèche river

Many amateurs enjoy canoeing here in the summer. We can also take the D290 road that follows the river but does not have view from above : we must stop at the places set up near the various points of view. The ideal is to start the journey by taking the road from Aubenas and get to the picturesque villages of Vogüé and Balazuc. From Aubenas, we can also go to Mount Gerbiernbsp;denbsp;Jonc where the Loire river takes its source.

The natural limestone arch of Pont d'Arc is 34 m (112 feet) high and gives a superb impression. It marks the entrance of the gorges.

See also the 180° turn of the cirque of Madeleine. And near Madeleine caves (500 m / 545 yards walk), a belvedere is called "cathedral" because of a rocky peak that stands out from the other rocks.

Along the gorges, we can visit several caves such as Madeleine caves or Aven d'Orgnac (see below). In Marzak there is a prehistoric "zoo" comprising life size models of dinodaurs : it was the first of its kind.

The cave of Chauvet-Pont d'arc was discovered in 1994 by adventurous speleologists. It turns out to be the cave containing the oldest prehistoric paintings (30,000 years BC) with many animals including wild animals.

I came out rather unsatisfied even if the exhibition (including reproductions of woolly rhinos, reindeer and saiga antelope) and the movie (30 minutes) are well made : but to be honest I was expecting more ! So it is a pity that we can not enter the cave and there is no facsimile as at Lascaux II, but perhaps in future ?...

Here is the official site : Cave of Chauvet pont d'arc

Aven d'Orgnac

Aven d'Orgnac is listed as a "great site of France" for its size but only the first three rooms (at -50 m, -100 m, and -120 m) are open to visitors. In fact it is possible to extend the visit with a 3 hours or 8 hours speleo. excursion (more information on the site) !...

Note :

- A cave is called aven when the natural opening is located at the ceiling.

- the stalagmites are calcareous concretions that go up.

- les stalagtites are calcareous concretions that go down.

We can see mainly large stalagmites looking like piles of pancakes or plates, and draperies...

Stalagmite Drapery

The Regional Museum of Prehistory is a nice complement to the visit where we can see reproductions of carvings made by Cro-Magnon.

Here is the official site : Aven d'Orgnac