- At a glance
- Locality & Walks
- Accommodation & Meals
- Travel options
Your Holiday at a Glance
|Independent Walking Holiday||
|Dates for 2020||
|Accommodation and Meals||
|What's not included||
Ardeche & Walks
The Ardeche is an amazingly diverse region making up the eastern extremity of the Massif Central in southern France. With wild, rugged mountains and picturesque historic villages clinging to terraced hillsides it makes an ideal location for an independent walking holiday away from the beaten track. This walking tour is located in the picturesque central Ardeche mountains in the heart of its Regional Natural Park.
You’ll start and finish your self guided walking tour in the historic hilltop town of Aubenas before following a dramatic circular tour which becomes higher and more remote with each passing day as you head into the Tanargue with ridges offering vast panoramic views. The valleys are as magical as the mountains are wild with historic bridges and chateaux, cliff-lined rivers and terraces of orchards and vines.
Your walking holiday in the Ardeche includes wonderful heather-clad ridges with great panoramic views; pretty chestnut forests; beautiful rivers where it's possible to bathe; and sun parched, olive and vine covered slopes. The Ardeche landscape is rugged and sometimes wild but wherever you look man's interaction with these mountains is evident with rustic stone-built villages, old terraces with stone walls and beautiful medieval bridges spanning the steep valley slopes.
7 days independent walking moving between guest houses. The days average 6 hours walking with an average of 17km and +700m per day. Maximum altitude gain in one day is +950m. The Ardeche is rugged and mountainous - the paths are generally good, although some sections can be rocky and quite steep. You should be reasonably fit, be able to navigate in the mountains and be comfortable walking on paths in mountainous areas.
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome at your first guest house in Aubenas.
Day 2: Aubenas - Antraigues sur Volane
A fairly long first day's walking passing through a number of rustic hamlets before crossing the Sandron Valley and climbing to the Volcan de Craux and its historic chateau. You’ll end the day at Antraigues sur Volane, a pretty historic village perched on a ridge between two valleys. 18.5km, +600m
Day 3: Antraigues sur Volane - Chirols
Today your walking trail heads west through pretty forest to reach the tiny hamlet of Juvinas before turning south. You’ll then climb over open hilltops with great expansive views before descending through forest to reach Chirols overlooking the Fontauliere River. 17km +900 m
Day 4: Chirols - Thuyets
A great day's walking which first crosses a hillside to reach the Ardeche River which has cut an erratic course between steep slopes and rocky bluffs. On the far side of the valley is the thermal spa of Neyrac les Bains. Then climb to wild mountain summits including Rocher de Ladenne, at over 1000m with fabulous panoramic views before descending to the village of Thuyets, passing a historic bridge and dramatic cliffs along the valley formed of cooled basalt. 20km, +620m
Day 5: La Souche - Valgorge
Transfer to La Souche. You walk starts by climbing steeply through a wild landscape of ravines to reach an open ridgeline where you have the chance to climb Mont Aigu at 1316m with vast panoramic views towards the Alps and of the surrounding Tanargue mountains. You’ll then follow a trail along the ridgeline following the Tour of Tanargue. You'll reach over 1,400m before it’s time to descend rapidly to Valgorge in the narrow Baume Valley. 16km, +900 m
Day 6: Valgorge - La Roche
From Valgorge climb through mixed forest to reach another beautiful heather-clad ridgeline and cross several summits above 1000m. Follow the tour of Tanargue on a good trail before descending to La Roche, perched above the Baume River. Your guest house has a patio with great views and a sauna & pool to help you unwind tired muscles. 12km, +600m
Day 7: La Roche - Tauriers
Today’s walking trail crosses the Baume Valley and climbs to the isolated summit of Tour de Brison for great panoramic views. Afterwards a mix of chestnut forests and terraced valley slopes bring you to the hill-top village of Montreal and then the medieval village of Largentiere clinging to the valley's slopes with its remarkable chateau. 16km, +850m
Day 8: Chassiers - Aubenas
Your walking trail returns to a less rugged and more tamed landscape. Head north through the hamlet of Chassiers with its remarkable gothic church and medieval chapel. A lower level walk over smaller hills through forest, vines, terraced orchards & historic hamlets brings you back to the medieval hill-top town of Aubenas 16 or 21km, +570m
Day 9: Departure
Holiday ends after breakfast
Accommodation & Meals
8 nights in very comfortable small guest houses & hotels with charm & character. The guest houses vary in their style, character and quality, ranging from rustic auberges to luxury B&B's. They all have comfortable en-suite rooms. Some have swimming pools and beautiful outside patios with great views. Warm welcome and great local cuisine.
|Villa Elisa M||Small hotel||Beautiful 1930's house in Aubenas which as been renovated with taste. Warm welcome from Elisabeth & Bernard||4 stars|
|La Petit Cour Verte||B&B||A 16th century stone house set in peaceful countryside with modern rooms, pool and sauna|
Train and bus
You'll need to make your own way to your first accommodation in Aubenas.
Eurostar trains from London St Pancras to Paris or Lille. Change for TGV trains to Valence direct or via Lyon. Change at Valence TGV station & take bus to Aubenas which is run by TER train company (frequency every 2 hours). Also less frequent buses from Avignon TGV and Montelimar station (with change).
The closest airports are Lyon St Exupery & Avignon. The airlines Easy Jet, Flybe and British Airways have scheduled flights from the UK - Luton, Birmingham, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Heathrow - to Lyon St Exupery airport. Regular flights from a number of UK airports to Avignon. Flybe has services from Exeter, Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester & Leeds. Trains from Lyon and Avignon to Valance TGV before catching bus service (every two hours) to Aubenas. Also possibility of bus direct to Aubenas from Avignon TGV. There are a number of car hire firms at the airports including Avis, Europcar and Hertz.
Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets in the UK
Note: Please check concerning the availability of a holiday before booking any flights. If you need further information or would like to discuss any aspect of your travel arrangements, please contact us, we’re here to help you.
Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries, Eurotunnel and DFDS Seaways.
Once in France, the journey from Calais to the Ardeche takes about 9 - 10 hours (excluding long breaks).
Tolls amount to about 50 euros each way.
Non secured parking is available at the guest houses or in Aubenas.