The “Gorges de l’Ardèche “
It all started several millions of years ago. The spirited river Ardèche cut tirelessly through the limestone, opening an immense gorge, a veritable canyon. The pause in this masterpiece, the famous natural arch of the Pont d’Arc, some 66 meters high, is a triumphal entrance to the gorges classed a Natural Reserve since 1980. A geological perfection that already our ancestors in the Palaeolithic age had admired. The Chauvet cave is a stone’s throw away. From springtime on, it’s the setting off point for multi-coloured canoes or a more peaceful walk. A 35 km itinerary to breathe in the fragrance of the oaks, to look out for the beavers or the Bonelli eagle.
Near “LES VANS” in the heart of “Cévenne Ardéchoise”, the wood of Païolive is a surprising forest of petrified cliffs and white oaks. The wood of Païolive extends over 16 kilometres. It forms a set of labyrinths shaped by the erosion which dug immense faults in the terrain.
This mineral and plant chaos gave birth to restless forms of real natural sculptures.
In Ardèche, the stones, golden or blueish, recount history and times past. Alba la Romaine, dressed in black and white, its façades a checkerboard of basalt and limestone, has a heart that beats to the rhythm of two thousand years of history.
A bit further south, perched on a hilltop, clinging valiantly to its mountain, there’s Balazuc. This village with its southern atmosphere, is all cut stone and labyrinths of lanes.
A few kilometres from there, nestled in the hollow of a valley, the village of Labeaume lies in the sun in an arid, magical site, almost lunar. Surrounded on all sides by cliffs, by ruiniform rock in tormented shapes, it displays like an amphitheatre its labyrinth of small passages and narrow streets lined with shingle houses or beautiful, arcaded residences.
Further north, in the foothills of Cévennes, stones tinted with white and ochre glimmer in the southern sun which inundates with light the green vineyards encasing the village of Vinezac, sitting there like a picture postcard.
Like them, forty villages have decided to spruce up their heritage while making it accessible to all. Thirteen of them have grouped together around a charter of quality, to better welcome you and share with you their traditions.
A brochure is at your disposal at the Comité Départemental du Tourisme (tourist office).
These villages are: Ailhon, Alba la Romaine, Antraigues, Balazuc, Banne, Beauchastel, Chalencon, Labeaume, Meyras (www.meyras-tourisme.com), Naves, St Montan, Vinezac and Vogüé.
These villages are within a very short drive from the campsite.
The mountain Gerbier-de-jonc is situated on the tray ardéchois is a series of phonolitiques cliffs 1551 metres high.
Half an hour of walking will enable you to reach its summit to appreciate an exceptional view of the surrounding area.
The Loire River takes its source from the mountain Gerbier-de-jonc. It is approximately 90 km from the campsite.
Site was classified in 1931, the waterfall of Ray-Pic is 60 metres high in the middle of basalt columns. The waterfall of the Ray Pic is situated on D 215 between Burzet and Lachamp Raphaël and is approximately 90 km from our campsite.
La Ferme aux Crocodiles: www.lafermeauxcrocodiles.com
With ten species of crocodiles, Aldabra and Galapagos giant tortoises weighing between 80 and 150 kilogrammes, monitor lizards, snakes, tropical fish and birds, the Crocodile Farm has over 400 animals living on its premises.
The park is composed of 8,000 m2 and 1,200 m2 conservatories and an outdoor area of 4,000m2. Because it holds over 600 exotic plant species, it is also a relevant horticultural and botanical garden which makes it the largest tropical conservatory that can be visited in France.
The Crocodile Farm is also furnished with a laboratory and hatchery for the purposes of scientific research and animal conservation.
Activities, lectures, children’s playground … At the Crocodile Farm, everything is ready for a great family day
Train a Vapeur Cevennes: www.trainavapeur.com
A steam train journey from Anduze to Saint-Jean-du-Gard through the very picturesque region of the Cevennes.
Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave: www.cavernedupontdarc.fr
The Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in the Ardèche department of southern France is a cave that contains the earliest known and best preserved figurative cave paintings in the world, as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. It is located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc on a limestone cliff above the former bed of the Ardèche River, in the Gorges de l’Ardèche. Discovered on December 18, 1994, it is considered one of the most significant prehistoric art sites and the UN’s cultural agency UNESCO granted it the World Heritage status on June 22, 2014.
Aven d’Orgnac: www.orgnac.com
The Orgnac cave extends over an area of 20 hectares and boasts impressive dimensions, with ceilings that attain heights of 55 metres, making the cave equivalent in height to the Niagara Falls!
From fine crystallizations to enormous stalagmites, the cave offers you its geological jewels.