Gorges de l'Ardeche
Visit Gorges de l'Ardeche (Rhone-Alpes, France)
The Gorges de l'Ardeche are in the Ardeche department of the Rhone-Alpes. The gorges runs about 40km eastwards from Pont d'Arc (itself a few kilometres east of the popular resort of Vallon Pont d'Arc).
One of the most stunning scenic highlights of France, they are usually accessed from the town of Vallon Pont d'Arc at the upper (north-west) end of the gorges.
Visit the Gorges de l'Ardeche by canoe
Perhaps the best way to explore the Ardeche gorges, and to get a real sense of their grandeur and beauty, is by descending in canoe from Vallon Pont d'Arc to Saint-Martin d'Ardeche - about 35 kilometres, with cliffs either side up to 300 metres in height. The tourist office recommend April, May and September as the best times of year to make the descent.
scenery along the gorges de l'Ardeche, and the Pont d'Arc
This is a very popular trip, and several canoe companies operate along the river. After reaching your destination you are collected and returned to your car.
Visit the Gorges de l'Ardeche by road
Running along the northern edge of the gorges, and with numerous very impressive viewpoints, is a road that is very popular with visitors. There are lots of places to pull over and take in the scenery and take hundreds of photos, each better than the one before.
One particular highlight - and one of the few to be less obvious from the road - is the Belvedere de Madeleine. The last great viewpoint at the western end of the gorges, you need to walk a few metres off the road along a track to reach the viewpoint. I haven't listed all the viewpoints here for the simple reason that although they are marked on maps they are not marked along the route itself, so identifying which is which can be confusing and is probably unnecessary anyway.
Note: unlike the Gorges du Tarn, there is little in the way of towns and villages to explore along the way. I noticed a sign for a naturist beach...I'm not sure how that works when there are hundreds of canoes on the river, perhaps it is slightly tucked away out of view, I didn't check it out.
To add to the excitement of a visit the erosive forces of the river have also carved a large number of canyons and caves into the rocks. Highlights among these are the Grotte des Tunnels; the Pont d'Arc (a natural stone arch over the river, and very popular swimming beach); the Museum of the World at the 'Aven de Marzal'; the Grottes de la Madeleine; the Grottes de Saint Marcel; and the Aven d'Orgnac (probably the best caves in the region, and a designated Grand Site of France). So there is always somewhere cool to escape from the heat outside.
Photos of Gorges de l'Ardeche
Click any picture to start the gallery
Address: Gorges de l'Ardeche, Ardeche, Rhone-Alpes || GPS: latitude 44.407, longitude 4.3944
Map of Gorges de l'Ardeche & places nearby
Highlights close by
Pont d'Arc 3km
See lots more places to visit nearby and a more detailed map at places near Gorges de l'Ardeche.
See Rhone-Alpes and Ardeche (the region and department for Gorges de l'Ardeche) for more travel ideas...
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Gorges de l'Ardeche, France
- Aven d'Orgnac - grand site of france (11km)
- Balazuc - most beautiful village (11km)
- Bois de Païolive - site of natural beauty (16km)
- Vogue - most beautiful village (16km)
- Aigueze - most beautiful village (17km)
- Gorges du Gardon - grand site of france (18km)
- Grotte de la Cocaliere - site of natural beauty (23km)
- Viviers - secteur sauvegarde (25km)
- La Ferme aux crocodiles - zoo or wildlife park (25km)
- La Roque-sur-Ceze - most beautiful village (26km)
The French version of this page is at Gorges de l'Ardeche (Francais)