Holidays in Ardeche & Auvergne

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Ardèche & Auvergne Overview

Visiting The Ardèche & Auvergne

If you like your outdoors BIG, then this is the place for you. There are mountains, rivers, gorges, caves – even volcanoes – and they are all pretty spectacular.  Swim it, climb it, jump into it - or do all those things at once and canyon it. Even the manmade stuff is beyond expectations; perfect Roman buildings, exquisite walled medieval towns, ornate carved buildings, ramparts, bridges, abandoned ancient castles – and a cheese-making museum.

And if that’s not enough for you – it’s also the gastronomic centre of France.  So come on over and fill your boots!

Feel The Ardèche & Auvergne

Fill your lungs with fresh mountain air, set your heart racing on wild rivers,  step back in time and then step further, work your way through the menu, take in a view and another and another, catch the sounds of Debussy floating across the evening air, uncork a bottle of wine and relax.

Explore The Ardèche & Auvergne

From the mountains and volcanoes above to the gorges and caverns below, there is plenty for nature lovers to explore in this region. The beauty of the area has attracted settlers since pre-historic times, through the Roman and Medieval ages right up to modern times. They‘ve all left their mark with cave paintings and amphitheatres, and exquisite buildings, villages and towns from the quaint Uzes with its narrow cobbled streets to Lyon, one of France’s most magnificent cities.

Places to visit - Sightseeing

Camping in the Ardèche and the Auvergne puts you amidst some of the loveliest countryside in the world, with as many natural monuments as man-made attractions to discover:

Lyon
One of the great cities of France, with both the Rhone and the Saone running through it, there are many wonders to enjoy here, though the old streets of the Presqu’ile and the wonderful Place Bellecour are both fine places to start your exploration.

Saint-Etienne
Once a grim, industrial city, today’s St Etienne has a lively downtown area around the Place de Peuples, the wonderful Museum of Art and Industry which explores the city’s past, and the Museum of Modern Art, featuring works by Warhol.

Montelimar
While Montelimar is an attractive market town, overlooked by the splendid Chateau des Adhémar, most of the visitors here come for the vast selection of almond Montelimar nougat that is sold throughout the town’s medieval centre.

Pont d’Arc
At the head of the Ardeche Gorge, you will find the Pont d’Arc, a natural limestone arch more than 30 metres high that spans the river and marks the start of the gorge’s descent, which makes for a wonderful expedition by kayak.

Vulcania
Situated amidst the largest group of volcanoes in Europe near Saint-Ours-Les Roches, you will find Vulcania, where the secrets of the Auvergne’s volcanic landscape are explored through a series of stunning walks and films.

Grotte de la Madeleine
While this volcanic region is covered with wonderful caves, the Grotte de la Madeleine at Saint-Remèze is perhaps the best known, offering gorgeous underground caverns and an unforgettable son ét lumiére show.

Aubenas
Known locally as The Art and History City, Aubenas lives up to its reputation through a wealth of wonderful buildings such as the 17th century St Benoit Cathedral and the lovely Chateau d’Aubenas, which houses a fine collection of art.

Parc National des Cévennes
This vast area of natural beauty is the only French national park in the low mountains and offers you spectacular scenery at every turn, not to mention more than 2,400 species of fauna and more than 2,300 species of flora.

Great for younger kids

Aquatropic
Located in Nimes, the Aquatropic centre offers a host of swimming and paddling pools, together with an outdoor play area. There are also plenty of attractions for parents and older children here too.

Great for older kids

La Ferme aux Crocodiles
If you want to see more than 350 crocodiles in one stunning, tropical environment, this makes a great place to visit. The tropical greenhouse covers an area of more than 8,000 sq m and also features giant tortoises.

Aubenas Paintballing
Just 5 minutes from Aubenas, this vast paintball area of more than 7 hectares offers teens and active adults the chance to play in a rugged, natural environment that also offers plenty of trees, bushes and walls to hide behind.

Places to visit - Activities & events

Canoeing
There are plenty of places to canoe when you’re camping in the Ardèche, but the pick of the bunch is at Vallon Pont d’Arc where you can hire canoes and kayaks or join guided trips down the River Ardèche while enjoying the stunning scenery.

Canyoning
Blending swimming, climbing, abseiling and hiking into a single activity, this isn’t one for the faint-hearted. Nevertheless, expertly guided sessions are available at a number of locations including Vallon Pont d’Arc, Les Vans and Ruoms.

Horseriding
There are a number equestrian centres in the region where you can enjoy organised pony-trekking expeditions through the dazzling scenery of the Auvergene and the Ardèche, including those at Aubenas, Bidon and St Antheme.

Cycling
Road and mountain bikes are available for hire all over the Auvergne and the Ardèche, allowing you to take advantage of the quiet roads that wind around the region, not to mention trails alongside the river Ardèche that begin at Vallon Pont d’Arc.

Unmissable events in the Ardèche and the Auvergne

Festival de Nimes - Late June to mid-July
After more than 15 years, this annual festival in the heart of Nimes now attracts some of the biggest acts in music, from Sting to Robert Plant and Santana.

Labeaume Summer Festival
From mid-July to mid-August every year, the streets of this sleepy village in the southern Ardèche ring out with a series of classical music concerts.

Recreation of the Passion of Christ, Burzet
Every Good Friday for centuries now, the people of Burzet have staged a large scale recreation of the Passion, in full period costumes through the town’s narrow, cobbled streets.

Wandering Strings Festival
Every July, the Debussy Quartet stages a series of concerts in some of the most beautiful locations in the Ardèche. The programme changes every year, but it is worth looking out for if you will be camping here in July.

Places to visit - Eating out

Featuring hearty, rustic cuisine based around cabbage, potato and pork, you are unlikely to go hungry in the Ardèche or the Auvergne with dishes like these:

  • Dry Auvergne Sausage – A rich pork sausage that is air-dried for at least 2 months, usually served with warm bread.
  • Crique – A flat cake made with grated potato, which is heavily seasoned with pepper and garlic before being fried.
  • Maouche – Almost a haggis dish, yet made from pork and cabbage.
  • Marrons Glacés – Sweet chestnuts appear in many dishes in the Ardèche, though they are at their best when glazed and candied.
  • Wines – While this isn’t one of the famous wine areas of France, Cotes d’Auvergne is a light, fruity wine that goes with most dishes.

Campsites in region

Vallon Pont d'Arc L'Ardechois canoes and lake
L'Ardéchois | Vallon Pont D'Arc

The best way to soak up the beauty of the Ardèche is by river and when you arrive at L’Ardéchois you’ll not only find yourself beside one of the river’s loveliest stretches, but you’ll be about to enjoy camping at its most glamorous.

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St Amans-des-Cots Les Tours pool
Les Tours | St Amans-des-Cots

How does direct access to a stunning lake in the middle of rustic, French countryside sound? Come along to Les Tours and you’ll be in for wonderful views of gorgeous Lac du Maury, a good-sized lake surrounded by nature trails.

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St Alban Le Ranc Davaine pool
Le Ranc Davaine | St Alban

Unleash the action hero within, canoeing and canyoning your way down the river systems of the Ardèche. Or stay dry and cycle instead - there are plenty of riverside cycle lanes to discover.

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Cantobre Val de Cantobre pools
Val de Cantobre | Cantobre

How to fill the time between Springwatch and Autumnwatch? Well, you could explore the vibrant flora and fauna of the Cévennes, the mountains and valleys that make up France’s most thrilling National Park.

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Les Ranchisses pool and terrace
Les Ranchisses | Largentière

Les Ranchisses is a haven for outdoor lovers here in the spectacular Ardèche region, with easy access to the nearby town of Largentière.

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Sampzon Domaine de la Bastide pool view
La Bastide en Ardèche | Sampson

It’s understandable that a river as beautiful as the Ardèche is bound to get busy in summer. So imagine having your own private beach... and that’s part of what makes La Bastide en Ardèche different!

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Location reviews

Ardeche & Auvergne reviews collected by Reevoo

Overall rating
8.7
Scores 8.7 out of 10 based on 243 reviews
Reviews and scores from the last 12 months.
10 out of 10

Rachel

Norfolk
A breath taking part of France. A very pretty region dotted with quintessential French villages.
Confirmed stay: 28 September 2013
8 out of 10

Fiona

Guildford
Vallon itself was horrible but the Ardeche was beautiful and lots of lovely villages to explore.
Confirmed stay: 27 September 2013
10 out of 10

Patricia

Coalville
The scenery is amazing. To be able to canoe down the Ardeche river was quite an experience.
Confirmed stay: 21 September 2013
10 out of 10

Darren

shrewsbury
the ardeche gorge is an absolutely beautiful place to visit, fantastic if your into the outdoor pursuits climbing, cycling, kayaking. the mountains and caves are certainly worth a visit. and the sunflower fields were just vast and beautiful to see although at this time of year they did look a bit sad but still lovely to see.
Confirmed stay: 19 September 2013
9 out of 10

Brain

Telford
Outstanding scenery. You can just relax or take part in the many activities the region has to offer.
Confirmed stay: 19 September 2013
10 out of 10

Penny

byfleet
clean, good experience in every area, site staff professional
Confirmed stay: 14 September 2013
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