Slideshows from Ardèche and the Jura

Between Lyon and Montpellier lies a hidden gem: the département called Ardèche. It has all the essentials of a perfect relaxing vacation, including mountains, hiking, camping, great wine, lakes, and rivers. Most importantly, it is not overrun with the tourist rush that is found in other regions of France. Here are some slideshows of our relaxing and refreshing hiking trip last summer. It ended with a weekend in the Jura, another road-less-travelled département 1 1/2 hours north of Lyon near the Swiss border and known for its delicious Comté cheese, unusual wines, and rolling green hills.

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From Rocher, we headed 20 minutes southwest to Balazuc, a village whose architecture stands still in medieval times.

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We then stopped in Ruoms, 15 minutes south of Balazuc and founded in the 5th century.

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We then headed 1 1/2 hours north to Saint-Eulalie, a town of less than 300 people in the Rhône-Alpes region.

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The next day, we began our day-long hike to and from the Mont Gerbier de Jonc, through pastures, lost country roads, and wild meadows.

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The next’s day’s hike took us to the Ray Pic waterfall, but not before a challenging 6-mile obstacle course over steep slopes and through a dense, dark forest. The destination was worth it, as well as the walk home through a flower-covered meadow. We made it back to our car parked in Sagnes-et-Goudoulet, the village at the start of the trail. We paused to explored its church, which has been a pilgrimage site since the 17th century. Back then, it was known for healing a local skin disease. Then it was back to Saint-Eulalie for some well-deserved rest.

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Next we drove one hour northwest to Le Puy-en-Velay in the Haute-Loire département. This city is a step on the Saint-Jacques de Compostelle trail.

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Finally, we stopped to visit some friends in a small lakeside town in the Jura département, 1.5 hours northeast of Lyon near the Swiss border, before heading home to Alsace.

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2 Responses to Slideshows from Ardèche and the Jura

  1. The Ardèche is definitely worth a visit, as is the Drôme department across the river. I spent some time there in the 80s leading an exchange group from the USA, but did not get into that many of the wilderness areas, spending a lot of time in and around Tournon and Tain l’Heritage.

    Love your slideshows…

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