Day 30, 29th June – The Ardeche – an unexpected bonus

I’m sorry, I know I’m behind (in fact I’m writing this at home 😦 )

As I have lots of other things to do this evening I’m afraid  I haven’t got time to actually write, so I thought I’d get some photos uploaded – now that we have proper WiFi!!

I will then revisit when time allows to fill in the gaps.

This day was our unexpected bonus in that we were expecting to move on to Chalon after just the 1 night, but once we’d arrived we realised we needed to stay for 1 more night.

See pics below (hopefully they offer their own explanation).


As I said, we saw where we were staying and almost immediately decided that we needed to stay 2 nights rather than 1.  The extra day to be spent following the tourist route along the Gorges of the Ardeche.  Accessed via more small and lovely towns/villages we found ourselves on yet another mountain road!  This one however had caves in the rock right beside us, so we stopped to have a little explore – as you do.

Then we looked down and we could see kayakers in the river far below – how jealous were we?  We kept going, stopping every now and then for a new perspective on the view, getting more and more jealous the further we went.

I’m also not completely sure just how many times I had to ask Calv to drive a little further to the left please!!

There are plenty of view points along the route.  There were some really amazing views and it brought to mind Cheddar Gorge and Symonds Yat – just on a very much larger scale 🙂

DSC_0264DSC_0270There were many attractions to visit, and we 1st tried to go to the prehistoric caves where you can see the 1st known cave drawings – however, you must go on a guided tour and there was over an hour to wait, so with so much to see we decided to move on.

So we visited the Grotte Madeline instead.  This turned out to be a cave system found by a goat herder with so many different types of stalactities/stalagmites – many which neither of us had ever seen before.  Also a guided tour, but far more frequent – and for 9.50 euros each.  We were very impressed.  I’m not sure the photos can do it justice at all.

We eventually stopped for lunch (I think it was getting on for 2.30, maybe even 3pm by then!) Calv had a ‘Burger Ardechois’ and I went for a Gallette Italienne.  Thinking I knew what to expect….  So I had half of Calv’s burger, which was actually really nice with a sauce containing fig, and he had most of my gallette, which was a cheese filled pancake and lots of tomatoes with the local ham.  It wasn’t my favourite I’m afraid, but I did try it.

While eating we spotted a castle on the other side of the river, so decided to go and have a look.  It was another medieval town with a lovely church and an actual castle.  Although you could walk around a couple of the castle walls it had actually been turned into a hotel, so we couldn’t go in.

Also, in such a beautiful little place we didn’t actually expect to see neglected that we were well on their way to being dilapidated.  But we did!  Think Castle Combe or Lacock – it would be unthinkable to have houses that were uncared for..

Then we did something that I’ve never done in my life before – we went swimming in the river!  Luckily I had my water shoes with me – anybody who’s watched the video I posted on Facebook of Calv emerging from the river (I like to call it his Daniel Craig moment) can see what the riverbed was like (very stony..)  It was a very busy river with it’s own beach (quite common along the whole length).  The unusual thing here was that you had to pay to park (not cheap either), but there was no justification as it wasn’t laid out at all; in fact driving out we thought we’d damaged the car driving through all the dips and troughs.  Like I said though, this is very unusual.

I expected to be jumping in the pool when we got back to the campsite (as it was once again still 30 degrees at 7pm) but we were pretty shattered, and somehow found ourselves just sitting doing very little, except gearing ourselves up for the next day’s move onto Chalon sur Saone (who were very accommodating when we advised them we’d be arriving a day later).

We had considered staying for another day so that we could hire a kayak and drop down the river – but eventually decided that this will have to wait for another visit (another reason to return 🙂 )



Author: MandoraTheExplorer

Having given up full-time work we currently work a year to travel for 4-5 months, and we're hoping to continue this until we can retire properly! Currently living, and loving, life to the full :)


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