The walk begins along the route of the old steam train which used to chug from Lamastre to Le Cheylard through the mountains of the Ardèche department. The railways were opened in 1891, but since 1968 most of them have ceased activity, lost their rails and become simple paths. Many fine structures built by the civil engineers of the period remain, and the scenery is spectacular.
The walking route follows the old railway so you can enjoy this rich heritage, little seen today. But then there are other vagabond paths which take you up to the heights. Winding along the ridges the track overlooks the Eyrieux Valley, with fabulous views of the volcanic mountains. Then through the chestnut trees, it descends into the valley to encounter silk spinning mills ("moulinages") and bathing places...
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Lavender bouquet in Drôme provençale
Hilltop villages in the Drôme Valley
For further information, visit the official website of the department:
To see : The Gorges of the river "Le Doux", chestnut orchards, busy market town.
Dinner and night in 2 star hotel-restaurant.
17,4 km with total uphill 400 metres (level 3/5). Duration about 4hrs.
This first walk along the former rail track is fairly long but has no major difficulty. The countryside is varied, giving a good idea of the nature of the Ardèche mountains.
There are many traces of the fine architectural civil engineering works of the former railway, along with stretches taking you through typical rural farms.
Dinner and night in a restored former farmhouse, now a fine hostelry.
10,3 km with total uphill of 363 m. Level 2/5. Duration around 3hrs45.
Now you are really deep within the authentic and quite secret old Ardèche.
Landscapes hewn with the labour and patience of generations, on land won from an austere and wild nature: terraces, orchards, fields of crops. And vestiges that witness the erstwhile vitality of a region that today conceals the ruins of its memory... uninhabited farms, abandonned ruins...
Dinner and night at the hostelry.
21,2 km with total uphill of 940m. Level 4/5. Duration about 6hrs50.
This is the longest walk of the holiday. You need to be fit to complete it, so don't overestimate your capacity.It's a ridge walk with lofty passages and fabulous views. The descent to the Valley at the end of the day is the trickiest part.
The climb towards Chalencon offers wonderful panoramic views over the valley.
The itinerary takes you across terraces and through chestnut woods.
Dinner and night in 3 'épis' guest house in the heart of the village.
15,7 km with total uphill of 650m. Level 3/5. Duratio about 5hrs20.
Two distinctive landscapes - the valley of the Eyrieux and the plateau of Chalencon - make this a particularly rewarding day of discovery.
The route takes you through the chestnut woods so typical of the Ardèche; note, to, the granite outcrops of the valley of the Eyrieux. Splendid views on the way up, then the surprise of the plateau of Chalencon and its contrasting stretches of forest and cultivated farmland.
Towards the end of the day's walk, you'll see the remains of the old castle of Chalencon.
Dinner and night at the guesthouse.
18,2 km with total uphill of 500m. Level 3/5 Duration 5hrs30.
The way is mainly downwards, but by no means a long straight line as it follows hither and thither the maze of ancient terraces carved into the hillside. You have to be particularly careful along this particular itinerary, even if its along the GR (Grande Randonnée, the route of a long distance footpath) for most of the way! And you need to be well-shod given the sometimes tricky descent.
Dinner and night in a charming guesthouse in an old coaching inn.
9,8 km with total uphill of 350m. Level 2/5. Duration about 2hrs50.
A somewhat shorter outing today that brings into focus another facet of the area whilst helping you to recover from the treks of the previous days. The walk begins through the orchards, rising gently above the valley of the Eyrieux and continuing through decidedly Mediterranean vegetation before winding down through a majestic forest where broad-leaved trees, box and thorn bushes flourish side by side.
Dinner and night in the guesthouse.
Departure after breakfast.
Walking holiday without guide:
Route type: A to B
Daily stages from 9 to 21 kms, 3 to 6hrs30 walking
Total uphill from 350 to 940 metres per day.
Altitudes from 100 to 700 metres.
These holidays are much more about relaxed exploration than athletic performance.
Your baggage is transported from one accommodation to the next. Your roadbook will guide you from beginning to end and we provide the logistical and technical support necessary.
On longer holidays you change accommodation every other day, which gives you the chance to better explore your surroundings or simply take your time and relax...
Accommodation is in either 2 or 3 "épis" guest houses chosen for their atmosphere, warm welcome and environmental and architectural setting.
N.B : the accommodation described above is given as an indication and may vary according to availability at the moment your reservation is finalized.
Accommodation is half-board. Picnic lunches are extra : you may like to order these at reservation.
|Price per person, on the basis of two people sharing same room||Additional services|
for a Single
|8d/7n||€ 695||€ 655||€ 90||€ 140|
|5d/4n||€ 460||€ 430||€ 90||€ 80|
|15% off for a third person sharing the same room.||Picnic: €11 per person|
Half board accommodation
2 or 3 "épis" guest rooms and 2 or 3 star hotels or hostelries
Detailed roadbook and routemarked maps provided
Logistical and technical assistance
Transfer back from Ollières to Lamastre
Holidays from late March to early November.
You can begin your stay any day March - June and September - November.
In the high season, holidays start on odd dates (1st, 3rd, 5th...) in July, and even dates (2nd, 4th, 6th...) in August.
Agence Safran - Les Cascades - F. 26400 Mirabel et Blacons
Tel. +33 (0)4 75 25 78 78 - Fax +33 (0)4 75 25 78 79
email@example.com - Agence de voyages LI.026.99.0001