This trip is really the Dolce Vi(t)a in the Ardèche! The holiday begins along the bed of the former railway track - now actually known as the "Dolce via" - which once linked Lamastre to Le Cheylard through the mountains of the Ardèche. Then after switching valleys, the ride continues along the Eyrieux river, wild and picturesque. By carefully choosing your start date you'll be able to go from Tournon to Lamastre by the little train of the Vivarais (see details below.)
The former railway tracks, mostly disused since 1968, have become simple trails. However, many remarkable civil engineering works dating from the railway era still remain, and the scenery is nothing short of spectacular. Biking along through this little-known yet magnificent countryside, you'll see the distinctive valleys of the Boutières - part of the mountains of the Ardèche - from a whole new perspective.
The itinerary is relatively gentle and suitable for cycletourists, but as some of the paths are not tarmacked we recommend the use of country bikes with wider-section tyres.
Another tour with shorter rides is also proposed for families : see the details
being able to hire an electric-assist bike!
the train transfer from Tournon to Lamastre along the fabulous historic railway of the Vivarais
biking along former railways now transformed into cycle touring routes
discovering a very authentic Ardeche that the average tourist seldom sees
Things to see :
The Rhône Valley. Wines of the Côtes du Rhône: Hermitage and Croze Hermitage.
Dinner and night in a 3 star hotel.
Ride from Lamastre to Saint Cierge sous le Cheylard
According to the train schedule (please contact us) ride to station at Saint-Jean-de-Muzols (6km) and transfer aboard little train of the Vivarais to Lamastre (trip 1hr45).
On other days: taxi transfer from Tournon to Lamastre.
19km stage with total uphill 390m. Around 2hrs45.
From Lamastre you continue on your way along the former railway, transformed into a walking and cycling path called "La Dolce Via".
You'll enjoy seeing fine typical old Ardèche farms and railway engineering features that still impress today!
Dinner and night at the inn.
Around St Cierge sous Le Cheylard
45,5 km with total uphill 790 metres. Duration about 4hrs. Things to see :
A superb circuit with wonderful views. First you follow the former railtrack along the banks of the river Eyrieux. Gaining height progressively, you move into fine countryside made up of small fields and orchards.
Between Saint Agrève and Saint Jean de Roure, your eyes will light on a splendid panorama: the Massif Central with its cone-shaped summits (slumbering volcanoes...)
Dinner and night at the hostelry.
From St Cierge to Saint Barthélémy le Meil
26,3 km with total uphill 265 metres. Duration about 2hrs30.
Free morning in Le Cheylard. The church, the castle, and the market (on Wednesdays) are worth a visit.
You can also visit the Arche des métiers in the heart of Le Cheylard (see practical information).
In the afternoon you cycle back to St-Barthélémy-le-Meil, situated on a remarkable site in the mountains of the Ardèche. From the start follow the river, this time downstream. Note several water mills, supplied by water intakes parallel to the river. The climb to Beauvène and then St-Barthélemy is severe. It is advisable to put your foot down in the hardest parts.
Enjoy the swimming pool in Beauvène or Saint Barthélémy le Meil.
Evening meal and night in 3 'épis' B+B.
Around Saint Barthélémy le Meil
39,3 km with total uphill 720 metres. Duration about 4hrs00.
Today you go up onto the plateau of Mézilhac. You will enjoy some splendid views over the old volcanoes of Mont Mézenc and Le Gerbier des Joncs in the Massif Central. When it’s fine you can even see the Mont Ventoux a full 150 km away, and even sometimes the Mont Blanc.
The ride is along tarmacked roads, but you won’t see many other people, just a few sheep, occasional goats and a handful of hamlets each with less than 20 people.
Evening meal and night in 3 'épis' B+B in the former mill.
From Saint Barthélémy le Meil to Charmes sur Rhône
48,2 km with total uphill 150 metres. Duration around 4hrs30.
Today you follow the Eyrieux down to get back on the former railtrack. The hills melt away progressively as you approach the Rhône Valley.
Maybe you can be tempted to take a refreshing dip in the river beneath one of the old romanesque bridges?
Remarkable chestnut forests and abundant orchards prosper in the fertile ground - mouthwatering!
Dinner and night in 3 star hotel.
From Charmes sur Rhône to Tournon
42 km with total uphill 630 metres. Level 3/5. Duration about 4hrs30.
This ride back to Tournon is certainly the most demanding. It's also the most varied in terms of landscape, views and ups-and-downs! You really have to take care along the way as there are lots of crossroads and turns. The climb by the former tramway trail and the ride down to Tournon are among the most enjoyable and exhilarating of the entire day.
Dinner and night at the first hotel you stayed at.
3 star hotels, 3 'épis' hostelries and guest houses.
Detailed roadbook and routemarked maps are provided.
Update GPS tracks.
Logistical and technical assistance.
Transfer from Tournon to Lamastre by steam train or by taxi
Picnics for the whole trip from :
Adult or junior : - €
Bike rental from :
Bike for adult or junior : 120 €
Bike cart for child : 65 €
Child seat : 10 €
Electric power bike rental for adult or junior: 195 €
What's not included?
Parking for your vehicle throughout the holiday : private parking to pay directly at the hotel or public parking in the street
Beverage and extra
Return transfer from Home to the first accomodation
Facultative cancellation and repatriation insurance
Characteristics of circuits
Cycle holiday without guide.
Daily stages between 17 and 60 kms, from 2 to 5hrs cycling at your own pace.
Daily uphill between zero and 750 metres.
Altitudes: between 100 and 1,100 metres.
Most of the time you are on tarmacked roads or earth tracks.
Bike required: country bike (all-purpose).
These outings are much more about relaxed exploration than athletic performance. Your baggage is transported by us between overnight stops; 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 star/"épis" guest houses or hotels chosen for their atmosphere, warm welcome, environmental and architectural setting. Holiday includes half board. Picnics are extra and may be ordered at reservation.
N.B : the accommodation described above is given as an indication and may have to be modified according to availability at the moment when final reservation is confirmed.
Highway A7 exit 13 Tournon sur Rhône
Airport Marseille-Provence or airport Lyon St-Exupéry + train to Tain l'hermitage railway station + taxi to the accomodation (5 mn)
Gare SNCF Tain l'hermitage (railway station) situated 20 mn far by foot or 5 mn taxi to the accomodation
We're delighted with our first Safrantours adventure in the Ardèche region.
Everything was perfectly organised and the stay was extremely enjoyable, with superb sceneries and very friendly and welcoming hosts. The food was excellent.
A breath of fresh air in a beautiful natural setting!
Thank you Safrantours
(translated from french)
Nous avons été heureux de croiser la route de Safrantours. Merci.
Une belle découverte pour nous. Des hôtels bien choisis, un accueil chaque fois chaleureux et sympathique. Une restauration de qualité partout. Un bel itinéraire bien étudié.
Séjour agréable pour amateurs de nature et de vélo. A recommander fortement.
Après avoir vu un reportage à la télé sur la Dolce Via, nous avons été très agréablement surpris et enchantés de découvrir ce circuit pour de vrai. Magnifiques paysages, nature verdoyante et variée, nous recommandons chaleureusement !
Logistique parfaite ! On se laisse conduire de chemin en chemin, à notre rythme, juste à suivre le roadbook et se laisser accueillir par les hébergements qui sont, chaque fois, une belle surprise.
Merci pour l'organisation sans faille. Nous avons passés une formidable semaine en famille !
Séjour au calme loin des grands axes routiers qui permet une bonne déconnexion avec la vie quotidienne.
Une belle aventure en famille qui nous a fait découvrir une région. A refaire.
Une façon détendue et agréable de découvrir des lieux peu fréquentés.
If you really want to get away from it all, the Drôme department provides a genuine change of scene.
The circuit starts and finishes in the Valley of the Drôme. You'll enjoy cycling along the quiet little roads of the Bourdeaux area,…
If you've got an irresistible urge to get away from it all, the Drôme is here to offer you a complete change of scenery. The tour starts and finishes in the Drôme valley.
It will take you along the quiet little roads of the Bourdeaux…