Information : The Dolce Via for families in 5 days
French / German
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 longer rides is also proposed for adults : 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 Le Cheylard
According to the train schedule* :
ride to station at Saint-Jean-de-Muzols (6km).
transfer aboard little train of the Vivarais to Lamastre (trip 1hr45).
On other days: taxi transfer from Tournon to Lamastre.
20.5 km with total uphill 270 metres. Level 2/5. Duration about 2hrs 45.
From Lamastre you cycle along the path of the former rail track, now transformed into a foot- and cycle path. It takes you all the way to Le Cheylard. The first part rises gently towards Les Nonnières. It's generally fairly smooth but there are some stony sections. After the tunnel beneath Les Nonnières, the track becomes more even.
All along the way you'll notice fine farms typical of the Ardeche department as well as impressive railway architecture.
Dinner and night in 2 star hotel with pool.
*the train is running :
- Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday in april, may, june, september and october
- From Sunday to Wednesday in July and August
- Everyday from 4.08 to 19.08
From Le Cheylard to Saint Barthélémy le Meil
19,6 km with total uphill 215 metres. Level 2/5. Duration around 2hrs.
The morning is spent in the town of Le Cheylard. The church, the castle and (on Wednesdays) the market are worth a good look.
In the afternoon you cycle to Saint Barthélémy le Meil, by following the river downstream. You'll see several watermills with millraces supplied by the river.
And you might like to enjoy a dip in the pool of Saint Barthélémy le Meil (open 1st July - 31st August from 13.00 hours to 18.00hrs.
Evening meal and night in B+B in a farmhouse.
From Saint Barthélémy le Meil to Les Ollières
23 km with total uphill 100 metres. Level 2/5. Duration around 2hrs30.
You descend the Valley of the Eyrieux to come to the former railway track. This is certainly the wildest countryside traversed by the old railway. Sometimes the going is rough and you have to dismount and walk a little. Just take your time; the scenery is great, the terraced countryside is impressive and there are abundant orchards on this fertile terrain. Mouthwatering!
Dinner and night in guesthouse along the Eyrieux river.
From Les Ollières to Saint Laurent du Pape
17 km with total uphill 20 metres. Level 1/5. Duration around 1hr 45.
You'll find the valley becomes more and more open, letting the sun brighten its slopes abundantly. It's in this part of the Eyrieux Valley that peach, apricot and cherry orchards thrive.
From St Laurent du Pape, transfer back to Tournon.
3 star hotels, 3 'épis' hostelries and guest houses.
Detailed roadbook (in French or English) and routemarked maps are provided.
Logistical and technical assistance.
Transfer from Tournon to Lamastre by steam train* or by taxi
* See train schedule in the programme on day 2
Picnics for the whole trip from :
Adult or junior : 44 €
Child : 28 €
Bike rental from :
Bike rental for adult or junior : 70 €
MTB for child : 40 €
Trailer bike : 40 €
Child seat : 8 €
Electric power bike for adult or junior: 110 €
What's not included?
Beverage and extra
Parking for your vehicle throughout the holiday : to pay directly
Round trip 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 roadbook will guide you from beginning to end, and we provide the logistical and technical support necessary.
Accommodation is in either 2 or 3 star/'épis' guest houses or hotels, chosen for their atmosphere, warm welcome and environmental and architectural setting. As the holidays are half-board, picnics are extra; you may like to order picnics when you book.
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
De bons moments passés en famille (en sécurité) et de belles rencontres.
The trip begins with a ride along the route of the old steam train which used to link Lamastre with Le Cheylard through the mountains of the Ardèche department. Then, after going from one valley to the next, you cycle alongside the turbulent…
A cycling holiday created especially for families. It's great fun to follow the river and its affluents along minor country roads and paths with very little traffic. Far off the cliffs of the Vercors Nature Park add a touch of grandeur to the…