Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gorges De L'Ardèche

The Ardèche is a river about 120 kilometers long that dumps into the Rhône in northern Provence. As it descends from its source in the Massif Central, the river cuts deep ravines through some amazing scenery. The river gorge has become a favorite destination for summer day-trippers, campers, and kayakers.

Kayakers/canoers take a breather on the Ardèche river.

We drove downriver along the D-290 from around Vallon-Pont-d'Arc to the Ardèche's confluence with the Rhône at Pont-St-Esprit. The guide book says it's a trip of about 60 kilometers, but to count on a whole day to do the drive. I think this is for several reasons.

The river cuts through its canyon.

First, you will want to stop along the way to look at the amazing scenery and take pictures. Second, you've got to eat lunch. And third, the road is very curvy as it hugs the cliffs and the going is slow, especially when you're behind fifteen cars and ten of them are pulling trailers.

The little white dots on the water are canoes and kayaks.

We did the trip rather quickly since it was later in the day, we had already eaten lunch, and we didn't stop as much as we could have. We needed to find a place to stay for the night, because the next day we were supposed to check into our rental house.

A collection of blue canoes and/or kayaks on a rocky beach.

There are, of course, myriad stopping points, hiking trails, campgrounds, and other distractions along the way. We missed most of them on this trip, and we haven't been back in the fourteen years since then. Maybe one of these days, now that we live here...

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