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Perched, fortified, sunny: the five most beautiful villages in the south of Ardèche


Nestled against the cliff or surrounded by vineyards, these five Ardèche villages with their lanes steeped in history exude the garrigue and the sweetness of life.

Picturesque, discreet, perched, fortified, bathed in light… They dot the Ardèche, a territory prized for its gentle rurality and its omnipresent nature.

They are the very many and very pretty villages with an assertive personality, tightened around a bell tower, a castle, a shady square where you can sit down gladly after a walk in the market and before going to the market. '' go and explore the winding streets full of flowers.

We have - with difficulty - selected five, located in southern Ardèche, which embody an ideal of simple and peaceful life, in harmony with the course of the seasons and close to peaceful nature.

True open-air history books, these five enchanting villages allow you to taste the Ardèche art of living, between the roughness of the landscapes and the softness of the inhabitants.

To be visited preferably with seasonal wings to avoid the summer crowds.

They are classified according to their distance from Montélimar station, from the closest to the most distant.

Read also: Ardèche in the heart of nature: five experiences to live

Alba-la-Romaine, the most ancient

Alba-la-Romaine is dominated by a dark medieval castle built on a volcanic dyke.


A change of scenery for Alba-la-Romaine, a village located at the foot of the Coiron massif, between vineyards, forests and rivers. Dominated by a dark medieval castle built on a volcanic dyke, the former capital of the Helvians in Antiquity, forms a surprising labyrinth of houses with architecture mixing black basalt and white limestone, embedded in a network of cobbled alleys and arched. Emblematic place of this 2000-year-old city, listed as historical monuments, the Gallo-Roman theater in white stone with its stage open to the countryside is the most beautiful vestige of the archaeological site which also includes the ruins of a monumental center, 'a forum, a sanctuary… And a museum. If you are in the area in July, do not miss the fabulous Festival d'Alba which puts the spotlight onhonor the circus arts and heritage (July 9-14).

How to get there ?

Allow 4 hours by train from Paris to Montélimar, then 25 minutes by car to Alba-la-Romaine.

Or sleep ?

At La Musardière

, at Anita and Patrick's, a golden couple who offers five charming guest rooms (from € 70 per night, € 10 for breakfast), three independent lodgings (from € 434 per week, for one to 4 people) and a table d'hôtes (28 € per person) up to the reception!

La Musardière, Saint-Philippe-le-Bas, 2386, route de Valvignères, 07400 Alba-la-Romaine.


: 04 75 49 85 81.

Saint-Montan, the most medieval

Legend has it that Saint-Montan was founded in the 5th century by a hermit who came to seek calm in this small valley.

Adobe Stock / vassili59

Legend has it that Saint-Montan, a superb cadastral town built on a rocky outcrop, was founded in the 5th century by Montanus, a hermit who came to seek calm in this small valley, nestled between two rivers, on the border of the Drôme.

Saved from the ruins by a handful of volunteers in the 1970s, the village, perfectly restored stone by stone and on the back of a man, is organized around the remains of its imposing 12th century fortified castle.

From this promontory, the gaze embraces the green valley in the distance, and in the foreground, the stone houses pressed against the fortified walls, the stepped alleys and the Sainte-Marie-Madeleine church.

How to get there ?

Allow 4 hours by train from Paris to Montélimar, then 30 minutes by car to Saint-Montan.

A table ?

The Cicada and the Ant

, in Larnas.

Located 3 km from Saint-Montan, this eminently friendly little restaurant smells of Sunday lunches as a tribe.

In the kitchen, the young chef Alexandre transcends local products.

La Cigale et la Fourmi, 15 Lot Sainte-Agnès, 07220 Larnas.

Phone: 09 70 35 96 97.

Read also: Where to sleep in Drôme-Ardèche?

Our five charming hotels

Vogüé, the most photogenic

Vogüe is recognizable by its superb castle flanked by imposing towers.

Adobe Stock /

Did you like Balazuc? You will love Vogüé. Ten kilometers to the north, on the banks of the Ardèche river, Vogüé is a small medieval village full of charm. Built in an amphitheater at the foot of a cliff, recognizable by its superb castle flanked by imposing towers, characteristic of the style of the Bastides d'Oc, it exudes an already Mediterranean atmosphere with its beach along the river and its houses tightly packed with medieval arcades. In addition to its castle, a fort redeveloped in the 17th century which will host an exhibition on Aboriginal art from July 4 to November 1, and the magnificent hanging garden which adjoins it, you should not miss a visit to the Romanesque chapel of Sainte-Cerice. Built on the rock, accessible by a path marked out in yellow and white, it offers an ideal point of view to immortalize the village at theblue hour, just after dusk.

How to get there ?

Allow 4 hours by train from Paris to Montélimar, then 40 minutes by car to Vogüé.

Or sleep ?

Les Carriers guest house,

for its five bright rooms and its panoramic view of the Ardèche valley, the mere contemplation of which soothes the soul.

From 140 € per night in a double room with breakfast.

Table d'hôtes in low season only (October to May): € 28 per person.

Les Carriers, 850 Montée des Carriers, 07200 Vogüé.

Phone: 06 84 43 35 73.

Read also: Our selection of 2021 guest rooms in the South-West

Balazuc, the most prehistoric

Balazuc is built on a rock face.

Adobe Stock / Mikael Damkier

Built in the grandiose setting of the Gorges de l'Ardèche, inhabited since prehistoric times, Balazuc is built on the side of the rock, overlooking the river. Before venturing into its winding alleys punctuated with arcades and staircases, cross the bridge that spans the river and, from the opposite bank, take the time to admire the houses tightened around the old feudal castle which has been altered several times. retaining a 10th century keep and the Romanesque double-nave church. On this same bank, following the Ardèche for 15 minutes, you arrive at Vieil Audon, a picturesque hamlet renovated by volunteers with respect for ancestral know-how. Back in Balazuc, classified among the “most beautiful villages in France”, let the medieval charm act and navigate from artisanal shops to cafes.

How to get there ?

Allow 4 hours by train from Paris to Montélimar, then 45 minutes by car to Balazuc.

A museum ?

The Muséum de l'Ardèche

, an astonishing place dedicated to the origins of the Ardèche, which houses a collection of fossils in an exceptional state of conservation and offers many workshops for children.

Ardèche Museum, La Croisette, 07120 Balazuc.


: 04 28 40 00 35.

Read also: In southern Ardèche, travel to the heart of prehistory

Labeaume, the most artistic

The feudal city of Labeaume dominates the eponymous river.

Adobe Stock / Harald Biebel

It is the southernmost village of our selection. Emerging from an ocean of greenery and rock, a tangle of holm oaks, olive trees, prickly pears and limestone cliffs carved out of troglodyte caves, the feudal city of Labeaume dominates the eponymous river. Long neglected, it now appeals to artisans and artists, like the painter Jacques Kikoïne, known as Yankel, who died last year, whose works are exhibited all over the world. A maze of alleys and flowered calades, plane trees more than a hundred years old on the Place du Sablas, artisan shops, a small bridge with eleven arcades, the hanging gardens of Récatadou, the fig tree conservatory ... To enjoy the best view of this charming village, which hosts the Labeaume en musiques festival every summer (from June 5 to 19), climb toat the belvedere, at the top of the cliffs (15 minutes on foot).

How to get there ?

Allow 4 hours by train from Paris to Montélimar, then 1 hour by car to Labeaume.

A table ?

Le Bec Figue

, located on the church square, a no-frills country bistro serving tasty grandmother's cuisine that has been brought up to date.

Le Bec Figue, place de l'Église, 07120 Labeaume.


: 04 75 35 13 32.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-05-05

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