We then drove back to our gite for lunch, and in the afternoon we drove to Ruoms, parked, and took a marked walk down to and along the Ardeche river, and then back up along the gorges. It was far more arduous than we had expected, and if it wasn’t for some assistance from another walker who knew how to navigate he cliffs along the river, we might have had to turn back halfway through.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
THE SOUTHERN ARDECHE
Lyon on Saturday, April 3, and after a stop at a wine producer in the northern Ardeche, we drove to our gite in Pradons, in the southern Ardeche, where we would be spending the next week. The next morning, Easter Sunday, we did some food shopping in the nearby town of . After lunch at our gite, we drove a little south to Ruoms La Bastide de Virac, where we visited the Chateau de Roure, which dates from the 12th Century and was inhabited continuously until the 20th Century. It’s now run as a museum, and we took a tour of the chateau, which included an explanation of the silk worm industry. Silk production was a major industry in the southern Ardeche for several hundred years, and the chateau was a major silk producer. The industry died a number of years ago, although attempts are being made to revive it.
On the way back to Pradons we stopped in the
and drove into the hills, then drove by the Chateau de Sampzon at the foot of the village. village of Sampzon
Monday morning we took a walk from our gite, and crossed the main road into the village center of Pradons. After passing through the center of the village, we took a detour at Domaine Mazel, a wine producer that had been recommended to us last year, as well as by the owner of the gite we were staying at. We tasted their wines, accompanied by young vigneron Jerome Mazel and his parents. I plan to write something more detailed about the wines later, but for now, it’s sufficient to say that all the wines were outstanding.
That afternoon, we took a drive to Alba
la Romaine, where we visited the village as well as the nearby Roman ruins. In Alba we were greeted by a friendly village cat.
After leaving Alba, we drove through the hills towards Saint Montan. The drive was somewhat hair raising, as a good part of it was on narrow roads where there was barely enough room for oncoming cars to pass. But when we saw the
, it made it all worthwhile. Saint Montan is a fortified village perched high on a hill overlooking the river, and the view from below up to the town is spectacular. village of Saint Montan
The next morning we drove to Largantiere, a town to the northwest with a chateau and a Tuesday morning market. We spent a good part of the morning wandering around the town and the market, picking up provisions for lunch and taking a walk up to the chateau.
After leaving Largentiere, we drove out of town towards
, a nearby town with another chateau. What should have been a short drive took ages, as a good part of it was along a narrow road that we hoped would come out on a real road (it did). We then finished the drive to Montreal , which, besides the chateau, had a friendly cat and a pretty town square. Montreal