Gorges de l'ardeche

May 2nd, 2002, 04:37 AM
  #1  
Barb
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Gorges de l'ardeche

Has anyone visited the gorges. I have been to the gorges du tarn and thought it was beautiful. How does ardeche compare? How long does it take to drive the whole route? Are there any particularly nice villages nearby to spend the night?
 
May 2nd, 2002, 05:27 AM
  #2  
Dominic
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Barb,
stayed relatively near 18 months ago at Uzes. near enough for us to drive to Vallon Pont d'arc and hire a canoe to paddle downstream where we were picked up at the end of the afternoon (total paddling time + picnic break = 6 hours).
It was undoubtedly the absolute highlight of all my many visits to France.
The scenery as we paddled down the gorges was stunning and the wildlife amazing (eagle owl, egrets, a spoonbill(!)etc.) The "rapids" were none too daunting but exciting enough and there was someone at the first or second set to take a photo who had it developed to send back to you at the end of the trip.
Note:- I had never canoed in my life and am not a very strong swimmer so was delighted to see life gaurds posted at each of the rapids we passed. We did the canoe in September when the river is at its lowest.
I can not recommend this experience enough!!!!!!!!! Do it!!!!!
 
May 2nd, 2002, 07:04 AM
  #3  
Dominic
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Sorry Barb, that was a bit rushed.

Should have said "sell to you at the end of the trip" (re: photo)

At the end of the trip you get picked up by a minibus and driven back to Vallon which takes about 30 mins I suppose. The views of the Gorge are not that great and I've often heard it said that to appreciate them you have to get down into them.

I did have a very aching arm the next day but am only moderately fit and I dont see why anybody of moderate fitness shouldn;t be able to accomplish this trip.

It cost about 350FF for a two man canoe, and 2 life vests with minimal formalities and instruction. Everyone speaks English and there are loads of operators in Vallon... its very much geared up to people just like my fiancée and I turning up on spec and having a go. You need to set out from vallon by 10am to enjoy the experience but it was really something else. I can not urge you enough, if at all possible, to get out of your car for the day and experience the gorges at close hand.

Whatever you choose to do... enjoy it!!!
 
May 2nd, 2002, 09:47 AM
  #4  
Nikki
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Ten years ago, my husband and I drove through the Gorges de l'Ardeche. It probably took less than an hour one way, including stopping for pictures at the many spots with great views. I found it very scenic and a nice drive.

Many, many people were canoeing, looked like a great idea and the description by Dominic sounds spectacular.
 
May 3rd, 2002, 01:44 AM
  #5  
topper
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topping:- i'm going this summer and would love to hear more about the gorges, the canoeing and where to stay. Is Vallon a pretty town? Any B&B suggestions?
 
Jun 26th, 2002, 08:19 AM
  #6  
ingrid
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Dominic,
would the canoeing be appropriate for kids (11 and 13), or is it "to dangerous"?
Also, doe snaybody know of any nice vacation rental suitable for 4 adults and 2 kids in the area?
 
Jun 26th, 2002, 01:09 PM
  #7  
Lynne
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Uzes is an enchanting town relatively
close to the gorge - beautiful leafy
square with cafes; v interesting chateau; pretty surroundings - quite
'quiet' 'cause it's slightly off the
tourist trail.

St.Martin is the village at the end
of the gorge - not sure of hotels.

Another stunning drive (no canoeing,
no water!) is the Gorge du Nesque
by Mazan. It has a 'wall of wax'
created by wild bees that is quite
amazing.

The water on the Ardeche was quite low
three weeks ago.
 
Jun 26th, 2002, 01:11 PM
  #8  
Lynne
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Should have mentioned there is an
information centre half way through
the drive along the rim. I thought
there were quite a few outlooks with
great views of the gorge.
 
Jun 27th, 2002, 01:49 AM
  #9  
Dominic
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Ingrid,
The Canoeing would be very suitable for your children. I think they should both be competent swimmers and I would want to accompany them if I were you.
You can hire either two-man "canadians" which is what my finacée and I did or individual kayaks which your children would probably prefer... they'd certainly have an element of independence in those if you wished them to!
Each canoeist is issued with a watertight barrel which straps onto his/her canoe. Into this you can put clothes, picnic etc. I would strongly recommend you give the children a disposable camera each to take some pics with on their trip. That way if it falls into the river its not the end of the world but hopefully they'll keep it dry and have a wonderful record of their adventure.
One last point... the final 2 or 3 kms is a long stretch with aching limbs. You'll need to be close at hand to encourage and cajole them and don't plan on doing too much the following day except having a long lie-in in the morning and a lazy day around the pool. And they'll sleep like babies for a couple of days too! (as will you!)

I really, really hope you do this as I know you'll just have the best time ever. And don't forget your picnic and some bottled water and suncream... it's easy to get burnt!

Have fun!
Dominic
 
Jun 27th, 2002, 04:24 AM
  #10  
Ron
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For luxury accomodations, the Chateau Montcaud in Bagnols-sur-Ceze is close by.
 
Jun 28th, 2002, 02:20 AM
  #11  
topper
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Topping for Ingrid
 
Jun 28th, 2002, 03:00 AM
  #12  
Simon
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This sounds like fun!
I did a search on Yahoo and found the following excellent site. It may be of interest to anyone contemplating a day in a Kayak (I am now!)
http://www.aventure-canoes.fr/english/index.html

DominicBR>How far/long is Uzes to the Gorges? Is it a good place to stay? what else can you see/do from Uzes?

Thanks!
 

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