Stage 10 - Walking through the Ardeche

Leaving the Cevennes National Park, Stage 10 of the E4 takes you through the southern end of the Parc Naturel Regional de Mont d'Ardeche, cut through by the famous Gorge D'Ardeche.  Over four, fairly easy days, the route takes you through some stunning limestone scenary providing a link between the Massif Central and the pre-alpine Vercors.  The plan is to go from Villefort to Chateauneuf-du-Rhone which has excellent transport links.  This involves a distance of around 115 kms, a gain of 2,500 metres and a loss of 3,000.

Day one is a 29 km walk to Berrias-Casteljau. Leaving Villefort, heading east, and walking through the high Cevennes for about 15 kms you arrive literally at the edge of the Rhone Valley (could be views across to the Alps) before heading downhill steeply to Les Vans (22 kms).  Les Vans, which is the southern gateway the Parc Naturel Regional de Mont D'Archeche, looks great and has plenty of accommodation but in the interests of pushing on I plan to go a bit further.  Shortly after Les Vans (now tracking the GR 4) you start to follow to course of the Gorge d'Ardeche  and Berrias-Casteljau is located close to it.

Gorge d'Ardeche
Day two is a short 22 km walk to Vallon Pont d'Arc .  The first 10 km is through cultivated countryside after which you climb a bit and again track the Gorge d'Ardeche.  Although you could go further, Vallon Pont d'Arc is a famous Gorge beauty spot and a good place for a leisurely afternoon.

Natural limestone "bridge" at Vallon Pont d'Arc
Slightly longer walk on day three but 35 km of fairly flat countryside so not too bad.  Again your tracking the Gorge until after about 25 km you "emerge" at Saint- Martin-D'Ardeche.  There are lots of places to stay.

It should be possible to make Chateaneuf-du-Rhone on Day 4.  It's at least 33 kms but the countryside is fairly gentle with 700 metres of climb and descent.  If time is not pressing than Saint Montan would be a great place to stay after about 20 kms.







St Montan

2 comments:

  1. To confuse ambitious ramblers, there is a E4 and a GR4. The E4 is a European trail through many countries. The GR4 (Grande Randonnee 4) is a strictly French affair. Although they meet, they are not the same.
    Your Day 4 as planned, follows the GR4 rather than the E4, which does not cross the Rhône and does not actually pass through Pont-Saint-Esprit.
    From Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche (where you might sleep), E4 follows GR42 via Saint-Marcel-d'Ardèche through the forrest of Laoul and via Saint-Montant to Saint-Ostian, from where E4 follows GR429 across the river Rhône.
    Châteauneuf-du-Rhône is an excellent town for a longer break, not just because it is at about 25 KM from Saint-Maurice-d'Ardèche, but because it is on the most important railway line of France. Not far from the international airport of Lyon, it could be the place where you leave the track for a short but necessary visit home or where your wife arrives to meet you.

    Menno

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  2. Hi Menno

    Have updated the blog to take account of your comments, many thanks

    ReplyDelete