Just when I thought it would never stop raining, it did and today the weather has just got better and better. The sun improves everything and although much of the walking was a bit dull it was a good day.
It's been a different GR everyday and today was no exception. Having left Villefort on the GR 44 a few days ago, I switched to the GR 4 at Les Vans, leaving that at Saint-Martin d'Ardeche heading north today on the GR 42 before finishing on the GR 429 heading east. It's been complicated but once on the GR 9, which I should hit late tomorrow, I follow that all way to the Swiss border.
After returning to the hotel to pick up my IPhone I finally got out of Saint-Martin d'Ardeche at about 8.45 going past the single track road bridge I walked over yesterday. The first few kilometres of the walk went through mixed vine and arable countryside and as the mist cleared it was a pleasant walk.
|Bridge at St Martin d'Ardeche|
|Vineyards to the north of St Martin d'Ardeche|
Went past a war memorial on side of the road from a sister for her brother who had been killed within days of the outbreak of the first world war. The memorial amazingly had fresh flowers at it's base.
Climbing higher the countryside reverted to the scrubby evergreen oak I had been walking through yesterday. Went underneath some monumental power cables and after a while worked out that I was heading west along GR 4 variant, the GR 4 F, and saw a sign saying I was on the E4! This is the only E4 sign I have seen in France and as far as I am concerned it shouldn't be there. Ignoring the navigational inconsistency I managed to revert to my version of the E4 and was soon heading north again.
|First French E4 sign confirms I'm on the wrong route|
Saw two more wild boar on the path, they were sitting in the sun but shot off as I walked past. Didn't realise they were so stripy.
Dropping down again I was soon into fields of peaches and cherries. Cherries are starting to get past it and the peaches just need a few more days.
Then arrived at the wonderful village of St Montan, an absolutely stunning medieval village, ancient houses all surrounding a castle perched on a hill. Would have been a lovely place to stay but so would Viviers the town on the west side of the bank of the River Rhone. Lots of Roman buildings here, including a Roman bridge you cross on the way into town.
|Bridge before Viviers|
As it was I crossed the Rhone and stayed at the Chateauneuf du Rhone, which sounds nice but is a bit of a dump. Thanks for the Trappist monk suggestion from Carole and David, sounds brilliant, unfortunately I had already committed to walking to Dieulefit with a booking there. So it's a long day tomorrow, today was also long enough, 32 kilometres and 900 metres of climb.
|Crossing the Rhone|
Yeah, I was also wondering about that E4 sign there in the woods north of St. Maurcie d'Ardeche. Quite an unexpected sight. Seems like there is some confusion whether the official route is along the GR 4F or the GR 4. Both join again around Salavas. Coming from the North, I took the southern route along the GR 4 which brings you closer to the Ardeche and is probably much nicer.ReplyDelete
By the way,there is another very nice French E4 sign in the old town of Beaufort sur Gervanne. I probably have a picture somewhere in my travel journal.
Nice to hear from you and thanks for your comments. Like you I don't think the E4 route always makes the very best choice given the countryside available, usually does but not always. The route through the Ardeche and up to the Vercors did involve a lot of "scrubb" like countryside which I was got a bit fed up with. Very much like your web site by the way.