We will refund you the difference plus an extra 5% discount off your stay. Contact us on 0203 475 4756.
- If you find the exact same product (same dates, same residence, same type of accommodation, same reservation conditions) on sale elsewhere cheaper than we offer, we will refund you the difference.
- To qualify for this reimbursement, the offer price seen elsewhere must be recorded at the same time as booking with us, and you must send us proof of the price seen elsewhere (screenshot or scanned document).
- Offer only available on destinations directly managed by Madame Vacances.
Located in the south of France in the stunning countryside, Ardèche is an area renowned for its beauty and many activities. The landscape includes undulating hills and valleys, lush green fields and pristine rivers, as well as shady forests and pretty little towns. Making up the southwest corner of the Rhone Alps region, there is snow here in the winter and sunshine in the summer season. Hire a car and explore the many smaller villages of the area, with plenty of history and culture just waiting to be discovered here.
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Some of the most popular towns to explore in the area include Privas, Largentiere and Joyeuse, as well as Balazuc and Vogue. Families will find plenty of activities in the region, with the mountains and forests providing rivers for kayaking and other water sports, while the forests are home to trails of varying difficulty. Couples will enjoy the many serene towns and natural surroundings, while groups of friends will also find plenty on offer.
Things to do
One of the most popular parts of the Ardèche landscape is its beautiful gorges. Known as the European Grand Canyon, this series of gorges is surrounded by dramatic scenery filled with lush landscapes, and a river at the bottom. Visitors can hire a car and drive to the gorges or canoe along the Ardèche River, taking in the many sights along the way. The river leads to its own beach where visitors can spend the day relaxing, or take a picnic before making their way back through the gorge. Within the gorge there is also a pretty town, Vallon Pont d'Arc, which is home to sun drenched streets lined with cafés and restaurants for al fresco dining.
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The plateau of the Coirons is another must visit on any holiday in Ardèche, and offers truly breathtaking views. Here guests can hike and enjoy the views of the valleys, visiting the pretty farmhouses and hamlets which are scattered around. Home to fertile farmland, this area is an excellent place to stop off at one of the farm shops and pick up delicious locally grown goods such as cheese, meats and vegetables. Rock climbing is also available in the national park, and ideal for those wanting to really explore, and get to know this stunning park. Easier trails can also be found for those travelling with the family, and most of the tourist offices in the towns will provide maps which will point you in the right direction.
Those wanting to soak in the history and culture of this area of France will find plenty to keep them occupied throughout their stay. The Ardèche villages of character are known for their pretty stone buildings and cobbled streets, and many are perched on the hillsides with views out over the landscape. Each of these villages is committed to preserving its historical feel, and guests will find the locals keen to give tips and advice when visiting. Just some of the 17 villages of character in Ardèche include Jaujac, Naves, Beauchastel and Vinezac.
For historic towns with incredible architecture along with beautiful castles, Lamastre and Nozieres are located in the north of the region, and are ideal for a day trip. Both villages are built around these landmarks and offer opportunities for shopping, as well as some excellent restaurants, cafés and bars. Children will enjoy a trip to Tournon from where there is a steam train which runs through the countryside and gorges, as well as easy access to the Safari de Peaugres. Here children will love seeing the wolves, elephants, zebras and monkeys up close.
The Ardèche Caves are another top attraction in the area, with visitors coming from miles to see these fascinating natural examples. The Aven d'Orgnac is the most famous, with three rooms open to the public and displays on mining for gems, interesting lighting and useful information available in the guidebook. Alternatively, the Grotte de la Madeleine offers fascinating rock formations, interesting facts and a little café for lunch. For further stunning landscapes the Gorges du Chassezac offer river beaches, and an abandoned village formed in the Middle Ages, ideal for those wanting to explore both the history and landscape of this unique area of France. If you're looking for more natural wonders the Mont Gerbier de Jonc is an extinct volcano with difficult hiking trails, which are worth the views from the top. And the Cascade du Ray Pic is a waterfall idea for hikers and those wanting to enjoy swimming in the crystal clear waters.
Eating and drinking
The Ardèche area, like most places in France, is known for its excellent food and incredibly fresh ingredients. Guests will find it easy to stay healthy here, with indulgent food sitting side by side with fresh salad full of local ingredients and delicious vegetables. Sweet chestnuts and potatoes are staples of the diet here, with some incredible sweet dishes and desserts to be found in most of the villages. Some of the most traditional dishes include a pork haggis made with cabbage and minced pork, sausages with roasted vegetables, glazed sweet chestnuts and a sweet chestnut soup.
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L'Olivier de Paiolive is one of the top rated restaurants in the area, and can be found in a beautiful old French farmhouse building in les Vans. Guests can enjoy an interesting bar area in the evenings, with local meats, cheeses, breads, wines and deserts on the menu. For something more child-friendly, with dishes for even the pickiest eaters, La Maison de Nany serves up seafood, fresh and cured meats, cheeses and more. Alternatively, Les Domaine des Dames offers chic interiors and dishes to match, while Le P'tit Bistrot in Saint Montan hearty dishes and a relaxed, pub atmosphere. If you're looking to splash out Restaurant Brioude is in Meyras and offers delicately presented dishes with lots of local favourites on offer.
Most of the tourist information centres in the Ardèche region will be able to provide a list of recommended babysitters and nannies, most of whom are bilingual. For crèches and children's clubs only a very few hotels provide services, although some will have babysitting on offer for guests.
Most of the villages in the area of Ardèche are very small and offer free street side parking, and it's usually easy to find a space. The larger towns do have car parks, while most of the main attractions, such as the gorges, have easily available parking spaces nearby.