Take a tour off the beaten tracks in northern Provence
Slice Of France

Slice Of France

The Ardèche Canyon or the Gorges

The Gorges de l'Ardèche  also called the Ardeche Canyon is a series of gorges in the river Ardèche, in the French department Ardèche, forming a thirty-kilometre long canyon running from Vallon-Pont-d'Arc to Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche.
The lower part of the gorge forms the boundary between the Ardèche department and the Gard department. The canyon is a tourist attraction, drawing over a million visitors per year, in addition to a rich historical and archeological site such as the most recent discovered and the most valued around the world the Chauvet Cave registered on the UNESCO World heritage list. It features the world oldest and best preserved painting.This cave will soon be copied in order to be visited as the largest replica the Cavern of the Pont d'Arc.
Most of the canyon is protected; it is governed by the Réserve Naturelle Gorges de l'Ardèche. Notable sights along the canyon include the Pont d'Arc at the beginning of the canyon, a natural arch 60 m wide and 54 m high. Much of the canyon is inaccessible except by water, and canoeing and kayaking are popular sports on the river. Overnight camping is not allowed, except for at two bivouac shelters.The cliffs offer habitat to rare birds such as the Bonelli's Eagle.Humans have lived in caves in the area for over 300,000 years. Over 2,000 caves are found in the gorge, some of them painted.