Vallon-Pont-d'Arc

The Pont d'Arc over the River Ardèche

Vallon-Pont-d'Arc is a town and commune in the Ardèche département, in south of France.

Nearby cave of Pont d’Arc, known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, decorated by well preserved prehistoric drawings of human figures and animals was inscribed to the World Heritage list in 2014.

Get in

By public transport

There's a TER bus that runs around 4 times a day from Montelimar and Valence TGV, both of which have a TGV train service.

Get around

By public transport

There's a free minibus that travels between Vallon (the town) and Pont d'Arc (the geological feature), a trip of about 20 minutes. It is roughly hourly, but with a long gap in service around lunch time (as at summer 2007). You can flag it down to pick you up (or ask to be dropped off) more or less anywhere along the route: it passes many of the town's camp sites.

If you want to hire a canoe, and are without a car, then choose to hire it from somewhere that is as near as possible to where you want to be at the end of the trip. You can hire a canoe directly from most of the camp sites; at the end of your canoe trip you will be brought back to where you hired it from. For example, at Camping de L'Ile, you can hire a canoe from Claude Mialon.

By canoe

Canoe is the best way to truly enjoy the beauty of the river. There are a lot of spots along the river where you can stop to enjoy the view or to swim. However, as this is a nature reservation area, there are only 2 sites designated for camping: "Gaud" or "Gournier", both can be reached by canoe.

By car

Beware the traffic jams along the river road, especially around 5pm in the busy summer period.

See

Vallon-Pont-d'Arc Town Hall

Do

  • 1-day canoeing: Start between 8 and 10PM and finish at around 5PM (24 or 30 km)
  • 2-day canoeing: Start between 9AM and 2PM. Camping is only allowed within the 2 designated sites, Gaud or Gournier.
If you come by car, you can park at the canoe operator at Saint Martin d'Ardèche, and from there you will be brought by bus to the starting point. Plastic barrels are provided to keep your things dry during the trip. Bring enough water and food to last at least 7 hours. Protect yourself as well as possible from the sun burn (i.e. use sun protection cream and re-apply often, wear sunglasses and hat).

Sleep

A wild goat in the Réserve naturelle nationale des gorges de l'Ardèche

Camping

There are loads of camp sites around the town, many of which have direct river access to the Ardeche river. If you're looking for something simple, try:

If you want to camp in the Gorge as part of a two day canoe (or hiking) trip, you need to book in advance into one of two 'bivouwacs'. Numbers are strictly limited (250 per site during the week and 500 at weekends, as at summer 2007):

Stay safe

For water activity

Respect

Some areas are categorized as nature reservation, so

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, September 28, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.