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  • Writer's pictureJohann Chabert

5 typical villages in Southern Ardèche

After almost 6 months spent in Sanilhac, we had time to do a bit of sightseeing despite being quite busy with making the house ready to welcome guests. Ardèche is a paradise for nature lovers for sure, but the department is also a little gem for old stones lovers, thanks to its medieval villages filled with narrow streets. Here is our first favorites around Le Relais des Bouziges... which will grow as we go along.

1. Balazuc

From our guest house in Sanilhac, towards the famous Gorges de l'Ardèche - with a tiny detour -, this village offers an ideal location overlooking the Ardèche river. The view when from the opposite bank is magical. Here is an idea: a beautiful half-hour stroll along the river leads you to Viel-Audon, an old hamlet restored by the locals.

2. Jaujac

In the opposite direction, climbing into the mountains through chestnut groves above Largentière, Jaujac offers superb hiking opportunities, and the village itself is absolutely beautiful. The more recent part of the village, in which you will probably park, offers a large shaded square and a few nice cafes.

3. Ribes

Very close to the Relais des Bouziges, the villages of Ribes and Vernon face each other above the deep Beaume river valley. No surprises there, Ribes is an ideal playground for hikers... especially on the banks of the Alum, a small river with clear water. But also, as you walk from the tiny yet impressive church and wander in the overlooking neighborhoods, you will come across small marvels of centuries-old houses with terraces adorned with wisteria and multicolored flowerbeds.

4. Montreal

Arriving in Montreal, you will see the castle first, an imposing medieval architecture at the end of the village. Around it, small alleys, niches, back doors, discreet inner courtyards, all also beautifully flowered. If you feel brave enough, you can also walk down the valley, down to Largentière if you dare!

5. Joyeuse

Last - for today - a village we often go to: Joyeuse. Slightly bigger tow, which means... it has shops! Especially appreciated, a bakery open on Sundays, very useful when you have guest rooms! The old village is absolutely beautiful, and its main square with its "perched" church is a curiosity. Not to mention Wednesdays morning, one of the most popular markets in the region.

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