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The secret gorges of Ardeche The hardly known gorges and roads of the Ardeche region deserve to be discovered says Lucy Pitts as she wends her way south of France... The Ardèche and its winding roads and inspiring views is a surprisingly quiet corner of southern France. It’s at the very south of the Rhône Alpes region, flirting with both northern Provence and the Languedoc. There’s a hint of the Garrigue in the rugged landscape and you’re just a hair’s breath from the lavender fields and olive trees of the Drôme. At times you can almost feel the Alpes to the east but the Ardèche has its own unique personality that shifts and changes with the landscape; at times Mediterranean, then Alpine, then almost Grecian.
There’s all sort of reasons to visit here, especially in early September when the tourists have all but left but the sun is still warm. And one of the best reasons to come has be the Ardèche Gorges Nature Reserve and the surrounding area. And that’s where the yurt comes in. From the small town of Vallon Pont d’Arc about an hour and a half south west of Valence, take the tourist route signed to the Pont d’Arc. Although the map might try and persuade you otherwise, it’s not the bendiest road in the Ardèche (that’s further north) but it must come in a close second. Drive through the rock face of the great cliffs that surround the road (yes I mean through) and after a couple of miles, you’ll find a small sign announcing the Prehistoric Loges on your right, snuggled down discretely between the road and the river.
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