The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

11 months ago

Winter 2022

  • Text
  • Giveaways
  • Recipes
  • Christmas
  • France
  • Vineyards
  • Villages
  • Medieval
  • Provence
Discover France’s magical winter wonderland destinations - from the French Alps to the French Riviera. Read about the biggest bûche de Noël, Christmas log cake, in the world and see Paris when it snows. Head to the sweet village of Flavigny in Burgundy where the film Chocolat was filmed and to Rouen, the Ardèche region and Côtes du Rhône. Go gaga for gorgeous Gascony and feel festive at the colourful Christmas market of Metz, Lorraine.Toulouse, feel good films, recipes, guides and giveaways…

Tumbling rivers and

Tumbling rivers and spectacular caverns, ancient villages and chestnut orchards. Gillian Thornton takes a leisurely journey through the heart of Ardèche. Aurignacian Gallery at Chauvet 2 Be amazed by ARDÈCHE Grotte-Chauvet-2-vue-du-ciel-©NEOS-Films France is home to some spectacular painted caves, each one with its own USP. But there’s nowhere quite like the Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, discovered in 1994 by three cavers deep beneath a limestone plateau in the rural department of Ardèche, Auvergne- Rhone-Alpes. More than 1000 animals gallop and graze across its textured walls, skilfully painted 36,000 years ago by people who hunted them for food but revered them enough to depict them on the cavern walls. Why? We can only guess. I’m standing in front of a group of horses with bristly manes, each head in a different position. One animal has its mouth open in surprise, another its eyes shut in pain, and another has ears back in anger. In front of Vogue Vallon Pont d'Arc them is a rhinoceros, his huge horn a warning to any would-be combatants. On another wall, I spot a massive bison that seems to have eight legs until I look closer and see there’s a second beast behind him. Everywhere I look I sense movement. I can almost hear the pounding of hooves, the snorts of breath, and grunts of animals in fight or flight mode. The hundreds of paintings in Grotte Chauvet depict 14 different species, some never or rarely seen in other paintings from the period. Fierce creatures like lions and leopards, mammoths and cave bears, but an owl too, unique in Palaeolithic art. It’s spine tingling stuff and bizarrely all the more so when I remind myself it isn’t real. The original cave, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is too fragile to open to the public. So I’m standing in front of an extraordinary copy, the world’s largest replica of a decorated cave that is perfect in every minute detail. Grotte Chauvet 2 enables all of us to get up close and personal with Humanity’s first masterpiece, and to discover the whole back story through the excellent Aurignacian Gallery that completes this unmissable visitor attraction. But then there’s a lot about Ardèche that’s unmissable. ‘Be Amazed by Ardèche’ is the buzz line from the tourist board and they’re not wrong. One of France’s most sparsely populated departments, this unspoilt rural area nestles up to the west bank of the river Rhône for 135 km south of Lyon, part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. And yet many people pass by at speed, bound for the holiday spots of the Mediterranean. Turn off the Autoroute du Soleil however at Tournon-sur-Rhône or further south towards Privas and you’re in for a treat. Named after the river that flows east from the Ardèche 30 | The Good Life France Ardeche Gorges The Good Life France | 31