The Ardèche Adventure holiday week is centred around the canoe descent of the Ardèche river to the famous Pont-d’Arc. The descent takes two days during which our instructors will take care of you the whole way, helping you wrestle with rapids, encourage you to throw yourselves from rock jumps and swim through caves. One night is spent at a bivouac site deep in the heart of the gorge where you will drift off to sleep counting shooting stars.
No other company provides this trip with quite the same attention to detail. With over twenty years’ experience working in the Ardèche, Phil & Tammy and the Ardèche Adventure team have all the experience to make the 2 day descent safe, comfortable and enjoyable. They will supply you with tents, a fantastic barbecue as well as coffee and breakfast.
If you have chosen our Original, Softies or Activities programme, along with canoeing, you will experience a day at a high ropes course up in the pine forests of Villefort and another day climbing and abseiling in the limestone cliffs of the Chassezac gorge. On the final day we head off to the caves at Avenorgnac and finish the week with a relaxing trip to the beach. With a limited number of families per week, out holiday provides you with the opportunity to bond as a family and to form friendships with likeminded others.
Although we are happy to keep you occupied from dusk till dawn, our programme is not compulsory. There are plenty of other options such as bike tours, canyoning, and horse-riding to name but a few and there are many interesting places to visit if you wish to take some time out with your family.
Saturday - Arrival day where we leave you in peace to settle into your accommodation.
Sunday - Visit to local market in Lablachere followed by our welcome meeting & a run through of the week's itinerary.
Monday - Day of climbing & abseiling in Chassezac Gorge.
Tuesday - A day at a high ropes course in Villefort.
Wednesday - Begin the two day canoe descent through the Ardèche gorge where you will really appreciate the magnitude and beauty of the Ardeche. As well as negotiating many rapids along the way, we have time to swim and have lunch on the rivers edge. Arrive late afternoon at the bivouac site to set up camp and the team will prepare a delicious barbecue. The site is fully equipped with shower blocks and toilets. Tents and inflatable beds can also be provided!!
Thursday - You will rise to the smell of hot chocolate and begin the the final descent - more rapids and stunning scenery.
Friday - A gentle day to unwind with a guided tour of one of the worlds grandest caves ‘Aven d’Orgnac’.
Saturday - Departure day .
Though the river is the focus and lifeblood of the Ardèche, the region has a lot more to it. It is home to Grotte Chauvet or the Pont-d’Arc Cave, famed for it's Paleolithic paintings - the oldest human art works on record. The cave has been named as one of the most significant prehistoric art sites ever discovered and was the subject of a Werner Herzog film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, in 2010. While the actual cave is not open to the public, the Ardèche department has managed to raise a hefty €43m to build a replica nearby, and the multi-sensory experience, which opened in 2014, promises to replicate how the cave would have felt long ago, with smell, sound, temperature and humidity all combining to create an authentic atmosphere.
The Ardèche is also a fantastic gastronomic region, famous for its exportation of both wine and chestnuts. A wander around any of the local markets will offer you the opportunity to taste local delicacies, from wild boar pate (caillette) to the ripest of goats cheese.
The Chassezac is another river running through the region and while it has not achieved the notoriety of the Ardèche, it is equally as stunning, it's beauty amplified by it's relative lack of tourists. Beaches abound, from the busy, easy access river spots to the ones you see from the road and then scramble on down too, you could never run out of new places to swim and in the Ardèche heat nothing feels quite as good as a refreshing dive into cool water.
For shoppers and city lovers, we are around a twenty minute drive from Aubenas, a beautiful, quaint little city that plays host to châteaus and brasseries that look as though they've been plucked from a 'Disney' version of France. For those wishing to go further afield, Montelimar is an extra half an hour away, and in the other direction we have Ales, Avignon and Nimes - all easy to find and offering fascinating architecture.
We really had a great time with just the right blend of risk and adventure for a young/inexperienced family. It was great to learn and experience something new together. We are reasonably gung-ho, but this was different from the standard ball sports as it was not competitive and it was...Tim, Marinella, Eleanor, Maddy and Nic