The Region

The Vivarais

This old province in the south east of France, nowa­days known by the name of Ardèche, forms part of the east­ern edge of the Mas­sif Cen­tral. Its huge basalt lava flows run­ning down from the vol­ca­noes in the Velay area, its shale ridges, and the wide­spread ero­sion of its lime­stone, make this land­scape full of strange nat­ural fea­tures, which are a con­stant source of sur­prise and amazement.

The Eyrieux valley

The river Eyrieux, between Upper and Lower Vivarais, rises to the north of St. Agrève at an alti­tude of 1.120 m., then tum­bles down from the high plateau of the Vivarais area and flows into the Rhône after cov­er­ing a dis­tance of 70 km.

The upper val­ley has a moun­tain­ous appear­ance, with steep slopes cov­ered with chest­nuts and spruce. Down­stream from Le Chey­lard the tor­rent flows into gorges, then less rugged basins and rocky nar­rows alter­nate. There old iso­lated ham­lets cling to the hill­sides, marked into strips by the low walls sur­round­ing the ter­raced fields.

In the spring, at the end of March, peach trees turn this rugged val­ley into a car­pet of pink-​petalled blos­som. The sea­son lasts for some time and cre­ates an extra­or­di­nary sym­phony of colours, rang­ing from pale pink to purple.

Cas­tle ruins of Pierre Gourde

From the vil­lage square at Saint Lau­rent du Pape, a beau­ti­ful road leads up to Château Pierre Gourde. The road winds through the hills, offer­ing impres­sive views of the Rhône and Eyrieux valley.

The medieval cas­tle of Pierre Gourde, now in ruins, occu­pies a mag­nif­i­cent site. The cas­tle fell a vic­tim to the Wars of reli­gion that rav­aged the Vivarais dur­ing the 16th and 17th centuries.

Medieval vil­lages

The region of Ardèche is scat­tered with old medieval vil­lages and hamlets.

At the con­flu­ence of the rivers Rhône and Eyrieux, at a short dis­tance from our camp­site, lies the pretty vil­lage of Beauchas­tel (listed ‘vil­lage de car­ac­tère’). The vil­lage takes its name from the cas­tle ‘Bel Cas­trum’, built in the 12th cen­tury. Rav­aged by the Wars of reli­gion, all that remains of it is the for­ti­fied tower that dom­i­nates the village.

A side road off the road through the val­ley, leads us to the old vil­lage of Cha­len­con, once a for­ti­fied town and the seat of a major barony (listed ‘vil­lage de car­ac­tère’). In the 17th cen­tury, dur­ing the Wars of reli­gion, the cas­tle was destroyed, but parts of the medieval walls and gates still exist today. From the esplanade, bear­ing the war memo­r­ial, there is a view down the Eyrieux gorge.

La Voulte sur Rhône, at five min­utes’ drive from Saint Lau­rent du Pape, is a busy lit­tle mar­ket town on the river Rhône. In the old­est part nar­row streets lead up to the cas­tle, of which the roof was badly dam­aged dur­ing World War II. Below the cas­tle a lively mar­ket is held every Fri­day morning.


Descend­ing the Ardèche river is a real chal­lenge, and a unique oppor­tu­nity to dis­cover the wild and spec­tac­u­lar scenery of the Gorges of the Ardèche and its amaz­ing nat­ural phe­nom­e­non : the Pont d’Arc.



Climb­ing, clam­ber­ing and slid­ing. The chil-​dren have the time of their life, while enjoy-​ing an excit­ing day full of action and adven-​ture. For the entire fam­ily to take part in.



Dis­cover on your bike the old rail­way through the Eyrieux Val­ley. Now under the name of ‘Dolce Via’, it forms a mag­nif­i­cent cycle track between St. Lau­rent du Pape and Le Chey­lard, while run­ning through a wild and pic­turesque landscape.


Con­tact Camp­ing La Garenne

franceOpen from the 1st of April till the 1st of Octo­ber 2018


phone0033 (0)4 75 62 24 62

house383 Mon­tée de La Garenne
07800 Saint Lau­rent du Pape
Ardèche France

SARL au cap­i­tal de 9.147,50€ — Siret 350 350 401 00013
RCS Aube­nas B 350 350 401 — N°TVA FR52 350 350 401