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.


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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


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