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Hi! I am Asta! I am a philologist and a philocalist to the heart's core. Here I share things that I consider being aesthetic and fantastic!

2 Oct 2017

MADAME EN VACANCES VI: Les merveilles d'Ardèche

Although today is not a "Throw Back Thursday", in my opinion Monday is a very appropriate time to dive into the vacation memories. Especially, when these memories are from France! So, let's continue with my series of Madame en Vacances. Today I want to tell you about the time that we passed in the region of Ardèche.

If you ever plan your trip to the region of Ardèche, I can't stress enough how I recommend to go to the South of this region, especially to Joyeuse and its surroundings. We discovered this part totally by an accident: since weekend was approaching, all the camping sites near Valon-Pont-D'Arc were either already occupied or booked. So we headed to the tourist office to look for other camping sites, because the evening was drawing near and we were already tired after visiting Valence and Château de Crussol. After many calls and disappointing news that everything is already occupied, we contacted one camping that still had one (!) place for rent. It was completely on the opposite side of Ardèche that we wanted to stay in, but, hey, beggars can't be choosers! So we left for La Drobie camping site, near Sablières. 
   Ardèche is a land of great contrasts and when at the tourist office we were told that the part that we were going to looks like out of this world, not to say France, we could not believe it. But when we crossed the mountains, we saw completely, and I mean COMPLETELY different panorama!

There was less green and more brown and yellow colours. Basically, 50 shades of brown, if I have to describe this part of the region. But you know what? More than a month passed from our return and I still think about  our Ardèche experience!

This part of Ardèche has some very distinct traits. Everything here is about la châtaigne - chestnut, goats and sheep. Lady at the tourist office told us that people here experienced very harsh conditions, and were so poor and hard to reach (try crossing those steep and barren mountains without a car and you'll see), that there were no rich feudal lords to rule them. That's why castles are a rarity there. 
   I mentioned goats and sheep earlier and I have a story to tell. When we arrived to the camping site, we were having our supper and suddenly I heard a sheep bleating. Soon, it became a choir of sheep and goats, with occasional bark of a dog. But I couldn't see them, just hear. And with days passing and bleating repeating, I begun to imagine, that those are some kind of ghosts of animals that roam the land... I'm joking, but it was quite frustrating, not being able to spot those creatures. But on the last day of our stay, I woke up early and watched the opposite side of the mountain. And soon enough I saw white spots moving! Hooray! BTW, my husband was much more lucky, since during his hike, he saw them in person!

Ardèche was especially beautiful during sunsets. One evening I even went for some sketching! There were calluna meadows full of bees...

Stay tuned for a post about French Alps!

Photos © Vincas Razma