April 30 , from Gignac to Alèze B&B Hôtel Alès Pôle Mécanique
Sunny, a bit windy
Grotte des Demoisielles (not as interesting as the 2 others), Anduze (Château ?) , Alèze (Vauban) and a small very interesting archeological museum.
Alès with the Tourist Office (behind the solar pannels) housed in the ruins of the church des Cordeliers, (XIe siècle), bridge over the Gardon d'Alès, grotte des Demoiselles.
Visit of the local, small and informative musum of Alès. See the Ötzi exhibit and antropomorphic exhibits , and an overview of the evolution of Homo sapiens (2000'000-1'000 years).
May 1st , from Alès to Orgnac l'Aven
Grotte de la Cocardière, wonderful , followed by the Aven d'Orgnac, impressive with its massive concretions. In Orgnac l'Aven village, we found a very sympathetic Hôtel Restaurant les Stalagmites, 4th generation owner, the dinner was very good. Excellent quality/price ratio.
Countryside and Hôtel Les Stalagmites
May 2nd, Orgnac d'Aven to Balazuc and on to Voguë, Aubenas, Antraigue
100 km, sunny and not so warm
Visit of Balazuc (we didn't find it that ingteresting), Vogüé, the market at Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, Antraigue (on the hill) , the Pont du Diable and a longer stop in Vals-les-Bains followed by the short drive to Privas and Les Logis du Roy (were we received such a warm welcome).
First 2 pictures from Balazuc, then Vogüé (too late to take the guided tour of the castle), but we enjoyed the view on the river Ardèche. Last picture was taken in Vallon-Pont-d'Arc.
Antraigues: a small village perched on top of a hill, braqueted by two rivers. The house at the bottom is a mill at the junction of the 2 rivers. The last 2 picts are from the Pont du Diable (different legends about the Devil), arched over the Ardèche, but here still a small river.
May 3rd. Privas to Ins
390 km, 5 hours. Sunny and then cloudy around Grenoble
Shopping in Privas, then visit of Vincent-de-Barrès, very nice, quaint, village and then Valence for more shopping then last stop to visit le Jardin des Trains Ardéchois cute outdoors model trains.
Finally the long drive to Geneva, Neuchatel and Ins.
Vals-les-Bains, famous in Roman times already for its springs. We stoped here to see the Soure Intermittente. Many people waited for the spectacle but there just a teeny weeny droplet (red circle). I've added a picture from the Web of what to expect and even a working model from the Jardin des Trains (see next day). Finally the picture of the Logis des Rois, a so special maison d'hôtes, for our last night in France (search: Situated in Privas, Chambres d'hôtes Le Logis du Roy on the Web).
We visited the quaint village of Vincent-de-Barrès. Drains were easily constructed (Architecture domestique, which doesn't mention rats). A lonesome photographer. Driving back we crossed the majestic Rhône a few times. Seeing these mountains near Grenoble, we are almost home.
Thank you for reading us. R&T