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The Pont d'Arc over the River Ardèche

Vallon-Pont-d'Arc is a town and commune in the Ardèche département, in south of France.

Nearby cave of Pont d’Arc, known as Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, decorated by well preserved prehistoric drawings of human figures and animals was inscribed to the World Heritage list in 2014.

Get in[edit]

By public transport[edit]

There's a TER [dead link] bus that runs around 4 times a day from Montelimar and Valence TGV, both of which have a TGV train service.

By car[edit]

Get around[edit]

Map of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc

By public transport[edit]

There's a free minibus that travels between Vallon (the town) and Pont d'Arc (the geological feature), a trip of about 20 minutes. It is roughly hourly, but with a long gap in service around lunch time (as at summer 2007). You can flag it down to pick you up (or ask to be dropped off) more or less anywhere along the route: it passes many of the town's camp sites.

If you want to hire a canoe, and are without a car, then choose to hire it from somewhere that is as near as possible to where you want to be at the end of the trip. You can hire a canoe directly from most of the camp sites; at the end of your canoe trip you will be brought back to where you hired it from. For example, at Camping de L'Ile, you can hire a canoe from Claude Mialon.

By canoe[edit]

Canoe is the best way to truly enjoy the beauty of the river. There are a lot of spots along the river where you can stop to enjoy the view or to swim. However, as this is a nature reservation area, there are only 2 sites designated for camping: "Gaud" or "Gournier", both can be reached by canoe.

By car[edit]

Beware the traffic jams along the river road, especially around 5pm in the busy summer period.


Vallon-Pont-d'Arc Town Hall
  • 1 Pont d'Arc. a limestone natural bridge carved out by the river Ardèche. Pont d'Arc (Q1062180) on Wikidata Pont d'Arc on Wikipedia
  • 2 Castle of Vallon Pont d'Arc. Town hall of Vallon-Pont-d'Arc (Q2970892) on Wikidata


  • Canoeing along the Ardèche river, beginning at Vallon-Pont-d'Arc and finishing at Saint Martin d'Ardèche. There are several distance range to be chosen (6, 24, 30 km, or even more), and there are dozens of places from which you can hire a canoe. The longer range can be done in 1 or 2 days with a stop for camping in the middle.
  • 1-day canoeing: Start between 8 and 10PM and finish at around 5PM (24 or 30 km)
  • 2-day canoeing: Start between 9AM and 2PM. Camping is only allowed within the 2 designated sites, Gaud or Gournier.
If you come by car, you can park at the canoe operator at Saint Martin d'Ardèche, and from there you will be brought by bus to the starting point. Plastic barrels are provided to keep your things dry during the trip. Bring enough water and food to last at least 7 hours. Protect yourself as well as possible from the sun burn (i.e. use sun protection cream and re-apply often, wear sunglasses and hat).





A wild goat in the Réserve naturelle nationale des gorges de l'Ardèche


There are loads of camp sites around the town, many of which have direct river access to the Ardeche river. If you're looking for something simple, try:

  • Camping de L'Ile, by the river about 1km out of town en route to Pont d'Arc.

If you want to camp in the Gorge as part of a two day canoe (or hiking) trip, you need to book in advance into one of two 'bivouwacs'. Numbers are strictly limited (250 per site during the week and 500 at weekends, as at summer 2007):

  • Gaud, +33-4-75880041. Or Gournier, along the river Ardeche. Reservation required.

Stay safe[edit]

  • Avoid sun damage to your body. It is highly recommended to protect yourself as much as possible from sunburn by applying high SPF suncream as well as wearing sunglasses and hat.
  • Drink plenty of water on a hot day.

For water activity[edit]

  • Check the weather and water level before beginning any water activity.
  • Wear suitable clothes that you won't easily lose when falling into water (i.e. sandals with strap, protective strap for sunglasses).
  • Wear the life jacket all the time.
  • In case of emergency, contact the campsite: +33 4-75880041.


Some areas are categorized as nature reservation, so

  • Don't drop litter -- you should always take it with you.
  • Don't disturb the animals, plants, mineral and archeological relics.

Go next[edit]

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