The Via Rhôna bicycle trail is currently over 800km long and getting longer every year. The section described here will take you on a trip between the Drôme and the Ardèche to finish in the Gard at Pont-Saint-Esprit. Along the way, you will be able to sample local delicacies, such as chocolate at Tain l’Hermitage and one of Montélimar’s culinary specialties, nougat.
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Did the first section of the route from Saint-Rambert-d’Albon to Tain l’Hermitage whet your appetite ? Great, because the first stopover is devoted to taste ! This is the birthplace of the Valrhona chocolate factory, founded in 1922. The amusing and interactive visit also offers numerous occasions to sample the factory’s production.
Don’t miss the chance to venture as far as Tournon-sur-Rhône in Ardèche, all the more so as it is only a few hundred metres away, across the Marc Seguin footbridge spanning the Rhône.
Some 19km further on lies Valence, in which you can already feel the influence of the Riviera. Dominated by its cathedral, the city is built on terraces that stretch down to the river bank. Explore its maze of shopping streets and museum that charts over 400,000 years of history. The lookout point from the Champ de Mars commands a splendid view of Crussol mountain. Continue your journey to the lovely river island of Printegarde before calling it day at La Voulte-Sur-Rhône (superb panoramic view over the Rhône).
A delicious Provençal atmosphere lingers over Montélimar, the last stage before Pont-Saint-Esprit, strategically located between the Ardèche and the Drôme. It is as famous for its literary cafés as for its Museum of Miniatures. It would be a crime to leave without a quick visit to the Palais des bonbons et du nougat (a candy and nougat extravaganza) before heading off again.
My Trip Tailor advice : Children adore the steel monsters on display at the European Fighter Aircraft museum.
On leaving Montélimar, take the time to follow the lovely medieval village route, admiring hamlets such as the high-perched Le-Pöet-Laval, which offers a brief insight into the history of the Huguenots, along the way. Then head to the Pierrelatte plains, framed by three mountain ranges. You are on the doorstep of Provence.
My Trip Tailor advice : The crocodiles, pythons, Galapagos turtles and Komodo dragons that live in the lush vegetation of the Crocodile farm are a hit with all the family.
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