The replica of the Chauvet Cave Musee de Lavande

Discover the ardeche

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Local attractions

There are lots of things to do in the local area to fill your time here and on this page you will find details about some of the local attractions available to visit during your stay.

The two-day guided river trip may be enough activity for your holiday with the rest of your time spent exploring villages or swimming in the river. The options shown here are suitable for all ages and are not physically demanding. They are a great way to explore the local region in contrast to the various activities available.

Please scroll down for more details about things to do in the area. For details about villages to visit or the activities available, please see the following links.

Things to do in the Local Area...

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Grotte Chauvet 2

The replica of the Chauvet Cave

The magnificent discovery of the Chauvet Cave was made in December 1994 and remains one of the most important prehistoric sites to date. It was found accidentally by three local cavers – Christian Hillaire, Eliette Brunel-Deschamps and Jean-Marie Chauvet after whom the cave was named. The cave, along with the Pont d’Arc has recently been awarded U.N.E.S.C.O World Heritage Status (June 2014).

The Chauvet Cave is situated next to the famous Pont d’Arc, above the old river bed upon which the Ardèche flowed before the archway opened up and changed its course. It contains a unique and vast array (more than 1000) of cave paintings dated between 32,000 – 36,000 years old which makes them some of the oldest cave paintings in the world.

These paintings contain images of animals such as the ibex, mammoth, giant stags, horses, lions, bears, rhinos and even an owl! What makes these paintings even more extraordinary is the expressive techniques that are used, such as the use of perspective in the ‘panel of horses’ which shows several animals on the same plane, or with the impression of movement shown by the duplication of the bison’s horn and hooves. The cave was also strewn with cave bear skulls, one of which was found placed carefully upon a high slab as if on an alter.

Between Vallon-Pont-d’Arc and St.Remeze, they have created a huge, full size recreation of the cave to showcase this amazing discovery. It is called the ‘GROTTE CHAUVET 2’ (formally known as the Caverne du Pont d’Arc) and a visit here follows the twists and turns of the caves morphology to provide visitors with a truly immersive experience. Audio guides in 10 languages are provide free of charge. Alongside the cave replica, there is also a permanent exhibition which provides an insight in to Palaeolithic man – their myths and their world. Finally, there is also a room specifically designed to take you behind the scenes to show the challenges of restoration and the stages of the replica’s construction. This should definitely be on your list of things to do.

Pablo Picasso once said after exiting the Lascaux caves back in 1940 that “we have discovered nothing”. This statement is magnified when you realise that cave art from the Chauvet Cave, shows that ancient man was just as skilled as those who followed up to 13,000 years later!

To visit the Official Grotte Chauvet 2 – Ardeche website and book your tickets please follow the link (you need to pre-book!).

aerial view of caverne du pont d'arc

Musee de Lavande

Lavender Farm and Distillery

The Lavender Museum is in the charming village of Saint Remèze and only 10 minutes from the Caverne du Pont d’Arc. It is a great place to visit to get an in-depth look into the cultivation of lavender through the ages.

Your visit starts with a 15-minute video explaining the local history of lavender, before leading visitors through a range of exhibits where you can see exactly how the oil is extracted. You can also check out the distillation warehouse to learn more about the process of obtaining essential oils from the plant. The guided tour last about 1 hour and takes you through the process of planting to distillation and will also show you how to tell the difference between the various types of lavender.

You can wander around the museum’s garden which is a colourful and fragrant experience and the gift shop will also keep you entertained for a while!

Don’t forget to stop by the cafe where you can try food and drinks flavoured with lavender. Lavender ice cream or lavender lemonade are regular favourites!

To book your visit or for more information please visit the Musee de Lavande website directly.

Aven d'Orgnac

Cave and prehistory museum

The Aven d’Orgnac is listed as one of the 14 ‘Grand site de France’ and is the only cave in France to receive such a title. It was discovered in 1935 but has been growing (it is a living cave) for over one hundred million years! There is also evidence of pre-historic man in and around the cave dating back more than 350,000 years.

The tour of the cave lasts about 1 hour and you are always accompanied by a guide. The tour slowly descends down 120 meters with a total of 700 steps. However, there is a lift that will bring you back to the surface.

At the Aven d’Orgnac there is also the prehistory museum (Cite de la Prehistoire) which gives you a look into the daily lives of our ancestors from middle Palaeolithic period through to the early iron age. The prehistorians and archaeologists who designed the museum wanted to create ‘a modern and intuitive exhibition’. You can dig like an archaeologist on the touchscreen tables, face off with a cave hyena and during the summer they have various activities such as fire building, flint making and spear throwing!

For more information and to book your visit please see the Aven d’Orgnac official website.

Ardeche grottes (caves)

Discover the underground world

As well as the Aven d’Orgnac (which is one of the largest in Europe), there are a number of caves and potholes open to visitors all of which are local to Vallon-Pont-d’Arc and the Ardeche Gorge.

Other sub-surface attractions include the Aven Marzal pothole with its prehistoric zoo of dinosaurs and museum devoted to the world underground. The Aven Grotte Forestière, which also has a snack bar and games area for children, allows you to wander freely around the cave with your own powerful headlamp. They also have a fossil workshop and you can even spend the night alone in the cave!!!

The Grotte de la Madeleine is situated along the gorge road and includes 3 giant chambers vertically stacked in the cliffs of the Gorges de l’Ardeche. There is an interactive display demonstrating how the Gorges, its caves, wildlife and inhabitants have evolved through time and you can see the Cathedral Rock from a stunning viewpoint into the gorge.

Grotte Les Tunnels is now a bar and restaurant! Popular with bikers, it is situated on the gorge road between Vallon and the Pont d’Arc. You can have a meal or just sit with a drink and can explore the caves at the back if you have about 20 mins to spare. They also have regular live music.

Did you know? The entrance to a pothole is vertical – but the entrance to a cave is horizontal. For more information and to book your visit please see the individual links above.

Things to do - visit the Aven Marzal
Aven Marzal
Things to do - stay overnight in the Grotte Forestiere
Aven Grotte Forestiere
Things to do - view from the Grotte de la Madelaine
Grotte de la Madelaine
Things to do - visit the Aven Marzal
Aven Marzal
Things to do - stay overnight in the Grotte Forestiere
Aven Grotte Forestiere
Things to do - view from the Grotte de la Madelaine
Grotte de la Madelaine

Ardeche ULM

Microlight flight over the gorge

Take a flight over the nicest sites in the Ardèche on board a microlight! See the Pont d’Arc from above or explore further and get a unique view of the Ardeche gorge.

Located in the heart of southern Ardèche, between Aubenas and Vallon Pont d’Arc, the aerodrome Aubenas Vals Lanas is an exceptional place for microlight practice. The school of Ardèche ULM opens its doors all year long and during the summer has locations based near Vallon Pont d’Arc.

Ardèche ULM is a registered pilot training school and can offer flight training as well as trips for tourists.

The price is about 50€ for a 15 min flight or 90€ for 30 mins.

To book your visit or for more information please visit the Ardeche ULM website directly.