Driving the challenging Défilé de Ruoms, a French balcony road

Défilé de Ruoms is the name of a very scenic defile located in the Ardèche department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. It’s one of the most scenic balcony roads of the country.

Défilé de Ruoms

Can you drive through Défilé de Ruoms?

Tucked away on the southern part of the country, the road through the defile, above the Ardèche river, is totally paved but extremely narrow and defiant. It’s called D4, also known as Route des Défilés and locally called “Défilés de Ruoms”. The route runs through the defile with a breathtaking succession of tunnels and vaults. It offers a spectacular panorama over the limestone cliffs through a succession of tunnels and impressive arches along the Ardèche canyon. Be careful, departmental road 4 is winding and dangerous and parking possibilities are rare, so be careful.

How long is Défilé de Ruoms?

The most scenic part of the drive is7.5 km (4.66 miles) long, running north-south from D104 (Route d’Aubenas) to Ruoms. It follows an old mule track known as the Royal Road and later the Imperial Road. This road served as inspiration to Sam Hill, who then returned to the United States to build the Columbia River Highway.

When was the road through Défilé de Ruoms built?

To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 15 and 25 minutes. The curvy road was carved into the rock in the 19th century and offers a spectacular panorama of the limestone cliffs. It was built around 1866 and the tunnels were dug with very artisanal means, crowbars and gunpowder.
Road suggested by: jorge manuel gómez sánchez
Image by vwalakte on Freepik