Driving the scenic D290 road through Gorges de l'Ardeche
Gorges de l'Ardeche is a picturesque canyon situated in France’s Ardèche department, within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It’s one of the famous balcony roads of the country.
Is Gorges de l'Ardeche worth it?
Nestled in the southern part of France, the Gorges of the Ardèche have been sculpted by one of France's most capricious rivers. Its dramatic ebbs and flows have carved out what is often referred to as the "Grand Canyon of France". Marked by alluvial deposits, grottoes, caves, and canyons that plunge over 285m (935 ft.) deep, this valley offers one of France's most unique geological spectacles. Annually, over a million tourists are drawn to its spectacular canyons, pristine white cliffs, and prehistoric caves. It's not just a breathtaking sight but also an invaluable historical and archeological site. The gorges are affectionately dubbed the "European Grand Canyon" by locals.
How to drive through Gorges de l'Ardeche?
Set within the Natural Reserve of the Ardèche Gorges, the road meandering through the gorges, known as D290 or Route des Gorges, is entirely paved. Though it offers an unparalleled driving experience, it might not be suitable for those with a fear of heights. With some sections being quite narrow, this road winds along the rim of the Gorges of the Ardèche, offering awe-inspiring views of a vast expanse of limestone cliffs that rise up to 300 metres.
How long is the road through Gorges de l'Ardeche?
The panoramic road is 49.3 km (30.63 miles) long, running from Vallon-Pont-d'Arc to Saint-Just-d'Ardèche.
How long does it take to drive through Gorges de l'Ardeche?
While traversing the scenic route of the gorges, you'll encounter 11 magnificent viewing points. If you plan on making frequent stops to soak in the beauty, the drive can easily take up an entire day. There are numerous pull-over spots that allow for breathtaking photo opportunities. To avoid crowds, it's advisable to start the drive early in the morning. However, be mindful of limited parking spaces at some of the viewing points. Ensure you park in dedicated tourist spots, as there's a risk of falling rocks in certain areas. Drive at a moderate pace and allocate ample time to truly appreciate this route.