The Massif du Coiron – volcanic scenery, a paradise for walkers
Come and explore this gorgeous, little-known part of Ardèche - you won’t be disappointed ! Situated between the Rhone and the Ardèche mountains, the Massif du Coiron covers 200km² of the Bas Vivarais at altitudes varying from 650m to 850m. Its landscape has been forged through the ages by volcanic activity followed by erosion, making it a paradise for geology enthusiasts; it also has a rich historical heritage from its turbulent past.
Lovers of the great outdoors will not be disappointed as the walks and cycle rides are superb here. Whet your appetite with a journey across the Pays du Coiron to its highest point, the Crête de Blandine, which culminates at 1,017m above the Col de l’Escrinet where the famous sculpture of a goat by Pierre-Louis Chipon proudly stands guard over the valley.
The landscape of this volcanic plateau is punctuated with humps and slopes. The vast meadow pastures are surrounded by stone walls and thickets of beech, walnut and even box. On the edge of the Massif the number of oak and chestnut forests increases. At the beginning of summer, the countryside is alive with bright yellow broom, a plant which symbolises Ardèche. Then the plateau comes to a sudden halt at some surprising basalt cliffs overlooking limestone valleys. At the bottom of the slopes vines, cereals and orchards flourish in the fertile earth.
The Massif du Coiron – a marvellous heritage of character villages, hilltop villages and medieval villages