Calling all nature enthusiasts and lovers of the great outdoors - the Plateau Ardéchois, an emblematic area of the Massif Central is waiting for you ! This volcanic landscape is in the western part of the Ardèche, bordering Haute-Loire and Lozère. It altitude ranges from 800m to 1,753m and its highest point, Mont Mézenc, has splendid panoramic views as far as the Alps. The highest village of Ardèche, Lachamp-Raphaël, is at 1,329m altitude.
Enjoy the fresh air and diverse scenery at any time of year. The spectacular pine and beech forests, vast meadows and moorland dotted with broom will take your breath away.
Follow the Route des Sucs, an astonishing chain of extinct volcanoes including Mont Gerbier de Joncs (1,551m) and part of the dividing range between the Atlantic and Mediterranean drainage basins. The Loire, the longest river in France rises at the foot of Mont Gerbier de Joncs.
All the rivers in this unspoilt countryside are category 1, a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. Fly fishermen can flush out brown trout, the ‘king’ of the Ardèche mountains, at catch and release sites. The splendid plateau is an ideal place for a wide range of outdoor sports : walks of varied length and difficulty, e-biking, walks with donkeys, and for the more energetic, road cycling, mountain biking (a track of over 300km runs the length of Ardèche, ideal for experienced mountain bikers), paragliding, canyoning, and lots more.
What to see and do on the Plateau Ardéchois in winter and spring
In winter, the high plateaux are an amazing winter playground when there is snow, offering plenty of fun activities for all the family. Enjoy the beautiful, unspoilt scenery on a snowshoe walk (night time walks are magical), go cross-country skiing, downhill skiing (ski resort at Croix de Beauzon), Nordic skiing, tobogganing and dog sledding.
There is water everywhere on the Plateau Ardéchois. The wetlands and peatbogs have a very high level of biodiversity and are absolute musts to explore, as is the magnificent volcanic lake of Issarles (138m deep), one of the many lakes on the Plateau.
The area is also extremely rich in wildlife and it is possible to see golden eagles, peregrine falcons and griffon vultures in flight and to catch sight of otters and marmots.
In spring and early summer, the countryside is carpeted with multi-coloured flowers as far as the eye can see. Don’t forget to enjoy local food specialities which include maôche, cheese, charcuterie, mushrooms, blueberries, not forgetting AOP Fin Gras du Mézenc (beef).