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On the Routes of the Ardéchoise: Les Boutières Distance : 125 km Altitude : 2400 m Pass : 5 Landscape Fun Accessible
The upper Eyrieux valley is full of rising, almost mountainous, landscapes and villages that pay tribute to a rich industrial past. From Saint-Félicien and the Nonières pass, the circuit joins Saint-Agrève, overlooking Cévennes at 1088m altitude. It provides a snapshot of Ardèche with its landscape full of farmed terraces, mills, and granite hillsides, and becomes even more typical of the region once the pine trees give way to chestnut trees and the ubiquitous sweet fragrance from the surrounding broom.
L'Arche des Métiers is an unusual mix of craftsmanship and innovation, and take a trip also to the Vallée du Bijou, renowned in the jewellery trade. At Le Cheylard, you'll find the start of La Dolce Via, a secure bridle path running alongside the Eyrieux river.
After the Buisson pass and Lamastre, this route takes us to Le Cheylard, the start of the upper Eyrieux valley. Prior to this, the slope gets progressively steeper along the small ridge of Nonières. At the top of the ridge, you'll find a very welcome fresh-water fountain. Onwards from the railway bridge – where popular French actor Bourvil filmed la Grande Vadrouille – you need to step up effort levels. You come to Saint-Agrève 13km later (and higher). From there, a rapid descent to the Aygueneyre bridge offers a superb view over Rochepaule where you then arrive after a short climb. Next, another descent which you need to manœuvre with care ahead of the final stretch to Lalouvesc.
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