I admit, this is not a hidden gem anymore but truth be told it was my first time in Valon Pont d’Arc and it was a memorable start for our riviera journey.
Of course, it was late July and the area was heavily packed with tourists. Still, we could be able to find a spot for our tent in the Le Camp des Gorges which was a very good choice for us. It felt more private and quieter for us than the more mass appealed bigger campings situated alongside the Ardèche river.
The most popular event in this fantastic natural canyon is of course kayaking. The kayak/canoe rental options are available almost in every hotel/camping. We have sticked with the option our camp site has provided. Just before our kayak adventure has started I could not stop but think how this experience could have felt 20 years a go when probably the area was still unknown to masses. But I can assure you even today no matter how crowded it gets you feel amazed and liberated by the unmatched beauty of the landscape.
Renting Kayak/ Canoe:
There are several different options you could take for kayaking. We took the short tour which started from the upstream and ended after passing the famous arc itself and finished just where our camp site is located. The other option is to continue all the way down to the valley following the stream and end to end up in St. Martin where then you wait for your rental service to pick you up and give you a ride back to the center. Here is a link for the visual map of the available options.
We had our dinner on the Restaurant Les Trois Eaux which is connected to the campsite. The waiter/manager of the restaurant had a very enthusiastic nature. He was warm and friendly but maybe because the restaurant was full, the service was a bit on the slow side. After all, we were on holiday and better learn to be patient, right.. We sticked to that mantra and everything went absolutely smooth afterwards. The ambiance and decor of the restaurant is very in line with the nature but still gives you this refined feel you would look when having a nice dinner.
The downstream is said to be much less crowded and there are also couple of campings to stay as well.