This section goes through a diversity of landscapes and villages marked by Roman history while famous vineyards line up along the steep, sunny slopes of the Côtes Rôties.
The Côtes Rôties area
We were welcomed in Vienne, once an ancient capital of Roman Gaul, by a couple who hosted us through Airbnb and kindly drove us around the Côtes Rôties to show us landscapes we couldn’t have seen from our bikes.
Indeed, whilst the ViaRhôna follows the Rhône on a rather flat route, the hills surrounding the river are so steep, only the fit and light (we were carrying 30 kgs each!) cyclists could go up to get the views !
We went through a few villages and forests along the way, like Condrieu, a famous Côtes de Rhône wine which we tried later on.
Pilat Regional Natural Park
From Vérin to Saint-Pierre-de-Boeuf, the ViaRhôna stretches on 10 km along the Rhône river within the Loire department and the Pilat Regional Natural Park. There, you are surrounded by green sceneries and beautiful villages.
We stopped for 2 nights in Saint-Pierre-de-Boeuf, were invited to try one of the water activities at the Leisure Centre and explored the surroundings.
We camped at the Lône campsite, a great campsite with a swimming pool (which we couldn’t try because it was not high season yet booo), very nice spot and cheap !
Water sports in Saint-Pierre-de-Boeuf
The ‘Espace Eaux Vives’, the Leisure Centre’s water park, created an artificial white water river at the foot of the Saint Pierre de Boeuf dam. There, you can enjoy a diverse range of water activities from stand up paddle to kayaking and rafting.
We were supervised by Edouard our awesome instructor and we tried something we’ve never tried before : hotdogs (airboat for 2) ! And, seriously guys, it was so much fun ! We could have spent all day there, and if you plan on going to make sure you allow enough time to really enjoy the activity. 1h isn’t enough !
I only have this picture on which I make such a ridiculous face (seriously I look like a cartoon character there), to prove we actually did it, BUT we will soon post the interactive video on the ViaRhôna and you’ll see on the video how well we did on that airboat !
It changes a lot from all the cultural visits, museums, wine and food tasting we had going on our travels so far ! Felt good to be doing some outdoors activities for once, and it is definitely something we will do again and talk about on the blog !
Exploring Malleval on electric bikes
The Leisure centre in Saint Pierre de Boeuf also rents electric bikes and they nicely offered to lend us a couple so we could go up to the medieval hill-top village of Malleval without sweating blood !
When planning our ‘tour de France’ we thought using bikes would be a great way to try something different than backpacking and it’s definitely a mean of travel we love. But I have to say electric bikes are so much more practical when you’re a travel blogger : the effort you spare can be put into more productive time and well, that’s just priceless !
Malleval is a stunning medieval village with sinuous narrow streets and beautiful stoned houses. The best view is from the panoramic viewpoint overlooking the village, from which you can see the Rhône valley and the Pilat mountain range.
Farjon Wine Estate
And of course, as you can expect, we couldn’t visit the region without going wine tasting ! We went to Farjon Estate near Malleval. This family owned winery is well worth a visit. It’s funny how wine can reflect so much of its maker. And here this concept makes so much sense.
Thierry Farjon’s wine are really surprising, very generous and unic, for a great price quality ratio. Probably our favourites so far. He uses many endemic grape varieties of Côtes du Rhône, making Condrieu and Saint Joseph amongst others, and uses ancestral wine-making methods like hand-picking grapes and ploughing.
We particularly loved his white wine ‘Le Saut de l’Agneau’ 2015 (8€) and red Saint Joseph ‘Ma Sélection’ 2014 (14€).
Stopping in the Pilat Regional Natural Park on our ViaRhôna itinerary was a great idea and we cannot wait to come back to really explore the region, not just the part near the Rhône. There is everything you could ask for : outdoors activities, history & beautiful villages and wine. What are you waiting for ?!
More photos on our Flickr page !
Walk on our footsteps
Domaine Farjon, Morzelas, 42520 MALLEVAL
La Lône Campsite
Camping de la Lône, 6 avenue du Rhône, 42520 Saint-Pierre-de-Bœuf
Pitch for 2 persons with 1 vehicle : €13,70 (low season) €14,80 (high season)
Have you visited the Pilat Natural Park before ? What did you think ? Tell us in the comments below !
Come with us to explore the temples of Angkor, the largest religious complex in the world ! Watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat, play around Ta Prohm temple like Lara Croft, enter Preah Khan through the secret jungle entrance with 360 videos. But you'll also get to meet the locals living on Tonle Sap Lake and to see life at K.K.O., a green N.G.O. running tours and training workshops in Siem Reap.
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