We arrived at Vallon on a Saturday afternoon and it wasn’t until the Sunday that we unloaded the bikes and visited the local town. As a rule Sundays in rural France are quiet days with the shops and homes hidden behind closed wooden shutters with just the occasional sight of a black clad octagenarian shuffling in the shadows.
Vallon was a pleasant surprise. The small town was situated at the head of Les Gorges de l’Ardèche and was the centre for outdoor activities, walking, cycling and canoeing. The town on Sunday afternoon was open for business and was full of people. The restaurants and cafés were busy and all the little touristy shops were open and doing good trade with folks enjoying Le Weekend.
The next day we cycled up the valley of the river Ibie that flows into the Ardèche. At that time of year it was mostly a dry river bed but there were a few pools where people were able to take a cooling bathe. Unfortunately we didn’t have our bathing costumes with us.
We stopped for lunch at Lagorce, a small village set at the top of a hill. We were panting and puffing when we arrived but it was fun after lunch travelling downhill at a breakneck speed. We were careful to have only one small beer and a tiny glass of red wine with our meal.