The Hidden Gem of the Ardèche

Until last year I didn’t know anything about the Ardèche – I even wasn’t aware of its existence. When in December 2018 we discovered it together with Julien, I immediately added this region to my personal the-best-of-France list.

If to you the word “Ardèche” still doesn’t mean anything, believe me it’s a pity and must be changed!

The Ardèche is the area in the South of France, a part of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It’s not big but has an impressive variety of landscapes and views. The main river, Ardèche, dug the picturesque canyons so perfect for hiking and created beautiful gorges ideal for canoeing. There’re forests, hills, mountains and even waterfalls – the nature of Ardèche is  awe-inspiring. We visited several villages, such as Balazuc, Aubenas, Vogue and each one was charming and had its individuality. Local markets are an Aladdin’s cave for the food lovers and wine connoisseurs and just a nice weekend experience.

To sum up, the Ardèche has lots of tourist potential and still it’s a calm, unspoiled and authentic place – a great choice for curious travelers.

Where to stay in Ardèche? A couple of weeks ago I spent one more weekend in this beautiful region and discovered an amazing family hotel Auberge de la Tour de Brison which I can highly recommend to anyone who wants to explore Ardèche and also to enjoy the comfort and coziness of a home-like hotel.

Auberge de la Tour de Brison is a place with a long history. Five generations of the same family have been the owners of this land since 1620 and were hosting the travelers since 1903. Today the hotel is run by the members of the same family and their love and dedication is what creates the unique home-like atmosphere at Auberge de la Tour de Brison.

First thing which attracted my attention when together with my friends we parked the car near the entrance was an incredible terrace offering a breathtaking view over the valley. A tiny village with the cutest little church, picturesque hills and majestic forests – everything was right in the palm of the hand! Fascinated, we stayed there for a good quarter of an hour enjoying the view (and taking a couple of photos…;)

Once in our room, we understood that actually it wasn’t the terrace which offered the best view… It was our window! In the bedroom, on the second floor of our spacious loft, a panoramic window just in front of the bed overlooked the valley… This view was the first thing we saw when we opened the eyes in the morning and believe me this is more precious than any other facilities!

The other hotel facilities were though impressive: beside the restaurant with a terrace, Auberge de la Tour de Brison has a fantastic open pool, also with a view, a heated jacuzzi and huge garden all around the hotel. To give you an idea of how cool the pool was I can just say that in my life I stayed in many hotels and swam in many pools but can definitively include this one in my top-10 list! On the top of the hill, overlooking the valley, spacious and fresh, the swimming pool at Auberge de la Tour de Brison is the best spot to chill during hot summer days.

What about food at Auberge de la Tour de Brison? We had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant and it was quite epic. First of all, the location: dinner was served on the terrace (the covered part, since at the beginning of May nights are still fresh) and we could watch the sunset while sipping the first glass of champagne. The cuisine is local, hearty and delicious: Ardèche is famous for its charcuterie (cold meat starters), goat cheese and especially chestnuts used in many recipes. We opted for a classic menu which included a starter, main dish, cheese plate and dessert – and it was a perfect choice for the hungry travelers:))

Breakfast (which was also served on the terrace) consisted of the traditional French products such as croissants, jams and butter but also a variety of home-made cakes, local yoghurts and seasonal fruits.

Auberge de la Tour de Brison is one the rare gems which combines family ambience and high quality facilities. It’s not easy to create and maintain this level of service in the countryside and I’m truly impressed of how perfectly the Belin family runs this establishment! Hope to be back one day – and spend more days sipping rosé by the pool…

Ardèche, France, family hotel
The view from the terrace is breathtaking
Ardèche, France, family hotel
And the same view from the panoramic window of our two-levels loft
Ardèche, France, family hotel
Opening the eyes to this view makes any morning magical
Ardèche, France, family hotel
The panoramic pool – like a mirror!
Ardèche, France, family hotel
I found this way of serving rosé super creative!
Ardèche, France, family hotel
Better than any tropical paradise
Ardèche, France, family hotel
The heated and covered jacuzzi – super spacious and relaxing!
Ardèche, France, family hotel
Ready to discover the Ardèche!
Ardèche, France, family hotel
Typical Ardèche views
Ardèche, France, family hotel
Dinner at the restaurant of Auberge de la Tour de Brison : hearty local dishes
Ardèche, France, family hotel
No French dinner without cheeses! Goat cheese Picodon is the speciality of the Ardèche.
Ardèche, France, family hotel
Dessert plate: you just choose what you want
Ardèche, France, family hotel
Any dishes taste better with this view! Watching the sunset during dinner is priceless.
Ardèche, France, family hotel
One more photo from the terrace – a little village nearby…
Ardèche, France, family hotel
Breakfast is served at the same terrace and consists of the local products. Chestnut purée, honey and a variety of home made jam are to-die-for!
Ardèche, France, family hotel
For those who prefer savory breakfast: fresh eggs, cheese and ham.
Ardèche, France, family hotel
My sunny breakfast. Apple purée (in the glass on the right) was delicious.
Ardèche, France, family hotel
After breakfast – morning dip in the clouds… That’s the French version of the Dolce Vita;)

Auberge de la Tour de Brison

Les Beaumasses, Quartier La Chapelette, 07110 Sanilhac

+33 (0)4 75 39 29 00

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