Privas is the capital of the Ardèche region in the Rhône-Alpes region yet it is just a small town with around 10,000 residents. The rugged landscape and craggy hills run down to the three rivers in the area: the Mezayon, the Ouveze and the Charalon. The town has some interesting buildings and historic landmarks which survived the 17th century siege and consequent destruction of much of the city. The trees which line the streets of Privas are chestnuts and in the autumn there are many festivals and markets celebrating chestnut or "marron" products.
This part of the Ardèche is popular with walkers and hikers. The rivers provide a good location for angling and canoeing. The area is also popular with rock-climbers, especially around Balazuc.
The regional Saturday morning market is a good place to source locally grown produce, fruit and vegetables. The town has a number of delightful restaurants serving crepes, tartines and other regional cuisine. There is a delightful crèperie called Le Corentin in the Place Republique for a real taste of France.
Privas is within the wine-growing region of the Côtes du Rhône and vines along with other fruits can be seen growing in the area. In the autumn the harvest takes place and the new wines are laid down. There are many wine tours in the area with samples of the wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape, Hermitage and Cotes du Rhone.
This charming town is approximately 20km (13 miles) from your Privas holiday rental. The old part of the town below the castle is utterly charming and unusual vaulted passageways and alleys run between the historic houses. The Portail de la Trappe leads up to the old ramparts of the 13th century castle.Balazuc
Listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, Balazuc is a real picture postcard village. The Barasses Cave across the river has traces of human habitation going back 50,000 years. Set in a river valley, the houses seem to be carved from the rock face with narrow alleys and paths running between the houses. The main landmarks in the town are the castle and the church.
This village is best known for its famous canyons known as the Gorges de l'Ardèche. There is a natural bridge spanning the deep gorge and the Pont d'Arc Grotte has some of the oldest cave paintings in the world.
Privas enjoys hot sunny summers reaching an average 30°C (87°F) in July and mild winters with January highs of around 10°C (49°F). The area has a small amount of rain throughout the year with the heaviest showers in September.
The nearest airport to your Privas holiday home is Granby-Grand (GNB) which is in Grenoble, approximately 91km (57 miles) away. Other airport options are Satolas (LYS) at Lyon and Marseille Provence Airport (MRS). Those wishing to drive to the Ardèche can take ferries from Portsmouth to Cherbourg and Caen or use the Channel tunnel from Dover to Calais.