Perched on a cliff overlooking the River Ardèche, the superb village of Balazuc has restored its heritage remarkably well. A former stronghold of the lords of Balazuc, this characterful little village, with its rich medieval past, is today listed amongst the most beautiful villages in France. A charming labyrinth of tortuous streets interspersed by arched passages, arcades and stairways, to be enjoyed on foot, during a delightful stroll...It's also a chance to admire its two beautiful buildings, listed as historic monuments: the feudal Castle, remodelled many times, and the Romanesque church of St Magdalen, which is a venue for concerts and exhibitions of paintings in summer. Then head for the bridge over the Ardèche, crossing to the other side to enjoy an uninterrupted view of the village looking like a picture postcard...
The area's other attractions include a beach for people to enjoy river bathing, a river sports centre offering canoe and kayak rides down the Ardèche, as well as a centre for education about the environment and sustainable development, situated at the Viel Audon hamlet co-operative, which is accessible in fifteen minutes on foot, along a path by the river.
Balazuc, classified among the most beautiful villages in France, takes place in the Ardèche, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Situated on the heights of the Ardeche valley, it is about twenty kilometers from Aubenas, not far from Vogüé. The town is also labeled Village of character for its architecture and its heritage.
All the epochs are represented in the village of Balazuc, populated site since the man of Neanderthal. The one who takes his name from the Gauls, Baladunum, undergoes evolutions over the centuries, while retaining its aspect of small medieval village. Original and authentic, the town has managed to preserve despite its years its uniqueness, still unveiling today a rich heritage of interest.
In the heart of the winding alleys, between the vaulted passages and the view over the valley, visitors are charmed by this charming village.
Inscribed with the Historic Monuments, the castle of Balazuc dates, for its oldest part, of the XIth century. Now transformed into guest rooms, the building allows to admire the old rectangular keep built on the rock, as well as the buildings added between the XIIth and the XIIIth century. The latter, modified two centuries later, still unveil mullioned windows and a monumental living room fireplace. The ensemble has been added to the additional list of Historical Monuments.
The church of Our Lady of Balazuc was built between the eleventh and the thirteenth century. Inscribed in the Historic Monuments, it is now in ruins and was replaced by the church of Sainte-Madeleine in the nineteenth century. It regularly hosts exhibitions in the tourist season, and it is possible to climb on its roof to enjoy the view of the surrounding valley.
The museum of the Ardèche makes it possible to discover more than 800 original fossils retracing the history of the geology of the Ardèche and unveiling the most important fossiliferous sites of the department.
Under the town hall of Balazuc, it is possible to discover a copy of the sarcophagus of the village. The original, paleochristian, dates from the end of the 4th century and is located in the Gallo-Roman museum of Lyon. According to legend, this sarcophagus two meters long and decorated with seven niches representing biblical scenes, would be that of the bishop of Alba.
Strolling through the medieval streets of Balazuc, under the vaulted passages, you can admire the ruins of the 13th century Saint John the Baptist chapel, or a strong house of the same period with its large square tower. Excursions are organized to better understand the history of this exciting city.
There are several vestiges of the medieval period, like the Porte de la Sablière, the best preserved of the ancient ramparts, or the tower of Queen Jeanne of Balazuc, now private property.
Balazuc also has climbing sites such as the Barasses.
Do not miss to go through old Audon, a co-operative village now restored. There is a center for sustainable development and the environment.
A beach, installed on the banks of the Ardèche, allows the practice of canoeing or swimming.
In July and August, the village offers a semi-nocturnal craft market and local producers on Tuesday evening.
The festival of the village is held in July with its ball or its distribution of pognes.
The festival of terraces De Fil en Arbre takes place in the village of old Audon in July. On the program, workshops of old, sports events or even concerts.
Around Balazuc: sites except the Pont d'Arc, the gorges of Ardeche, the Devil's Bridge, the waterfall of Ray Pic, Vive Font ... Classified and villages to visit such as Vogue, Labeaume, Saint-Montan, Antraigues Vinezac ...