Down the River Doux

Down the River Doux

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This trail takes you along the Doux river all the way, from its source to where it joins the Rhône. At the start , Col du Rouvey nestling amongst fir trees, takes you to the top of the valley. Picturesque villages like Désaignes or Boucieu le Roi, are worth seeing along the way. You can even board the Train de l'Ardèche steam train in Lamastre to finish your journey through the heart of the Doux Gorges.

9 points of interest

  • Labatie d'Andaure

    La Bâtie d'Andaure (La Bastie or La Bastide) was a very important and very old stronghold covering the whole surface of the present village. Nothing remains of the original castle. The fortress was used at the end of XVlth century during the religious wars. Occasionally, if you keep your eye open, you may see some beautiful sculptured stones used again for another purpose. The recently restored church was built in XlXth century “ in a Gothic style with three naves” Information source : Wikipedia
  • Désaignes

    During Antiquity the village was situated on a natural trail following the Doux valley and going up towards the high plateau of Ardèche and the centre of Gaul. It was named “la voie des Marchands “(the sales merchants’ trail).  The Romans began to improve existing trails and the remains of their presence were found in the village (Roman baths, villas and water springs). Désaignes developed during the Middle Ages. It was one of the biggest villages in the Vivarais area with around 3 000 inhabitants within the village itself. Later on it was marked by religious wars and the Resistance during the second world war. Nowadays it is classified as « Village de caractère » (picturesque village) and Desaignes is considered to be amongst the gems of Ardèche with its authenticity set in a haven of green nature. Information source : Wikipédia
  • Lamastre

    The pleasant rural town of Lamastre came to be in 1790 with the merging together of three villages. We can still see today in the toponymy of the, long ago independant , various parts of the town : Macheville (the old Benedictin priory), La Mastre (top part of the town with the château de Peychelard hovering above) and Retourtour (old fiefdom of the Pagan Retourtour, situated on a curve of the river Doux) Known for its traditional markets and fairs, the town was established along the old Doux Trail linking the Rhône Valley to the town of Puy en Velay thereby making trading easier. The tradition can be seen every Tuesday morning with its market known to be one of the oldest in Ardèche.
  • The château of arlebosc

    In the centre of the village you can see the old medieval château no doubt dating back to Xlllth century. Destroyed and in ruins it was rebuilt or made bigger several times and is a definite characteristic evidence of the past.
  • The châteaux of Romaneaux

    Close to the small village of Arlebosc this beautiful dwelling with its magnificent doors and windows, has everything to remind us of the great nobility of this region in the past.
  • Arlebosc

    Traces of the history of Arlebosc can be found in the legend of Saint Just the bishop of Lyon who converted the people of the town to Christianity in the lVth century. The village developed with fortified manor houses such as the Malgary, Romaneaux châteaus, not forgetting Chazotte château overlooking the railway line. It is even said that its shutters remained closed until the railway line reopened. Needless to say, the marquis of Arlebosc was also the town’s first mayor and to this day still shares his passion for his village. Come to Ardèche Hermitage tourist office and find the “hidden archives of Arlebosc” treasure map to take you on a journey through time and space discovering all there is to know about the history of this old priory.
  • The château of Chazotte

    Its oppressing building (XVllth century) overlooking the river Doux valley, towers to the east of the village of Arlebosc. It is characterized by 4 « culs de lampe » towers along with its highest, more recent tower on the west side.
  • The King's bridge

    The King’s bridge was listed amongst historical monuments in 1927. It crosses over the river Doux linking the two villages Boucieu le Roi and Colombier le Vieux. No doubt built during the XVth century, the bridge was part of the rapidly developing communication network in the North Vivarais area. It was partly rebuilt and an arch added in the XVlllth century. Where does its name come from ? The village of Boucieu le Roi had the privilege of being one of the courts of justice installed by Philippe le Bel at the end of the XVlllth century. At that time the kings of France seeked to establish their power in the provinces by forming alliances with the local lords. The village of Boucieu was founded and its inhabitants became exempt of taxes (except for the salt tax). Unfortunately it did not last for ever, a disappointment for people living there today.
  • The Doux Valley a taste of Ardèche

    The blue ribbon of the Doux Valley unfolds itself from the Rhône Valley to the high plateau of Saint Agrève revealing along the way three important themes divided between history, creativity and gastronomy. In Tournon sur Rhône you can almost smell the fragrance of southern France when you stroll through its picturesque narrow streets, visit its museum that seems to be standing on its own rock or discover the terraced vineyards where the legend of the well-known Côtes du Rhône Saint Joseph wine began. Lamastre, another town where you can find artist painters or sculptors going from land art to ceramics. Désaignes, classified « picturesque village » with its castle museum including the story of the Huguenots in its important menu of turbulent history during the Middle Ages. And for lovers of steam trains come and discover some spectacular landscapes aboard the Train de l’Ardèche travelling through the Doux Gorges.


Follow the D532 from Lalouvesc going towards Saint Bonnet le Froid.

1 – 8.2 km
Bear left onto the D228 towards Saint Pierre sur Doux.

2 – 11.1 km
In Saint Pierre sur Doux continue ahead on the D228 as far as Désaignes going past Labâtie d’Andaure.

3 – 34.4 km
In Désaignes turn left onto the D533 and carry on to Lamastre where you can board the train to finish off the trail.

4 – 42.5 km
In Lamastre turn left onto the D534 going to Annonay.

5 – 44.8 km
Bear left onto the D578 to Arlebosc.

6 - 55 km
As you come out of the village turn right and go down on the D209 towards Boucieu le Roi.

7 – 58.4 km
Just before crossing the river Doux on the Pont du Roy bridge, 1km before Boucieu le Roi, continue ahead on the small road zigzagging along the valley floor.

8 - 64 km
When you reach the railway station in Colombier le Vieux, turn left and go up to the main road.

9 – 64.5 km
Carry on to the right on the D234 and enter into the Doux Gorges via the Pont des Etroits bridge.

10 – 67.1 km
Finish off the trail on the D534 taking you to Tournon sur Rhône.
  • Departure : Lalouvesc - Place du lac (Lake square)
  • Arrival : Tournon-sur-Rhône - Quai Farconnet
  • Towns crossed : Lalouvesc, Lamastre, Arlebosc, Bozas, Colombier-le-Vieux, Saint-Barthélemy-le-Plain, and Tournon-sur-Rhône

Altimetric profile

Information desks

6, place du 8 mai 1945 - BP 70019, 26601 Tain l'Hermitage

http://www.ardeche-hermitage.cominfo@ah-tourisme.com04 75 06 06 12


Bus route N° 11 Tournon sur Rhône - Saint Félicien - Lalouvesc (only during summer).

Access and parking

How to get there : Bus in Tournon sur Rhône : From Valence - Follow the N7 going towards Lyon as far as Tain l'Hermitage before crossing the river to Tournon sur Rhône (beginning of the trail) : From Tournon sur Rhône - Follow the D532 as far as Lalouvesc.

Parking :

Place du quai Farconnet in Tournon sur Rhône


Emergency number :114

More information

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