The Parting of the Waters – a unique artistic project supported by the Monts d’Ardèche Regional Nature Park, opens on 7th July 2017. Running along the high ridge that divides water flowing to the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, The Watershed will celebrate the history, heritage and geography of this natural phenomenon. Artistic Director, David Moinard, has chosen a number of geological and heritage sites, and at each location, artists, landscapers and designers have been invited to create a work of art unique to that place. This outdoor gallery will include sculptures in iron filigree, a landscaped trail and a GPS guide to the countryside, created in conjunction with local cultural sites and tourist attractions.
Take two museums – Gerbier de Jonc – a house at the source of the Loire will open this year. The Ardèche department has completely restored what was the old Touring Club building, which was at the beginning of the twentieth century, the centre of tourism promotion in the area. It is now a shrine to the most regal and wild of French rivers. There is a series of slideshows, models, films, pop-ups, maps, photographs, postcards and games explaining the local geology, the birth of the Loire at this source and so forth. It is a long way from learning in school!
The Ardèche Museum, Balazuc is an astonishing place that is dedicated to the history of man through the legacy of the earth – a superb collection of fossils that are exceptionally well preserved. These were found by Bernard Riou and have been in his family’s private collection until now. They are renowned for their diversity. One may take part in a workshop or even a hike in the surrounding chalk plateaux to discover the origins of the fossils.
Where to stay: La Rivoire, Vanosc – François Morlat always dreamt of owning his own château and his dreams turned into reality when he found La Rivoire. It was in a very good state of repair having never fallen to rack and ruin and was situated in a protected area that remained unchanged for centuries. François consulted the archives in Lyon to see who worked on the chateau throughout the ages and how they built and maintained the building so the originality of the construction could be maintained.
Voices 360 (Voix360) – Two Antipodean singers – Kate Ladner and Nicholas Todorovic – moved to Uzer in the Ardèche in 2005 having fallen in love with a gorgeous ‘bastide’. Being musically inclined, they opened up the old guardroom to the public to come and listen to their concerts, as he is a baritone and she a soprano. Verdi, Rossini, Bizet and Puccini were heard here for a few years but last year, in 2016 they had a change in their repertoire, They decided to change their At Home concerts to Voix 360 opening the classics to include jazz, folk and so on as well as inviting young talent and international stars to come and perform. So there was Tosca in February sung by Nicky Spence, the celebrated tenor, in the crypt in Lagorce, Madeleine Shaw, Mezzo soprano in March, Bruno Heinen and Emilia Martensson for a jazz concert in April and Opéra Divin in May.
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Photo credit thanks to: Ardèche Tourisme
Notes to Editors: Southern France is an umbrella association promoting the Ardèche, Drôme, Gard, Vaucluse Provence, Vallée du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Wines. The four departments run across three different regions (Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur – Auvergne Rhône Alpes – Languedoc Roussillon Midi Pyrénées), their collaboration enables visitors to discover a coherent geographic area along the Rhône Valley. Strong common themes are authentic and perched villages, great natural or architectural sites, outdoor activities and, of course, Rhône Valley vineyards. So think sunshine, authenticity, heritage, nature and the art of living which is of course – food and wine!