WIH THE « RHONE CYCLE ROUTE », THE VIARHÔNA BECOMES PART OF THE EUROVELO NETWORK !
The « Rhone Cycle Route » is the first cycle route, since 2011, to become part of the EuroVelo, network of European cycle routes. This cycle route, which follows the Rhône river through Switzerland and France has officially become EuroVelo 17 – Rhone Cycle Route. In France, the ViaRhôna forms part of EuroVelo 17 and is now classed at the level of European cycle routes. This decision was taken by the European Cycling Federation (ECF), which organises the network at a European level, following a three year application process.
The Drôme part of the route, which is 67km long (52 km of ‘voie verte’ (traffic-free) and 15 km in ‘véloroute’) is open to cyclists, roller bladers and walkers. All the associated facilities are adapted to people with mobility problems.
What you can see in the Drôme on these stages:
Sablons / Tournon-sur-Rhône (stage 10)
This first Drôme section runs from St- Rambert-d’Albon to Saint-Vallier (15km). A discovery itinerary allows you to reach Tain-l’Hermitage through a landscape of orchards and terraced vineyards, including the very ones which produce the famous appellations AOC Hermitage et Crozes-Hermitage(a number of cellars can be visited).
Another culinary reason to stop at Tain-l’hermitage: the famous Valrhona chocolate factory and its brand new Cité du chocolat.
Tournon-sur-Rhône / Valence (stage 11)
From Tain-L’Hermitage, a short secondary route allows you to reach La Roche-de-Glun and Pont-de-l’Isère (fiefdom of the starred chef, Michel Chabran), and then re-join the ViaRhôna as far as Valence, city of art and history. Explore the old centre of Valence, its colourful terraces, the shade and greenery of the Parc Jouvet and the richness of the Musée de Valence - art and archaeology (re-opened in December 2013 following renovation). For lovers of good food there are no fewer than three starred establishments, including that of Anne- Sophie Pic, the only woman chef to be triply rewarded). Should you run out of energy, enjoy a Suisse, a local speciality flavoured with orange peel and, in a few minutes, you will reach the end of the Drôme section, the Port de l’Epervière. This is the largest riverine leisure port in France and proudly flies, since 2005, the « pavillon bleu » for its exemplary work with regard to the natural environment and sustainable tourism.
Valence / Le Pouzin (stage 12)
Leaving the le port de l’Epervière behind you along a discovery itinerary, you re-join the ViaRhôna between Livron and Loriol (6km) and discover Printegarde island. This natural reserve, situated at the confluence of the Drôme river and the Rhône is an exceptional site from which to observe nesting and migratory aquatic birds, and also boasts remarkable flora and fauna. This is also the point of departure for transversal routes of the ‘La Vélodrôme’ and along the banks of the Drôme river.
Le Pouzin / Châteauneuf-du-Rhône (stage 13)
You are now in Drôme Provençale and you will notice that the accent becomes more sing-song. Montélimar is, once again, reached by a discovery itinerary, point of departure for this the 4th stage in the Drôme ViaRhôna, which finishes at Châteauneuf-du-Rhône. There is a quasi-obligatory halt at Montélimar to taste its celebrated nougat in the shade of the ‘allées provençales’ or the château des Adhémar.
Châteauneuf-du-Rhône/ Pont-Saint-Esprit (stage 14)
On this last stage, a discovery itinerary will take you to the limits of the département de la Drôme. On the way, you can discover the village of Donzère, its chocolaterie and the musée des Amis du Vieux Donzère. Not forgetting a tropical interlude at Pierrelatte to discover the astonishing Ferme aux Crocodiles.
USEFUL INFORMATION BEFORE YOU GO
- The signage of the route which follows one side of the Rhône and then the other is currently in the throes of being installed: it is a good idea to take a map with you.
- some of the branch itineraries move away from the Rhône and cross landscapes with more ups and downs, requiring a higher level of physical fitness.