La Drôme, the last untamed river in the Alps
The source of the Drôme is at La Batie-des-Fonds, in the haut-Diois. Its 130km course is punctuated by remarkable sites such as the Claps de Luc, the vineyards of the Diois, the Glandasse mountain, the Trois Becs, the Tour de Crest and finally the Réserve Naturelle des Ramières, before mingling with the waters of the Rhône.
The river Drôme plays the rôle of frontier between the North and South of the département and, more noteworthy, flows entirely freely, without weirs or dams, making it the last untamed river in the Alps.
Well behaved and restrained in summer, the Drôme resembles a sea-side resort and draws to its banks many holiday makers who develop their tans and enjoy swimming in the calm and fresh waters.
Leisure activities on and around the river Drôme
The Drôme by canoe or kayak.
The river does not contain any particular difficulties and has a regular current which carries you gently along with it. It is suitable for beginners and for those with more experience featuring canoe and kayak trips ranging from 6 to 45km.
When the snow melts or after heavy rain, the more challenging waters which result are appreciated by those for looking for greater excitement on rafts and hot-dogs (2 person inflatable canoe).
The Drôme on a bicycle
One of the most pleasant ways of discovering the Drôme valley in on the 130km 'véloroute' (cycle route recommended for touring bicycles) which follows the river from its source at La Bâtie-des-Fonds all the way to where it meets the Rhône, at Livron. Ideal for family excursions.
The Drôme, a paradise for lovers of nature and fishing
Those who are interested in fauna and flora will enjoy this river where beavers have recolonised the banks, sharing their environment with wading birds such as egrets, the discrete black stork and the much more numerous herons. The presence of these «grey flamingos» establishes that fish are also present.
Worth visiting : 'La Réserve Naturelle des Ramières', nature reserve and interpretation centre for the river Drôme
The site covers around 10km along the river.
On the shady and cool path, you embark on a playful, sensory and interactive journey for the whole family, punctuated with interpretation boards and educational areas dedicated to the life of the flora and fauna, and respect for the environment.
The Gare des Ramières, centre for the 'Réserve Naturelle des Ramières', opens its doors to the public and is also a scientific research station and environmental education centre.
topoguide (guide) Les Ramières du Val de Drôme
Officiel website of the Gare des Ramières : www.lagaredesramieres.com
See also the : 'Le saut de la Drôme' (waterfall) and le Claps (rock fall)
In 1442, an entire swathe of the Pic de Luc mountain detached itself and broke into enormous blocks of stone which came to rest in the bed of the Drôme river.
Since then the river Drôme has gained a waterfall and in the surrounding area there are ponds and marshes which keep the area cool for bathers and provide water for the flora and fauna.
Not far from here are the Bouligons. This 65 hectare marsh is the largest wetland in the Drôme département. It is the last remnant of the great lake created by the collapse of the Pic de Luc.
The site, which can be visited using an interpretation trail, features reed beds, concentrated in the central area and wet pasture (Ecopasture). The site contains enormous floral diversity and includes rare and remarkable species.
Other rivers in the department
In summer the pools in the river Roanne also provide very tempting bathing possibilities.
The Toulourenc gorges, on the border with the Vaucluse, also boast bathing pools and you can walk several kilometres along the river with your feet in the water. The transparent waters are surrounded by astonishingly white cliffs where you can hear cicadas sing. This is a minor paradise, which has remained unspoilt, and is lined with rocks and sandy beaches. The Gorges d'Ubrieux also offer 'paddling walks' which will keep you cool.