ViaRhôna linking Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean, is a bikeway / greenway, a member of the EuroVelo Network (EuroVelo 17). It runs along the Rhône, a distance of 817 km in 21 stages ranging from 27 to 40 km.
To date, the route has a total of nearly 650 km operational cycleway, passing successively from the right bank to the left bank of the river and using, to a large extent, the old towpaths .Located halfway along the route, the Drôme offers 5 sections on the left bank of the Rhone, alternating with a side-swipe over to the Ardèche on the right bank or through discovery routes set up on Drôme side.The Drôme part of the route, which is 67km long (52 km of ‘voie verte’ – traffic-free) and 15 km of ‘véloroute’ is open to cyclists, roller bladers and walkers. All the associated facilities are adapted to people with mobility problems.
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 and 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.
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 ). 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.
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.
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, the 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.
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.
List of classified or certified providers: to -5km from ViaRhôna: