Quiet campsites in the Ardèche
The name Ardèche probably makes you think of the Gorges de l'Ardèche , the impressive gorge in the south of the area, where the famous Pont d'Arc is located.
But looking for a few nice campsites I started in the north of the area, because it is beautiful there too. The hills are green, rivers flow over the rocks and you can walk well. From the north I hurled south along the beautiful roads, to Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche.
Along the way, I noticed seven campsites, especially the quiet and relatively small ones, that's just my preference. Those are the ones that you will find below, hopefully it will help you make your choice.
Two quick tips: try to get a shady spot because the sun can be very strong here, and bring beach shoes as sandy beaches along the river are scarce usually you have to do it with gravel and pebbles.
Camping Le Viaduc ***
Camping Le Viaduc (new owners since 2017) is located in the north of the Ardeche, deep in the greenery, at the bottom of the valley of the river Doux. The river runs beautifully in a curve around the campsite and you have direct access to the river in several places, with good play opportunities on the beaches and in the river itself. You can do swimming and build dams almost automatically. The area is very quiet: you don't hear traffic. The only road in the immediate area is the access road to the campsite itself.
There are no clearly defined places, but the campsite is beautifully laid out: spacious and there is a lot of greenery, so there is plenty of opportunity for a nice place for yourself. Under the trees you will find the necessary shade and in the evening the sun disappears quickly behind the hill so that the campsite can cool down. At the top of the campsite is the small restaurant with a terrace that overlooks the river. In addition to free pitches, huts and tents are available for rent, including yurts, possibly complete with breakfast and dinner.
A little further south than Le Viaduc is the charming farmer's campsite Bastier (Dutch owners). It is a small, simple site with only 12 pitches and some rental accommodations: you can rent a yurt or use the nicely refurbished gite. The places are far apart and often have a wide view over the valley. Bastier is on a beautiful slope above the valley, close to Saint-Julien-Labrousse, where you can go for small groceries. The assets of the campsite are peace and space. Bastien is well suited for walkers, there are excellent hiking opportunities in the area. Dogs are allowed and you will be greeted enthusiastically on arrival by the four dogs from the campsite itself (a charming little club). By the way, despite the simplicity, you do have a bread service in the morning. Oh, and if you have children, they can milk the goat in the morning.
Camping Le Massiol
Just north of Aubenas, near the hamlet of Saint-Michel-de-Boulogne, is Le Massiol, a simple farmer's campsite. Nicely laid out, with terraces among the cherry trees. You have a beautiful view over the valley and the ruins of the Château de Boulogne. Is there much to do? No: there is no swimming pool, no playground, no bar or entertainment. I think ideal for walkers or maybe a family with toddlers. The plumbing is very simple and small, but some expansion is being worked on. You will soon want to do your shopping in Aubenas (about half an hour's drive), or the smaller Vessaux. All in all, something for people who love simplicity and can do without wi-fi.
Camping Domaine De Chadeyron ****
Domaine de Chadeyron is owned by a friendly, smiling Dutch owner who has lived in the Ardèche since his childhood. The campsite is located high on the hills just north of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc: not in the busiest part of the river, but within easy reach of all sights. The campsite is well cared for and beautifully laid out, draped over the hilly terrain, where the natural stone walls of the terraces have been carefully built around the ancient oaks. A beautiful swimming pool has been built next to the campsite, with an unobstructed view of the valley. Nice detail: the pool also has play equipment, but they are laid out next to and below the pool, so that the children can play, but it does not interfere with your view from the lounger.
Camping Les Silhols **
Camping Les Silhols is not far from Domaine de Chadeyron, is simpler in design and smaller, but certainly also worth considering. It is a flat terrain with generous greenery. I spoke to an extremely friendly, relaxed owner. Despite the relative simplicity you will find a swimming pool there; not large but nicely laid out and well maintained. There are a row of mobile homes along the edge of the campsite, but they look well cared for and absolutely do not dominate the picture. You have the advantage of a quiet place, far from the hustle and bustle and at the same time pretty centrally located in the southern Ardèche, with the main attractions within easy reach.
Camping Le Mas De La Source ***
Le Mas de la Source is located in the middle of one of the busiest camping areas in the Ardèche. This is where you will find the luxury campsites with all the trimmings. For example, if you come from Ruoms and cross the bridge over the Ardèche towards Sampzon, you imagine yourself in a huge holiday village. And you actually are. But then drive a little further over the peninsula formed by the bend in the river and you quickly leave the crowds behind you. There you will find Camping Le Mas de la Source, on its own sheltered spot on the river. With roughly thirty pitches, the site is not large, but has a terrace, some play area, a great swimming pool and excellent access to the river. The river beach is beautifully situated in a park-like setting. The owner is friendly and radiates hospitality. The places are not huge, but shaded and well defined by generous greenery.
Camping Le Relais Des Brison **
Far behind in the Baume valley, amidst lush greenery and near the river, lies Le Relais des Brison campsite. The campsite is simple: there is a bar, sanitary facilities and a barbecue, and that's about it. You will have to do without a pool. But who cares if you have a beautiful river nearby? You have to cross a small road to get there, but a car rarely drives there, and once you reach the river you have a nice, flat area with the necessary shade, along the rippling water. The way there from Joyeuse is also beautiful, I would love to go up and down every day for groceries, to be able to drive through the green slopes and steep rock walls along the river. The campsite is laid out against the hill with beautiful terraces. At the top is a handful of mobile homes and it might be a little nicer there, but arrange for yourself one of the shady spots in the lower part and you're in the right place.