Gorges of the Ardèche, shows river Ardèche, gorges, Largentière

Dramatic limestone gorges carved deep and liable to flash floods, the road along the top of the river Ardèche is renowned for the view contrasting between the helm oak scrubland and the meandering gorge. Distinct from Provence but still architecturally related: the Ardèche flows in to the Rhône and hence the Mediterranean.

We stayed at Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, a town now famous for canoeing, with deeply suntanned dudes consigning kids to canoes and kayaks every morning. Their screams echo around the gorge as they pass the numerous rapids. The same dudes drive mini-busses with trailers to retrieve the canoeists from downstream.

The upper Ardèche gorge is maybe less famous but with pretty market towns like Largentière nestling deep in the gorges.