- by Pascale
La Tour de Barcelonne is one of my favourite walks near Valence. On this family-friendly walk, you'll have a breath-taking view over the surrounding countryside from the tower of the ancient feudal castle. It is also an opportunity to discover the Chapel of Saint Marguerite that overlooks the village of Combovin.
It takes around 30 minutes to get to the departure point of this walk from Valence. You can also begin from Barcelonne or Combovin, just follow one of the dirt tracks that lead to the tower.
I have done this walk a few times with my family. It takes just over 2 hours if you're really taking your time, and I recommend going at a leisurely pace to enjoy this walk! The first part is slightly uphill, especially if you leave from Combovin, but it's not too steep. This path is quite a popular one, and often used by trail runners or mountain bikes. You'll see diverse plant life along your way as you pass through the forest and bushes. You'll even feel a certain Mediterranean atmosphere along some stony paths. They make you feel like you're in the garrigue.
La Tour de Barcelonne can be seen very early on. Perched up in the hills of Vercors, not a lot of people know about the history of this medieval fortified tower. The superb panoramic view across the Ardèche countryside is worth the uphill climb! The footpath then becomes narrower and winds along the ridge. I like this part of the walk because there are some great views. One last uphill section and then we catch a glimpse of the cross at the summit. The Chapel of Sainte Marguerite is just behind it and worth a visit.
This chapel was built on the foundations of an older one in the first half of the 19th century. It is open 24 hours a day so don't hesitate to venture inside. After this short break to admire the view and the chapel, it's time to head back down to the village. This great walk is an easy and quickly accessible one, for a much needed breath of fresh air!