Ardèche department

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Coat of arms of the Ardèche department
Finistère Côtes-d’Armor Ille-et-Vilaine Morbihan Loire-Atlantique Vendée Manche Mayenne Orne Calvados Maine-et-Loire Sarthe Indre-et-Loire Vienne Deux-Sèvres Indre Loir-et-Cher Eure Eure-et-Loir Seine-Maritime Oise Aisne Somme Pas-de-Calais Nord Ardennes Marne Meuse Meurthe-et-Moselle Haute-Marne Vosges Moselle Haut-Rhin Bas-Rhin Territoire de Belfort Cher Loiret Yonne Aube Côte-d’Or Nièvre Haute-Saône Essonne Yvelines Seine-et-Marne Val-d’Oise Hauts-de-Seine Val-de-Marne Seine-Saint-Denis Paris Doubs Jura Saône-et-Loire Allier Creuse Haute-Vienne Charente Charente-Maritime Corrèze Dordogne Gironde Puy-de-Dôme Loire Rhône Ain Haute-Savoie Cantal Lot Savoie Haute-Loire Isère Ardèche Landes Lot-et-Garonne Hautes-Alpes Drôme Alpes-Maritimes Var Alpes-de-Haute-Provence Vaucluse Bouches-du-Rhône Gard Hérault Lozère Aveyron Tarn Tarn-et-Garonne Gers Pyrènèes-Atlantiques Hautes-Pyrénées Aude Pyrénées-Orientales Haute-Garonne Ariège Haute-Corse Corse-du-Sud Vereinigtes Königreich Andorra Guernsey Jersey Niederlande Belgien Luxemburg Deutschland Liechtenstein Monaco Österreich Schweiz Italien SpanienLocation of the Ardeche department in France
About this picture
region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
prefecture Privas
Sub-prefecture (s) Largentière
Residents 325,712 (Jan 1, 2017)
Population density 59 inhabitants per km²
surface 5,528.64 km²
Arrondissements 3
Community associations 19th
Cantons 17th
Communities 335
President of the
Department Council
Hervé Saulignac
ISO-3166-2 code FR-07
Location of the Ardèche
Location of Ardeche in the
Region Auvergne Rhône-Alpes

The Ardeche [ aʁdɛʃ ] (officially Département de l'Ardèche ) is the French department with the atomic number 07. It is in the southeast of France in the region Auvergne Rhône-Alpes and was named after the river Ardèche named, which rises in the west of the department , cuts through the southern part and flows into the Rhône , which forms the eastern border of the department, at Pont-Saint-Esprit ( Gard department ) .


The Ardèche department, which is part of the Massif Central, borders the Drôme , Vaucluse , Gard , Lozère , Haute-Loire , Loire and Isère departments . It lies at an altitude between approx. 120 m (Rhône Valley) and 1753 m ( Mont Mézenc ). Sufficient rain falls in the Ardèche area, but surface waters (rivers, streams, lakes) are rare due to the lime-rich subsoil, which made settlement in the region difficult for a long time, because deep well construction techniques were only mastered in Europe since the Middle Ages.


The department was established on March 4, 1790 and is almost congruent with the former county Vivarais (a subdivision of the province of Languedoc ).

From 1960 to 2015 it was part of the Rhône-Alpes region , which in 2016 became part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.


place Inhabitants
Annonay 5,550 17,490 16.302
Aubenas 3,315 8,362 11,917
Guilherand-Granges 300 600 10,841
Tournon-sur-Rhône 3,419 5,174 10,558
Le part 1,253 5,582 8,376
Privas 2,923 7,561 8,313
Saint-Péray 1,652 2,603 7,494
Bourg-Saint-Andéol 3,964 4.165 7,236
La Voulte-sur-Rhône 1,369 2,738 5.124
Viviers 1,892 3,416 3,788
Vals-les-Bains 1,960 4.025 3,455
Davézieux 598 1,151 3,071
Le Cheylard 1,722 3,373 3,037

coat of arms

The coat of arms of the department largely corresponds to the historical province of Vivarais: It shows in blue six rows sown golden lilies that of a golden board occupied and eight blue breastplate are surrounded.

Administrative division

Communes and arrondissements in the Ardèche department

The Ardèche department is divided into 3 arrondissements , 17 cantons and 335 communes . Before the state-wide reorganization of the cantons in 2015, the département was divided into 33 cantons. A few years earlier, on March 1, 2007, the communes of the cantons of Antraigues-sur-Volane , Aubenas , Vals-les-Bains and Villeneuve-de-Berg had moved from the Arrondissement Privas to the Arrondissement Largentière.

Arrondissement Cantons Communities Residents
January 1, 2017
Density of
population / km²
Largentière 7th 151 000000000101751.0000000000101,751 2,646.36 000000000000038.000000000038 071
Privas 6th 66 000000000085005.000000000085.005 1,145.45 000000000000074.000000000074 072
Tournon-sur-Rhône 8th 118 000000000138956.0000000000138,956 1,736.83 000000000000080.000000000080 073
Ardèche department 17th 335 000000000325712.0000000000325.712 5,528.64 000000000000059.000000000059 07
See also


Traditionally, agriculture (farming and animal husbandry) plays the most important role in the economic life of the residents; In the past, the basis of food was also the sweet chestnut , which was eaten roasted as an equivalent to the little-known potatoes or dried and processed into flour. Today their cultivation is intensified again.

The regional wine domination " Ardèche " has produced high quality wines since the last decades of the 20th century. The area under cultivation, which actually belongs to the Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Vivarais wine-growing regions , is increasing continuously.

In the 18th and 19th centuries there were several silk mills in the region, but they could not keep up with imports from Asia in terms of quality and price. Since the second half of the 20th century, tourism in the form of renting holiday apartments ( gîtes ) has increasingly become an important economic factor.

Rail transport

In addition to a railway line on the right bank of the Rhône, there are two museum lines. The Chemin de Fer du Vivarais runs through the Doux valley between Tournon-sur-Rhône and Lamastre . There is also the tourist rail bus service Train touristique de l'Ardèche méridionale between Saint-Jean-le-Centenier and Vogüé . The western part of the department is connected to the national rail network via the Cevennes Railway in Villefort (Lozère) . The Ardèche department is the only department in mainland France that does not have a train station operated by the SNCF .


Due to its unique landscape and its flora and fauna, the Ardèche is a destination for nature-loving tourists and those looking for peace and quiet.


Nature and climate

Landscape near Thueyts

The Ardèche shows a nature that can only be found sporadically in Europe. Animals, especially insects, reptiles and birds find a perfect environment here. An area of ​​around 180,000 hectares is placed under special protection in the Monts d'Ardèche Regional Nature Park . The Ardèche department is divided into two parts. The northern part consists of a mountain landscape that reaches heights of up to 1700 m. The southern part is characterized by the Gorges de l'Ardèche ; the mountains and plateaus are here at a maximum height of 500 m.

Northern part of the Ardèche

This upper part has a harsh climate, that is, cool and windy in winter and hot in summer. Up here one lives mainly from cattle breeding and agriculture, which is why this part of the Ardèche is called the Butterland. You could compare it to a desert, but not endless sand, but endless grass. In contrast to the south of the Ardèche, there are very large pine forests here. The Loire also rises here . The landscape has a topography sloping towards the south, which is still up to 1700 m high in the north, but only reaches heights of approx. 180 m in the south. Most of the small rivers run dry in summer; only the larger ones still have water.

Southern part of the Ardèche

In the southern part there is a mild climate with moderate winter and summer periods. Alternating with several weeks of drought, there can be short but violent thunderstorms that cause major floods. Therefore, in the south, wine, olives and fruits such as peach, cherries and so on are grown. Furthermore, the south is characterized by abrupt valleys with steep, wooded slopes. There are no fir forests here, but large and many oak forests with wild boars . There are no high mountains, just flat, wooded hills. Large and small stalactite caves are extremely numerous.

Central part of the Ardèche

The largest silk production in Europe was in this region until the end of the First World War , when imported silk from China increasingly displaced French silk from the markets. Even so, there are still very many mulberry trees in this area today . Many chestnut plantations, whether well-tended or wild, cover the hills; the Ardèche region is the main producer of around 50% of sweet chestnuts in France.

Ruins of the
Mazan Cistercian Abbey

History and sights

Launched in 1790, the department of Ardèche covers about the same area as the historical province of Vivarais . The most important cultural attraction in the region is the Chauvet Cave near Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, which was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2014 . As several dolmens and menhirs prove, the area of ​​the southern Ardèche was settled as early as the Neolithic . Roman and early medieval finds, on the other hand, are almost unknown, although the nearby Rhône Valley was one of the most important settlements and traffic routes of the time. The region only experienced significant cultural development in the high Middle Ages; this is indicated by the numerous Romanesque churches and castles. A cultural advancement towards the style epochs of Gothic , Renaissance or Baroque took place only in extremely rare cases (e.g. at the Notre-Dame-des-Pommiers church in Largentière ).

The rock gate at Vallon-Pont-d'Arc is the symbol of the Ardèche Valley.

See also

Web links

Commons : Ardèche department  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. accessed on December 3, 2015
  2. Largentière - Climate tables
  3. Insee
  4. ^ Richard Deiss: Vane Cathedral and Sugar Beet Station. A short story about 200 European train stations . Bonn 2010, p. 55.
  5. Entry on the website of the UNESCO World Heritage Center ( English and French ).

Coordinates: 44 ° 44 '  N , 4 ° 36'  E