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La Fontaine du muletier

fontaine

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Sorbier

Olive oil press "Le Verdalet"

Verdalet

The village

Bessas

Bessas

Bessas is located south of the Ardèche department, at the edge of the Cevennes, near the valleys of the Ardèche, Cèze and Chassezac rivers.

The village includes a 'château' from the late sixteenth century and a Baroque church with a multi-coloured wood alterpiece from the seventeenth century.

Chassezac

The surrounding terrain is karstic, riddled with sinkholes, underground rivers and karst springs.

The most famous sites are the Orgnac cave (a Grand Site de France), the Marzal cave, the Cocalière cave, the Païolive wood, the Pont d'Arc and the Ardèche Gorges.

Aven d'Orgnac

The area is also famous for its various outdoors activities: hiking, canoeing, petanque...

A bit of History

Inhabited by man for nearly 300,000 years, this region is a paradise for archaeologists, the highly permeable rocks having helped preserve many relics of earlier civilizations.

Pont d'Arc

The region is rich in dozens of decorated caves, the most famous, located near the Combe d'Arc (Grotte Chauvet), contains more than 300 Parietal (cave) artworks, some of which are more than 30,000 years old. This site preserved for nearly 20,000 years has been open to scientists since 1995. The cave is closed to the public but an exhibition centre (including a 3500 m² replica of the cave) is planned (2014).

Many Roman relics testify to the degree of civilization of the area finding their culmination in the town of Alba-la-Romaine (near Viviers).

Eglise

In the Middle Ages, the Bishop of Viviers, lords and religious orders exercised authority. Vivarais territories were governed by the Languedoc province, very distant from the royal power.

The sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were heavily marked by the French Wars of Religion and the Reformation left a deep imprint in all the Cevennes and the Vivarais territories.

haut

Bessas thus lost its monasteries, changed its church and built its castle that quickly abandoned its feudal character.

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