Tournon-sur-Rhône : Le Jardin d’Eden

After leaving Lyon we left behind the Sôane river and began our journey on the River Rhone.  Our first stop the next day was the small town of Tournon-sur-Rhone, an ancient town in the Ardeche, which dates back to the time of the Gallo-Romans.The town is  renowned for its Hermitage vineyards which dominate the hillsides opposite the town. Close to the quayside, opposite the vineyards, is Tournon with its quite well preserved castle dating back to the 14th century. Within the castle walls are ruins of an earlier fortress dating from the 10th century.Click on an image to open slideshow

As part of our walking tour we also visited a beautiful hidden garden. Le Jardin d’Eden, set within the ancient ruined granite walls and perched on a steep hillside. This steeply terraced garden was once part of a monastery and later the convent of Notre Dame. Until relatively recently it was abandoned and totally overgrown. It is now privately owned having been almost single handedly rescued by Eric a former high-flying business man, who, after a health scare, has embraced a very different lifestyle and poured his passion and energies into the restoration. Gradually he is re-establishing the garden groves, ponds and terraces in a classical style. It is a steep climb up the terraced hillside to explore the gardens but the panoramic views from the top are very rewarding.

Time also for a little shopping. I managed to find an artist’s cooperative which made a wide variety of handcrafted items. I managed to pick some gifts to take home.

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