Saoû Forest - Roubion Valley
a small corner of paradise
Nestled at the center of the most beautiful synclinal of the world, the Saoû Forest covers about 2500 hectares on steep slopes of the giant rocketship which is surrounded by limestone cliffs.
Classified as a “Delicate Natural Space” and managed by the Department, the Forest offers to nature lovers a remarkable variety of fauna and flora. Kilometers of paths allow everyone to discover this gem, but the most common walk is the one which goes to the top of the 3 Becs, these emblematic pyramids of the Drôme, which rise to 1600m.
The Saoû Forest is the most visited Natural site of the Department. From the Neolithic age to the Resistance, and passing by the Huguenots, she has often been used as a refuge during hard times in the past.
She also offers historic buildings like the splendid Auberge des Dauphins built in 1930 in the style of the Petit Trianon, by the eccentric alsacien multimillionaire Maurrus; or the Chapelle Saint Médard sitting on a ridge where you will be able to enjoy the extraordinary panoramic view over the valleys of the Rhône and the Drôme.
Around this unique site, the hilltop villages with their beautiful castles, churches, or temples have kept the authentic charm of the Drôme countryside with lots of local production and are home to many artists and craftsman.
If you come upon the protected natural site by accident you will return with passion and real intention.
Do not miss
Surrounded by cliffs, cuddled up to his huge rock « Le Roc », Saoû is one of the most appealing villages in the Drôme. It’s a haven for hikers, bikers, horse riders, or donkey riders. It is also one of the most frequented sites for rock climbing with a large choice of 600 climbs for all levels.
Globally known for the festival called “Saoû chante Mozart”, Saoû is also known for its festivities (Fête du Picodon, Foire aux Fruits d’Hiver…) which are renowned for the quality of their producers and craftsmen and for the joyful and friendly environment. From the belfry of the Abbaye Saint Tiers to the medieval Rue de l’Oume, it is a pleasure to stroll over the canals and the Vèbre river.
Walking back up the "calade" (street cobbled with pebblestones) of the old Soyans feels like going back in time or flipping through an old history book.
Between two rows of houses often old and sometimes decorated with sculptures, walkers will arrive in front of the impressive battlement gateway where the small chapel Sainte Philomène is to be found.
Some stairs lead to the ruins of the the castle which dominates the gorges of the Roubion, where you will enjoy an exceptional view of the mountains of Saoû.
This authentic "eagles nest" was one of the most important castles in the Drôme but suffered in the religous wars and the french revolution. At its side is the wonderful roman church Saint Marcel which shelters some original frescoes.
Typical small village of the Drome and without doubt one of
the most beautiful, Poet-Celard is accesible by taking a steep
road which dominates the valley of the Roubion.
Then one must leave the car and continue on foot through the
medieval streets which all lead up to the castle which has been admirably restaured.
From the XIII century to today, this site is full of memories
often linked to the religious wars. The shadow of Calvin, who spent some time hère is not the only one to look over this fortress. From the high vantage point and in contemplation of the admirable panorama one quickly forgets that we are in the XXIst century devant ce panorama admirable, on oublierait vite que nous sommes au XXIème siècle !