Nestling on the side of a hill and surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye can see, the old village of Laudun (the town only became Laudun-l'Ardoise in 2001) has kept all the elements of its long past. Old houses, some with loggias, line the streets that wind past gates and wells and up and down steps.
In the centre of the village stands the imposing Notre-Dame-la-Neuve Church built in the 14th century. In southern Gothic style with buttressed walls, you can see it from far in the distance.
And you really should have a stroll on the Sainte-Foy Hill that overlooks the village and holds the Planchon gardens, the very pretty White Penitents Chapel and the imposing statue of the Virgin with Child.
There, you can still see the vestiges of the feudal castle built in the Middle Ages and nearly completely demolished during the wars of religion.
The garden also offers you beautiful views over the village roofs and the Rhône Valley at its feet.
Very lively, the centre of Laudun has all the shops and businesses you might need in addition to restaurants and cafés with terraces. Every Monday morning, the big market takes place along the Rue de la République.
Besides the village centre, the town of Laudun-l'Ardoise holds in store for you many marvellous surprises.
Notre-Dame la Neuve Church
Front of the Notre-Dame la Neuve Church
The Bell Tower of the Notre-Dame la Neuve Church
In the streets of Laudun-l'Ardoisea
Pénitents Blancs chapel
The Castrum remains on the Sainte-Foy hill
The Sainte Foy hill
The Camp de César, situated on the plateau that overlooks the village, is impressive. Once an important oppidum, it was occupied from the 5th century BC until the 6th century AD. Many remarkably preserved vestiges still remain today: ramparts, forum, basilica, living quarters, necropolis...
A parking area can be found 1km above the village. From there a 600-metre path leads you to the site, taking you past many different varieties of Mediterranean plants. Another marked trail follows the cliffs and offers you exceptional views over the Rhône Valley, the Mont Ventoux and the surrounding vineyards. Wear a good pair of walking shoes and leave yourself at least 2 hours to explore this majestic site, which spreads out over 18 hectares in all.
Nicknamed the "Little Pont-du-Gard”, the Balouvière Aqueduct is a small three-tiered aqueduct in a luxuriously verdant valley, 400 metres to the north of the village centre of Laudun-l'Ardoise. The aqueduct was built in 1870 using all the old Gallo-Roman techniques.
The Balouvière Aqueduct
The "Little Pont-du-Gard”
In the Tave Valley, surrounded by its water-filled moat, the magnificent Château de Lascours was the former residence of the lords of Laudun. Starting with it 12th century towers, several additions were made to produce a splendid Renaissance palace at the end of the 16th century. The building sits on piles, following the construction principles used in Venice. It is even said that the castle is haunted by the “Lady of the Roses”.
The Château de Lascours
For lovers of great wines, Laudun has several vineyards and wine-making cellars that produce AOC Côtes-du-Rhône Village wines and of which the whites rival those of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
In the area around Laudun-l'Ardoise:
- Saint-Victor-la-Coste, 6 km away, a gem of an old village hugging the hill crowned by its castella
- The site of Gicon, 7 km away, with the 12th century castle and tower that dominate the village of Chusclan and the Romanesque Sainte-Madeleine Chapel from the 11th century.
- L'Ardoise, attached to Laudun since 2001, a former hamlet that in modern times has turned to the steel industry. It is also home to a regiment of the Foreign Legion.