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People’s Circus

A spectacular site near Chauzon, the cirque de Gens is a must for any camping in the Ardèche. It will particularly appeal to lovers of grandiose landscapes and to photographers.

The Gens cirque, a natural wonder of the Ardèche

Over the millennia, the Ardèche has carved out its bed in a limestone plateau born from the remains of a sea bed, forming impressive cliffs. It took millions of years to create the Ardèche gorges and the Gens cirque…

But what is a circus? A circus is a circular or semi-circular enclosure of high cliffs. The Gens cirque is particularly spectacular with its cliffs reaching 100 m high. It spreads over about 340 hectares, upstream from Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, over 3 communes.

The Gens cirque also has a unique mineralogical quality. The rock of the limestone cliffs of the gorges has been used since Antiquity. Stones extracted from the Ruoms quarry were used to build the Saint-Charles station in Marseille, the port of Sète and even the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Limestone from the Ardèche can be found all over the world!

During your visit to the Gens cirque, you can enjoy exceptional views, walk along the cliffs and climb the steepest walls.

Hiking in the cirque de Gens

Several walks are possible from Ruoms and Balazuc. It is advisable to buy the topo-guide of the hikes in Ruoms where about twenty described walks will allow you to explore the region with all the necessary indications.

If you like hiking and are fit, there is a superb path along the cornice on the right bank of the Ardèche, circling the cirque halfway up the cliffs. It starts at the car park of the cirque de Gens.

You can also do the beautiful 7km loop that starts in Ruoms and goes around the Mas de Grazel, opposite the cirque. The view is magnificent and you can access a small beach on the way. So don’t forget to bring your swimwear and towels! And on the beach of Isla Cool Douce, you can also rent a canoe or a stand-up paddle to discover the cirque de Gens from the water. The 18 km canoe route from Voguë to Ruoms also passes through the cirque.

Climbing at the Gens Circus

Thanks to its steep cliffs overlooking an impressive landscape, the cirque de Gens has long been a Mecca for rock climbing in France.

Numerous routes ranging from 6a to 7c are accessible after a short walk from the circus car park. On the whole site the routes start at a beginner level of 4b. However, it is advisable to have at least a 5c level. Spring and autumn are also preferable. In summer, it is really hot in the cirque de Gens.

For accompanied climbing trips, ask at the Ruoms tourist office. You can buy the book “Escalade en Ardèche” there.

From the camping Les Ranchisses, it takes about 20 minutes by car to get to the cirque de Gens. It is best to drive through Ruoms where you can find all the information you need at the tourist office. From there, take the D579 and cross the bridge over the Ardèche before Pradons and then follow the small road to the car park. You can combine your trip with a visit to Balazuc or Labeaume for example.

balades cirque de gens

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

From the camping Les Ranchisses, it takes about 20 minutes by car to get to the cirque de Gens. It is best to drive through Ruoms where you can find all the information you need at the tourist office. From there, take the D579 and cross the bridge over the Ardèche before Pradons and then follow the small road to the car park. You can combine your trip with a visit to Balazuc or Labeaume for example.