GPS: 44.4611474, 04.1808996
The name of the town of Lablachère comes from the word "blache" which means "white oak". Before the revolution, the town was surrounded by immense oak forests. Lablachère is now a thriving village community with its own market each Sunday morning.
While in Lablachere you can follow the Winegrowers’ Trail, visit two historic churches, a megalithic bridge, a chateau or why not unwind at La Perle d’Eau, the local swimming pool with sauna, hammam and spa?
The château de la Saumès, built in the 16th century, belonged to the La Saumès family. Now in private ownership, it has lost its period looks and looks more like a manor house, a large rectangular house with exceptionally large lattice windows. For a long time, it was owned by the Chanaleilles family who acquired it, when the property was sold by Princess Marie-Louise de Rohan-Soubise, Countess of Marsan heiress to the Joyeuse family, in 1788.
Sold and then bought back in the 19th century, it served as a refuge for the Oblates of Mary expelled from Notre-Dame de Bon Secours. It was sold into private ownership around 1850 to a Chanaleilles heir. It served as a school for the brothers.
By taking a tour of the hamlet of Prieuré, you can easily find the megalithic bridge. This bridge is an extraordinary monument composed of 15 sandstone slabs with a length of 16.5 meters.
The megalithic bridge is a drystone structure ensuring passage over the Ruisseau de Masseloup, a tributary of the Ruisseau de Sébézol. It is mainly used during periods of heavy rain in October, November and April. There is little flowing water during the summer months.
The sandstone blocks used in the bridge were sourced in the immediate vicinity. The vertical slabs, of the monolithic type, are surmounted by horizontal plates of the same material, placed side by side. The architectural structure is close to that of the dolmens that are so common in the Ardeche, which gives certainty of its old age but not of a date.
There are two prominent churches in Lablachère. The Saint-Julien church, standing on a small hill off the edge of the town, looking very dominant as you approach from either direction on the main road, is very old although it is difficult to establish its date of construction, the style being little characterized. It was united in 1514 by Pope Leo X with the chapter of the cathedral of Viviers.
The other, Notre Dame de Bon Secours, was built in 1680 by Lord Julien Gineste, and was elevated to the rank of Minor Basilica in 1930.
The Winegrower's Trail
This 8 km long hike allows you to discover the vineyards on the terraces, where Chatus, the emblematic grape of the region, is cultivated. Throughout this walk you will discover the faïsses (terraces) with dry stone walls, springs, and streams, in the heart of amazing landscapes. Afterwards, stop at Le Cave de Lablachere for a tasting!
La Perle d'Eau
La Perle d'Eau is an intercommunal pool and is the only indoor pool in the southern Ardèche. It also has an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness area with sauna, hammam and spa.
Sunday: Place de la Poste. A small local market with local produce, food and crafts.
Tuesday: Cour du Domaine du Vialat, from May to September (5 to 7 p.m.). Small local producers with fruit, vegetables, cheeses, eggs, bread, honey, jams, crafts, cosmetics as well as refreshments, snacks and shaded areas to share a good time!