Reaching the town of Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid, you arrive in an area of high plateaux. You ride along old, undulating trails, passing a mix of lovely pine forests, broom heathland and open meadows to get to Devesset, its lakes, rivers and wetlands marking it out as a remarkable natural area.
Elevation of the stage
La Grande Traversée de l'Ardèche by MTB from Annonay to Devesset
The route is signposted Grande Traversée de l'Ardèche VTT
Please note: this first stage is very long (count 8hrs). It is recommended you arrive at the starting point the day before you set off. The stage can be undertaken, in good conditions, in a single day.
Signposting: follow the signposting for the Via Fluvia cycle route for six kilometres, up to the place named Les Seux, then turn left in the direction of Chatinais, the signposting now indicating GTA VTT FFC. The way alternates between minor roads and forest tracks. The slopes are often steep, so pace yourself. Reaching the pass of the Col des Baraques, the hardest stretches lie behind you. You can now speed on to Devesset, making sure you follow the signposting very carefully in what is quite a maze of crossroads and different trails.
- Annonay: Espace Musée du Parchemin (on parchment-making); Musée des Papeteries Canson et Montgolfiers (a paper museum linked to the Montgolfier family, world pioneers in hot-air ballooning in the 18th century)
- Vanosc: Espace Joseph Besset-Musée du Charronnage au Car, a museum tracing the development of this local enterprise from cart-making to coach-manufacturing.
- Devesset: Devesset Lake, with bathing possible.