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Joyeuse - jewel of the Ardèche

The little market town of Joyeuse, once named Charlemagne after the famous sword of Charlemagne, is set in the sunniest part of the Ardèche, among lovely and dramatic unspoiled countryside. Historic and charming, Joyeuse is every bit as joyful as its new name.

Cobbles and a castle

The old sector of this little town meanders its way up a hillside, topped by an impressive Renaissance castle that has been pressed into modern day service as the Town Hall. Narrow cobbled streets take you on an intriguing journey through Joyeuse, with a variety of specialist shops including many arts and crafts outlets. In the lower and newer part of town, the High Street and the market square offer more ordinary shops, selling pretty much everything you need for comfortable day to day living.

Things to see and do

Joyeuse traces its history back a long way, and there are three excellent museums where you can while away an hour or two learning about the history and legends of the area, about humour and character, and about the importance of the chestnut to the past and present economy of the region.

Markets, fairs and festivals

The market takes place in the traditional way every Wednesday, and summer sees an extra market set up on Sunday evenings. The town hosts an antiques fair to bring out your inner Lovejoy, and there is a colourful and fun festival celebrating local produce and gourmet specialities every August.

Wining and dining in Joyeuse

Joyeuse celebrates the good things in life, so it is hardly surprising that you can find numerous restaurants in town. Some line the main square and the High Street, whereas others are set in the atmospheric surroundings of the ancient parts of Joyeuse. The Ardèche has a unique and delicious gastronomy, with local specialities including chestnuts, potatoes, mushrooms and pork.

Sports and leisure

The Ardèche is a great region for those who enjoy sports and spending time in the open air. The south of the department where Joyeuse is found, has the warmest climate and its sunshine record is similar to that of Provence, so take every opportunity to get outside and enjoy it. Near Joyeuse you can try your hand at canoeing and kayaking, fishing, swimming and horse-riding.

How to get there

To get to Joyeuse you can choose to fly or to take the train. Airports nearby include those of St Etienne, Avignon, Montpellier, Nîmes and Lyon. St Etienne is served by Ryanair; Avignon by flybe; Montpellier by easyJet and Ryanair; Nîmes by Ryanair; and Lyon by Air France, British Airways, easyJet and bmi. Meanwhile the nearby town of Valence has a new TGV station, making train travel another easy option. Travelling by car you should take the A7 before finding Joyeuse close to the D104.

Property prices and availability in and around Joyeuse

There is a good range of property on the market at the time of writing, and it is possible to find something to suit most budgets. In general, property in the southern Ardèche is not particularly cheap, but there are certainly some bargains around at the moment.

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WHERE IS Joyeuse?

Joyeuse is in the south-east of France. It lies in the south-west of the Ardèche department.

Joyeuse Property Map


Rhône-Alpes Guide

Rhône-Alpes Property Map


Ardèche Guide

  Ardèche Map

Population: 1,487

Access: By air: Fly to St Etienne, Avignon, Nîmes, Montpellier or Lyon. By rail: Joyeuse is just 45 kilometres from the TGV station at Valence. By road: Joyeuse lies just off the D104, with the A7 being the nearest auto route.

Economy: The economy is focused on tourism and arts and crafts. Traditionally, chestnuts are also of importance.

Interesting fact: Joyeuse was once named Charlemagne, after the sword of Charlemagne.

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