A tourist village surrounded by a loop of the Ardèche and dominated by its rock, Sampzon offers a unique view over the whole of the southern Ardèche and neighbouring departments.

St Martin's church

Near the top of the Rocher de Sampzon is the church of Saint Martin.

Originally, this religious building was a Romanesque chapel, of which all that remains today is the 11th-century choir. Various alterations have altered its appearance, notably the addition of the adjoining presbytery in the 18th and 19th centuries, the opening of the current portal and the construction of the bell tower. The bell tower was struck by lightning in 1964 and rebuilt in 1966. The nave is in the shape of a Latin cross, with a single cross-vaulted nave.

The old village of Sampzon has preserved its traditional houses, including the beautiful Château de Bastide, where recent excavations have uncovered the remains of a Gallo-Roman villa.

Eglise Sampzon Ardèche

Walking around the rock

This 7km loop hike starts from the Rocher de Sampzon car park and takes in the deep, wet, wooded cirque of the Aiguille and its 50-metre-high limestone peak.

A description of this walk, with its remarkable panoramas, is available in the Pont d’Arc-Ardèche / Gorges de l’Ardèche guidebook.

Randonnée Sampzon Ardèche

Favourite: the rock and its orientation table

The Rocher de Sampzon is the lighthouse of the southern Ardèche. With its unique, sloping tabletop silhouette, this curious rock rises to a height of 381 metres at the confluence of the Ardèche, Labeaume and Chassezac rivers. It is of the same geological origin as the neighbouring Dent de Rez and Serre de Tourre, or the Vercors, Calanques, Mont Ventoux and Alpilles: an Urgonian massif.

The former feudal fortress that once stood at the summit was demolished in 1600 and replaced by a television relay station. Access by car offers exceptional views of the southern Ardèche, the Ardèche mountains and, on a clear day, the Alps and Mont Ventoux.

Sampzon ©Marina Geray