©Jezabel janvre



Marilyne was entertaining Daniela, a Czech friend, who had come to spend a week in Bourg-Saint-Andéol. I suggested they try out Baludik, the smartphone tour of the town, to discover or rediscover the historic centre in an original way.

Meeting point in front of the magnificent red entrance to the Palais des Evêques, the start of our walk. The phones are charged, and we’ve ordered sunshine!

We start the app which shows us a short video about the building, the former seat of the bishops in the Vivarais region, which became a school for a while before being renovated and opened to visitors. “I was at school here,” remembers Marilyne. I know quite a few of the rooms but not the chapel, which I found out about in the video, as it was in a poor state of repair. It makes me want to come back and do the guided tour!”

The Palais cook, a colourful character in the app, asks us to go and find the ingredients for a local recipe: boeuf des mariniers (bargemen’s beef). At each stage, we must solve a riddle to find an ingredient (meat, herbs, etc.) and find one or two Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint-Andéol, a red wine which goes perfectly with the recipe.

We set off for a 1-hour walk. There are several aids to help us reach the next stage: a digital compass shows us the direction we need to go and the distance we need to cover, as well as a map and photo of the place we need to reach. “It’s good to have the photo so you can see exactly where you’re supposed to go,” acknowledges Marilyne.

We arrive in front of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin religious order. Baludik asks us to read the little phrase inscribed on the chapel’s pediment before moving on to the next stage. However, there is a problem as it does not understand Daniela’s Slavic accent! Us two friends find this very funny! Thanks to Marilyne’s Ardèche accent, we can continue our quest.

PD1A2920©Marina Geray_web
©Marina Geray

We’ve got 8 stages to explore, taking in some of the town’s most iconic sites. From the fountain in the central square, where we find the sculpture of Saint Andéol’s sarcophagus, we move on to a small square with a pretty statue of Diana the Huntress. “I didn’t know this was the old market square,” says Marilyne, surprised.

“I found this out thanks to Baludik. For me, it’s the ‘place de la chèvre’, as it’s commonly known.” We then head for the church and our treasure hunt takes us down to the Rhône, where the old bridge once stood before being destroyed by bombing at the end of the Second World War.

Daniela is delighted by her tour. “It’s great to see round the town like this. I’ve been to Bourg-Saint-Andéol before, but I’d never noticed certain monuments, like the little Saint-Polycarpe chapel and certain details on the buildings. I discovered them thanks to this tour!”

There was just one last splendid step, which we’ll keep secret, and then we finally had the famous recipe!



Baludik is offered by the Gorges de l’Ardèche – Pont- d’Arc Tourist Office, which designs the routes in collaboration with the communes and key players in local heritage. Routes are available in Bourg-Saint-Andéol and Viviers. Two new routes in Vallon-Pont-d’Arc and Ruoms are available in July.

Baludik is a national app which can be downloaded free of charge from the App store or Google Play.


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