Behind the impressive castle on its granite rock, seigneurial home of the Comtes de Tournon, is a maze of narrow streets meandering through the historic center. Since the Early Middle Ages to the 18th century the Tournons have left a great cultural heritage thanks to different monuments such as the Château de Tournon, which has become a museum, but also the Collegiate Church Saint Julien built in the 14th century with its magnificent frescoes in the Chapelle des Pénitents.
The town is then strongly fortified during the Hundred Years’ War, but it will expand beyond the wall after it quickly became prosperous again. To the South, the Porte de Mauves can be admired, the last stable door which once closed the town (there used to be 4) and where the coat of arms of the town is still to be seen. 2 watchtowers are left North and South from the Sentier des Tours, a marked walking path which used to go along the wall in the 16th century. It is also a nice one hour walk.
Up Rue Gabriel Faure the Passerelle Marc Seguin, an improved replica of the first cable suspension bridge built on the Rhône in 1825 can be seen. From there, it is worth having a look at the harbour and the Quai Farconnet where approximately 2,000 pleasure boats stop every year. Not far from the Passerelle, there is the Lycée Gabriel Faure (high school), “direct descendant” of the Collège founded by François de Tournon at the time of the Renaissance (1536), François I’s counsellor. That made it one of the most ancient high schools in France.
Take time to stroll in this nice old centre, offering a pedestrian street with plenty of small shops, or to discover the Garden of Eden, an invitation to a romantic stroll surrounded by flowers. The paths get tangled along the city walls in Tournon leading to a panoramic viewpoint. Scenic view over the roofs of the city!
Few kilometres from the centre, don’t miss the Train of Ardèche, a historical steam train which makes its way in the Doux Gorges, an impressive natural site only accessible by the rail way ! The rail-way was built on the hillside between 1886 and 1891. A huge number of vehicles, locomotives, railcars or wagons are listed historic monuments.