Built in the 16th century, the multi-story homes in the village of Pont-en-Royans, France, sit on top of and hang over the edge of the natural Vercors cliffs. The buildings were intentionally built over the precipice to maximize the plateau’s limited space, as the site was established to facilitate a bustling wood trade. Now, the community sees most of its income from tourism, as people from around the world flock to the tiny town to witness the audaciously pendulous architecture.

It’s very pretty – definitely on the grimy side if you look too close, but from a distance lovely. The water is a bit too stagnant to safely swim in. It’s more of a drive-through spot than a place to stay if you’re not a climber or a camper.

We stayed at **Hôtel Beau Rivage, and if back in the area I’d make the same choice and eat here too. It’s rustic, but the family is very friendly and the rooms are clean. Our dinner at *Hotel du Royans was not great.

Further Afield

Just a short drive from Pont-en-Royans is the truly spectacular ***Combe Laval road: a ledge chiselled out of the rock during the 19th century for moving timber. It’s incredibly dramatic and worth a long detour.

If you’re driving from Grenoble to this area, the scenery is very pretty along the gorge at Saint-Martin-en-Vercors, through to La Chapelle-en-Vercors, where we had a rather good lunch at **Côté Terrasse.

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