Balazuc is a commune with 348 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2011 ) in Ardèche, the Rhône-Alpes region. The inhabitants are called Balazucains and Balazucaines. The place is perched picturesquely situated on the top of a steep rock slope, which overlooks the Ardèche and is therefore one of the plus beaux villages de France ( most beautiful villages in France ) classified.
The municipality is situated on a rocky plateau on the left bank of the river Ardèche. There, it borders the neighboring municipalities Ruoms and Lachapelle- sous- Aubenas. Until after Vogüé is 7 km, 15 km to Aubenas.
The area around Balazuc has been inhabited since the Stone Age. This is proved by finds from the Neolithic period and the end of the Bronze Age. Remains from ancient times show that the place was inhabited by the Gauls. At that time, the village served as a fortress for the defense against the Roman conquest. The Gauls called the settlement Baladnum ( cf. bal = rocks and dunums = hill ). In Roman times acted the passage along the Ardèche as connecting route from Nimes to Alba -la -Romaine via the town of Uzes.
In the early Middle Ages Balazuc was conquered by the Moors and retaken by Charles Martel again. After this, according to legend, a group of anglers and hunters have settled on the site of the present church. However, there are no historical artifacts that can confirm this story. During the French Kingdom of the place grew to become one of the most magnificent in the region. In the 11th century Pons de Balazuc accompanied the Count of Toulouse, on the way to the first crusade to Jerusalem, which he reported in major literary journals. He never returned and died in the capital of Israel 1066.
A very special archaeological, is the sarcophagus of white marble, which was discovered in the vicinity of the hamlet Salles. The masterpiece shows scenes from the New Testament and is now in the Musée de la Civilisation Gallo -romaine seen in Lyon.
Worth the historic village core is high above the Ardèche, which consists largely of medieval houses, cobbled streets and arcades. In the center of the village a fountain was built. Delightful is the Château de Balazuc castle with parts dating from the 13th, 15th and 16th century, whose donjon, named after Queen Joanna I, is isolated. Also remains of the Gallic fortress walls are still visible, and the local bridge, which was rebuilt in the 20th century.
Especially the churches attract many visitors. For example, the Church of Sainte -Madeleine from the 19th century or the Romanesque church of Sainte -Marie in the 13th century, which was expanded in the 17th century and re- attached. Exceptional is its square church tower. Also visit the grave chapel of Balazuc family, as well as the chapel Chazotte who is known for her of Mary from the 12th century.
A popular destination is the ecologically run hamlet Vieil Audon, which is accessible on a footpath from Balazuc from. The best view you have from the steep rock wall above the Ardèche, from which one can accurately observe the many turns and the further course of the river in caves.