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Wild France with Ray Mears
E2 of 6
Series 1 - Episode 2
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“It’s a place I’ve been visiting for many years, ” says Ray Mears as he surveys the landscape of the Ardèche, before adding slightly confusingly, “and I can’t wait to explore it.” Presumably he, like most tourists, has previously stuck to the gorge and the riverside rather than striking out into the limestone hills. But it’s here he discovers “other worldly” rock formations and magical underground grottoes full of helictites before returning to the river to observe a beaver casually grooming itself.
Best of all he tells us why Smurfs are blue – it’s all to do with them eating a viciously barbed plant called Smilax that grows in France.
Ray continues his exploration of the geography, flora and fauna of France by heading to the Ardeche, where miles of gorges and limestone cliffs characterise this part of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region. He visits a cave with a long history and is given special permission to abseil in through the original sky-facing entrance, finding an array of stalactites and stalagmites inside. He then canoes down the Ardeche river and meets wildlife ranger Olivier, who teaches him some of the traditional uses of local plants.
Cast & Crew
Full Episode Guide
Ray Mears reveals France's secret paradise - the spectacular Ardèche Valley
The naturalist has wanted to film France's flora and fauna for a long time - and it didn't disappoint
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