The birth of the hot-air balloon, a story that’s several hundred years old in the Annonay-Rhône conurbation. A France Télévision report to (re)discover.


Discover the second episode in the series of reports by France 2 Television, La France vue du ciel en ballon, broadcast on the 1 pm news in autumn 2015.

After a presentation of balloons and the safety conditions required for any balloon flight, this episode tells the story of aerial flight and the birth of the aerostat.

The adventure began in the Annonay-Rhône area in the north of the Ardèche department, thanks to its famous inventors, the Montgolfier brothers, with the technical support of the local paper mills.

Annonay has been a hot-air balloon town for almost 250 years!

Annonay-Rhône hot-air balloon

The birth of hot-air ballooning

J.-M. Nouck-Nouck, L. Marques and E. Metge report on Annonay’s unique history of innovation. Metge for France Télévision :

Flying is an old dream. The idea of the hot-air balloon was born in Annonay in the Ardèche in 1782. Jean-Pierre Girard, a photographer, knows the story by heart.

It was here that the Montgolfier brothers first flew a paper balloon inflated with hot air,” he explains. This invention was to have a global impact. The paper mill used to make the balloon is now a museum.

Tests were carried out in the gardens. The first balloon flew on 14 December 1782. An experiment that would revolutionise science and transport.

The video report, from 1’30 for the zoom on Annonay-Rhône, Du ballon à la lune, histoire d’une aventure ardéchoise:

Going further, in a hot-air balloon:

  • The history of ballooning: Annonay, hot-air balloons or the art of flight since 1782
  • The Montgolfier brothers and hot-air ballooning: France Inter broadcast, 42′
  • Source and continuation of reports via France TV info, la France vue du ciel en ballon, episodes 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 and the presentation page:

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