The Vaucluse in Provence, top 5 places to visit
The Vaucluse is this little part of Provence reminding people of Tuscany for its sunny villages surrounded by vine and lined with cobblestone streets and for its gentle lifestyle. Our 5 top places to visit…
City of the Popes for over a century in the Middle-Ages, Avignon is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, as well as Europe’s capital city for theatre each year. Wander through the streets of Avignon and discover the famous Pont d’Avignon, Popes’ Palace, ramparts, gardens….They all emphasize the historical background of the city.
In July, come and celebrate art and culture with the festival – over 1,000 shows -. Worth a stroll: the shady cobblestone “Rue des teinturiers” with paddle wheels.
If the Luberon is known worldwide since Peter Mayle has written about it in the late 1980s, the region is also worth a detour for 5 villages – Ansouis, Gordes, Lourmarin, Ménerbes, Roussillon -ranked among the most beautiful villages in France, and the ochre quarries in Roussillon and Rustrel ; cyclists and hikers also like this region for paths and tours around its warm-coloured landscapes.
Cyclists all over the world have dreamed to reach the top of the Mont Ventoux once in their lives, and the 100th Tour de France in 2013 has scheduled an arrival on top that should be legendary.
But the Ventoux is not only a sporting challenge, it has also been a Biosphere reserve since 1990. The diversity of the fauna and flora make it a wildlife sanctuary that has to be preserved ; scientists and nature lovers can observe the Greenland poppy and the pale-flowered orchid, wild boar, fox, Corsican mountain sheep, chamois, red deer…
Isle sur la Sorgue
Isle sur la Sorgue is often called the “Provençal Venice” for its many canals crossing the town, perfect for romantic strolls to the trickling song of the old paddle wheels along the Sorgue River. It also ranks third in Europe among towns specialised in antiques, where antique hunters and aficionados gather year round. Over 350 antique dealers in 5 “villages” throughout the town are open weekly, from Friday to Monday. The best day to visit is Sunday, when the Provençal market mixes with the stalls of the antique market (8am to 6pm, on Avenue des 4 Otages).
On the last Sunday of each month, this jumble of colours, materials and periods is further enriched by a vintage book market (on Esplanade R. Vasse).
There are also 4 major fairs in the year:
– 2 antique fairs (Whit Sunday and Halloween)
– 2 international antique fairs (Easter and mid-August).
Not to be missed either: the many fine interior design shops all over town.
Châteauneuf du Pape
The King – or Pope! of the Rhone Valley Appellation! Each year, the fine wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are ranked among the most famous wines of the world. Their secret? 13 grape varieties grown on unique stone, clay and sandy soils over sunny plateaus and hillsides exposed to the Mistral wind. Such environment produces rare wines with one of the lowest production yields in France. 164 wine estates are to be discovered over the appellation.
More information on Provence Guide