LKF-215408 - © - Juergen Richter
France, Drôme (26), Dieulefit
A91-1814898 - © - Sylvain Grandadam
France, Drôme (26), Taulignan, Atelier Musée de la Soie
bridge over Rhone river, France
A91-1814901 - © - Sylvain Grandadam
Hilltop villages and Provençal landscapes
The Tricastin region, producer of Grignan-les-Adhémar truffles, land of lavender and stone pines, Drôme Provençale occupies a privileged position on the border of Provence. Its exceptional nature is far from being the only asset of this historic land dotted with medieval villages and feudal castles, perched at the top of rocky promontory, offering safety against invaders. In this historic atmosphere, of old stones and viticultural aromas, come and get drunk on fascinating visits and fantastic panoramas of the mountains, plains and valleys of Drôme Provençale.
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Mention the name of Montélimar and thoughts will often turn to the taste of nougat. So, where better to sample it than this old town and its capital? Head to the Palais des bonbons et du nougat and enjoy the ride to visit this charming town, so typically Provencal, with pedestrianised areas, its collégiale Ste-Croix and its market square with colourful facades and wrought iron balconies. Next, head up to Porte Saint-Martin in the heights of the town where the beautiful Château des Adhémars stands, a 12th century Romanesque fortress that has become a centre of contemporary art. You will enjoy a splendid panorama on the Drôme Alps.
MyTripTailor Tip: Enjoy a drink on one of the many shaded terraces of the Allées Provençales, these vast semi-pedestrian pathways edged with greenery and southern appearance.
Take the road to Dieulefit country, populated by wooded hills and hilltop villages. Your first stop is the floral village of La Bégude-de-Mazence. A ‘Cité de plaine’ since its renovation in the early twentieth century, it has the distinction of being separated from its old medieval centre, perched on the hillside, which has retained its ancestral name of Châteauneuf-de-Mazenc. Next, is a visit to Poët-Laval, also feudal and positioned up high, and strongly scarred by the religious wars as charted by its Museum of Protestantism. You will arrive in Dieulefit by later afternoon, where you can visit the Maison de la Céramique and numerous artisan craft shops.
In Taulignan, a small, great-looking medieval town with eleven round towers, take the time to walk up and down the narrow lanes lined with stone houses and take a tour of the ramparts of this ancient 13th century seigneury. The Atelier-Musée de la Soie offers an introduction to the manufacturing stages of luxury fabrics. The Château de Grignan was famous for the letter writing of Madame de Sevigne, who stayed there many times. You can visit the appartements de la Marquise in this imposing Renaissance monument, firmly positioned at the head of a rocky peak. Admire also the city Belfry and the fifteenth century houses you pass during the climb. Then go down to the Caveau des vignerons to taste the famous AOC Grignan-les-Adhémar.
Resume the route for Suze-la-Rousse, overlooked by the impressive architecture of its feudal castle which is open for visits. You can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Parc de la garenne. The village is strongly geared towards the cultivation of vines and has an exceptional Université du Vin where visitors can partake in tastings. A winding road through the maquis brings you to Saint-Restitut, a small village of white stone that owes its name to the blind disciple, and whose Provencal Romanesque church is a marvel of restraint. Continue your route to join the world of truffles in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux. A Provencal village surrounded by ramparts, it is famous for its pleasant Romanesque cathedral built in its centre.
Leave behind the stronghold of the Tricastin Valley to explore other treasures. Starting with the crocodile farm in Pierrelatte, a fascinating exotic world in the Drôme Provençale. Stop next at La Garde-Adhémar and stroll through the maze of lanes and vaulted passages of this delightful village up to its elevated medieval castle. Stop off at the splendid Défilé de Donzère, where you can walk down to the banks of the Rhone. You will pass numerous wine-growing estates en route to Montélimar, which you can visit to walk in the vineyards or taste the local produce. Your tour ends in Montélimar.
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