Market day: Friday
Population: around 2000
Distance: 47km from Uzès (under an hour)
Famous for its full bodied red wines, the charm of this village north of Avignon is in the number of “caveaux de dégustation” offering free wine tastings in both centuries old and 21st century settings.
Originally, the location of the summer Papal Palace, Pope John XXII planted vines here in the 14th century and they have thrived in the terroir that has smooth stones and pebbles rather than rich soil as its main characteristic. The château may have been destroyed during the Wars of Religion, by the Protestants, but the vines have survived!
The village centre itself is lively with locals and tourists mixing together at the busy eateries near the tourist bureau in the main square near the fountain.
The atmosphere is made more interesting and the traffic flow interrupted, as enormous trucks try to negotiate the narrow winding streets and corners as there seems to be no “bypass” option.
Heading up the winding mediaeval streets towards the ruins of the Papal castle it is calmer as the streets are pedestrianized for the most part and we found several restaurants along the rue de la République with quiet courtyards open for lunch. There is also a restaurant just down from the château which is popular.
It is refreshing to find that the village is not over run with shops selling souvenirs from all over France as is common in many other tourist hot spots. In fact, it is an excellent place to practice your French language skills as English was not spoken in many places where we visited.
It is worth walking up to the top of the hill and seeing the ruins and the amazing views over towards the Rhône River and the vineyards spreading in all directions or you can drive to the car park.
There are so many “caves” to choose from as well as shops acting as agents and retailing wines from many Domaines/wineries and offering tastings also, that it is good to have done some research before you go.
In fact taking a half day tour here can be a good idea!
If you do intend to make the most of your time at the tastings and we can assist you in this as you can be picked up in Uzès and chauffeured there and back. So contact us if this interests you!