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Secret Provence

Drôme Provençale – all the beauty without the crowds
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This Holiday in a nutshell
  • self-guided hotel-to-hotel walking, luggage transported
  • hill-top villages, far-reaching views
  • boutique rural guesthouses, all with a pool
  • lavender fields, vineyards and oak forests

 

The story goes that when Pope John XXII felt unwell in Valréas while returning from his election in Lyons to his home in Avignon in 1317, he was given the local wine to drink and immediately felt better. In fact, he liked it so much he bought the city for 16,000 francs to ensure his future supply. Such is the attraction of this quintessentially Provençal region with its medieval fortresses, where history and nature combine to provide beguiling landscapes and an irrepressible charm, that the French have followed in the footsteps of the Pope, choosing to keep the region ostensibly for themselves.

Here is a land at that point where Provence and the Alps, the Dauphiné and the Rhône valley all segue into one another, with Provence in the ascendant... this is the south we've always longed for: of hills, mountains and lost valleys, of olives and vines, of lavender, cicadas and warm, scented breezes in the late afternoon.
     
Anthony Peregrine (The Telegraph)

Devoid of large hotels and tourist developments, the region instead possesses charismatic chambres d'hôtes  which lie hidden in the landscape, their traditional, honey-coloured stone walls and pastel shutters looking out over fields of corn, lavender and vines.

In the heart of little-known Drôme Provençale, this gentle journey takes you from the medieval splendour of Grignan with its imposing castle and literary heritage, through oak forests whose roots conceal le diamant noir  (black truffle) for which the region is known, and across hillsides embossed in fragrant lavender, silver olive trees and robust vines, to reach charming St-Paul-Trois-Châteaux with its cobbled streets and buzzing restaurant scene.

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