Panoramas

  • Just about 20 kilometers from Auch, the impressive Lavardens' castle, lays as a ship on a rocky spur watching over the village and the undulating landscapes. This former capital of the counts of Armagnac has kept some medieval heritage : the ramparts and the small alleys with its charming houses and hollyhocks.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : the castle (16th C) and vestiges of the ramparts
    • Panoramas : views of the countryisde from the castle

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  • Le Poët-Laval is nestled in the Jabron valley amid lavender and wheat fields some twenty kilometres from Montélimar. The village was a former commanderie of the order of Knights Hospitaller and has kept the castle, ruins of the Romanesque chapel of Saint Jean des Commandeurs and ramparts from that time.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The castle dating back to the 12C, 13C and 15C
    • Unusual sights : Dauphiné Reformation Museum
    • Panoramas : View of the Jabron valley from the top of the village

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  • Les Baux-de-Provence lies perched like an eagle’s nest in the heart of the Alpilles and is a must-see place in Provence which artists, craftspeople and makers of local produce keep alive all year round.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : Les Baux Castle
    • Gastronomy : AOC olive oil from the Valley of Les Baux
    • Unusual sights : Carrières de Lumière 
    • Panoramas : Les Alpilles scenery
    • Wine : AOC Baux-de-Provence wines

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  • Limeuil is situated where the Rivers Dordogne and Vézère meet. It lived through the horrors of Viking invasions and the Hundred Years’ War but today only three fortified gates are left to bear witness to those times. A bustling river port of old, the medieval village with its stone-built, dark-tiled houses so typical of Périgord Noir is now a charming, refreshing place in which to stop.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Sainte Catherine
    • By the waterside : Rivers Dordogne and Vézère
    • Panoramas : View of the Dordogne and Vézère valleys
    • Wine : Pays du Périgord wines

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  • Locronan gets its name from Saint Ronan, the hermit who founded the town in the 10C. It reached its peak in the 16C thanks to the sailcloth industry, with one of the biggest customers being the East India Company. The granite village has been wonderfully preserved and still has very fine Renaissance houses and a magnificent 15C church.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Saint Ronan, Pénity and Notre Dame de Bonne Nouvelle Chapels
    • Gastronomy : Kouign-amann (puff pastry gateau made with butter and sugar), savoury pancakes
    • Panoramas : sight from Locronan's Mountain (Plas Ar Horn)

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  • Perched on a promontory that offers a wonderful panoramic view of the Dordogne valley and the surrounding castles, Loubressac invites visitors to discover its charming medieval houses built of ochre stone and capped with pointed roofs. The church of Saint Jean Baptiste and the château, a manor dating back to the 15C and 18C, are worth the short climb it takes to reach them.

    Themes

    • Castles ands ramparts : The château and fortified gate
    • Panoramas : View of the Dordogne and Bave valleys

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    • Ménerbes cadran solaire

    From the top of a rocky spur overlooking the Luberon garrigue and vineyards, the fortified village of Ménerbes and its castle watch over the neighbouring Most Beautiful Villages of Gordes and Roussillon. Inside, the narrow streets reveal a wealth of heritage : old houses, the town hall square with its 17C belfry and bell tower. Like many villages in the Luberon, Ménerbes has attracted several famous artists such as Picasso who used to have a house there.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Saint-Hilaire abbey
    • Castles and ramparts : The citadel and castle
    • Unusual sights : Corkscrew Museum and Truffle and Wine Centre
    • Panoramas : View of Coulon valley and the villages of Gordes and Roussillon from the deserted cemetery
    • Gastronomy : AOC Côtes du Luberon wines

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    • Minerve entrée du village

    Surrounded by deep gorges cut where the Brian and Cesse meet and situated at the very end of a limestone plateau, Minerve is a stony village in the heart of the Languedoc hinterland. It was an old Cathar bastion that was destroyed by Simon de Montfort in 1210 and the village has a column in memory of a stake at which 140 Cathars were burnt at that time. Minerve is also famous for its wine that has been produced here by local winegrowers for centuries

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The remains of the fortress (Candéla : eight-sided tower), old rampart walk
    • Unusual sights : The underground passageway beneath a limestone vault leading to the postern, column in memory of a Cathar stake
    • Panoramas : View of the gorges from the rampart walk
    • Wine : AOC Minervois wines

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  • Mirmande’s houses lie hidden behind the village walls and are intertwined in a maze of alleyways ; they still retain their beautiful stone facades and old doors. After the disappearance of silkworm farming in the late 19C, fruit growing ensured Mirmande’s growth and fame as did the celebrities who stayed here : the painter André Lhote lived here and French geologist Haroun Tazieff was the mayor from 1979 to 1989.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Church of Sainte Foy
    • Castles and ramparts : The ramparts
    • Gastronomy : Fruit juice, fruit and seasonal vegetables
    • Panoramas : View of the Rhône valley and the Vivarais Mountains from Sainte Foy

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  • This "bastide" or fortified village is situated between Agenais and Périgord ; it was founded in 1256 and had to repress many attacks by the English and recover from the Wars of Religion. Although the village has lost is ramparts, it has retained its characteristic grid pattern and the ever-bustling Place des Arcades still displays some very fine houses, for example the house of the Black Prince.

    Themes

    • Unusual sights : La place des Arcades
    • Panoramas : La vue sur la vallée de la Lède depuis le « Cap del Pech »
    • Wine : The Pays of Haut-Agenais wines

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