Wine

    • Aiguèze méandre Ardèche

    One side is perched on a cliff overlooking the gorges of the Ardèche, the other faces the Côtes du Rhône vineyards. The two facets of this former stronghold draw visitors because of their simplicity and the exceptional setting.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The rivers Ardèche and Cèze
    • Castles and ramparts : The ramparts, the Sarrazine tower, the "castelas"
    • Unusual sights : The "hoaxes" in the village streets to tease the tourists
    • Wine : The Côtes du Rhône wines

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    In the very south of Vaucluse, some thirty kilometres from Aix-en-Provence, Ansouis and its thousand-year-old castle look onto the Grand Luberon forest-planted hills from which the village is separated by vineyards.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The castle
    • Wine : AOC Côtes du Luberon wines

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    Ars-en-Ré lies at the westernmost tip of the island called Ile de Ré and can be spotted thanks to its church steeple whose 40-m high, black and white spire still serves as a landmark for sailors. The village grew up around the salt marshes in the 11C and 60 salt workers still farm the Fier d’Ars salt marshes today.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : Atlantic Ocean
    • Gastronomy : Oysters, potatoes and finest sea salt
    • Wine : Pineau

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    • Balazuc grange

    Perched on a cliff overlooking the Ardèche, the old fortress belonging to the "Lords of Balazuc" has kept many signs of its medieval past : a maze of winding streets and arched passageways have always been part of the village scenery along with the castle, the fortified Romanesque church and the outer gates.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Ardèche
    • Castles and ramparts : The castle, Summer Gate and Sablière gate
    • Wine : AOC Côtes du Vivarais, Coteaux de l’Ardèche locally produced wine

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    Nestled in a cirque formed where three valleys meet and boasting an exceptional view, Baume-les-Messieurs has clustered its houses around a Benedictine abbey, which is a magnificent example of Romanesque art of the Jura and houses one of the greatest polychrome altarpieces in Europe.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : The imperial abbey
    • Wine : Côtes du Jura wines

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    • Candes-Saint-Martin façade Renaissance

    A former fishing and inland water transport port that sprang up where the Rivers Vienne and Loire meet, Candes-Saint-Martin displays great contrast with its black slate roofs and its white tufa walls that adorn the houses and the Collegiate Church of Saint-Martin.

    Themes

    • Abbeys and churches : Collegiate Church of Saint Martin
    • By the waterside : The Rivers Vienne and Loire
    • Wine : AOC Touraine wines

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    • Castelnau-de-Montmiral vue générale

    This “bastide” or fortified village near Albi overlooks the Vère valley and lies in the heart of the Gaillac vineyards. It was founded by Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse, and its church is home to the reliquary cross of the Counts of Armagnac, adorned with 310 precious stones.

    Themes

    • Panoramas : view of the Vère valley from the promontory "Pechmiral"
    • Wine : AOC Gaillac wines

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    • Château-Chalon rue

    Château-Chalon is the birthplace of the famous Vin jaune (literally yellow wine) made from late harvest grapes and it watches over its vineyards from the top of the cliff on which it is perched.
    The village grew up around the castle it gets its name from and the Benedictine abbey, but all that remains of these are the keep and the Romanesque church of Saint Pierre.

    Themes

    • Panoramas : View of the Seille Valley and Bresse plain
    • Wine : Château-Chalon, Côtes du Jura, Crémant and Macvin AOC wines

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    • Crissay-sur-Manse rue

    In the heart of Touraine, in the Manse Valley, this former lord’s domain belonging to L’île Bouchard and the archdiocese of Tours has kept the ruins of its 15C castle, its 16C church that houses the tomb of poet Joachim du Bellay’s wife and its white tufa houses where square turrets, mullioned windows and finely sculpted windows are key features.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The castle
    • Wine : AOC Chinon and locally produced wines

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    • Eguisheim place et fontaine

    Just a short distance from Colmar, Eguisheim is the birthplace of winegrowing in Alsace and also the village where Pope Leo IX was born. The village is proud of its concentric, cobblestone streets and its floral decoration, which has won national and European awards. Visitors can admire the beauty of its 16C and 17C houses with their pointed roofs, bright colours and half-timbering.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The castle and ramparts
    • Wine : AOC Alsace wines and Eichberg and Pfersigberg grand cru wines

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