Wine

  • 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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    Lourmarin sprang up at the foot of the gash that the River Aiguebrun cut in the Luberon and it stands amid vineyards and olive groves. Its fountain-lined streets thread their way around the Castellas and a charming Romanesque church and lead to the magnificent castle. This was built in the 15C by the Agoult family and today houses a well-stocked collection of furniture and objets d’art. Lourmarin is an artists’ village and, among others, attracted Henri Bosco and Albert Camus who are both buried in the cemetery.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : The castle
    • Gastronomy : AOC Côtes du Luberon wines
    • Unusual sights : The graves of Henri Bosco and Albert Camus

     

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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 vue village et pont

    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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  • At the foot of Mount Saint Odile, surrounded by vineyards, this village is the preserve of the Zotzenberg grand cru and bears a definite stamp of its winegrowing culture : from the architecture of its houses opening onto large courtyards flanked by buildings for winemaking to the "Weinschlag", a precious compendium containing a wealth of information about vineyards and wine since 1510 that can be seen in the charming Renaissance town hall.

    Themes

    • Wine : AOC Alsatian wines and Zotzenberg grand cru

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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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  • Montsoreau lies between Anjou and Touraine and has the River Loire as prestigious setting. The 15C castle made famous by Alexandre Dumas’ novel "La Dame de Montsoreau" is reflected in the waters of this legendary river. All around, flower-decked streets with slate-roofed, white tufa houses and green pathways lead to the Saumur vineyards.

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Loire
    • Castles and ramparts : The castle (15C)
    • Unusual sights : The mushroom farm, cave dwellings
    • Wine : AOC Saumur wines, Saumur-Champigny, Crémant de Loire

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  • Curled up in the hollow of a meander made by the River Serein, Noyers has two sides to show visitors : its medieval and its winegrowing facets. Place de la Petite-Etape-aux-Vins, Place du Marché-au-Blé or Place du Grenier-à-Sel (Wine, Corn Market and Salt Storehouse Squares) are all squares that call to mind the village’s flourishing period of farming and trade, as do the fine half-timbered fronts of the 15C houses

    Themes

    • By the waterside : The river Serein
    • Castles and ramparts : Ramparts, towers and gates of the old fortification
    • Unusual sights : Naïve Art Museum
    • Wine : AOC Chablis wines

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  • At 30 kilometers from Lyon, perched on a hill and surrounded by the Beaujolais vineyards, Oingt is one of the jewels of the "Pays des pierres dorées". With a medieval past, the village has kept from this time period the ancient chapel of the castle, the fortified door of Nizy, and a dungeon from which you will have a splendid vista on the valley of the Azergues river. In the heart of the village, ocre yellow facades houses are home of craftsmen and artists.

    Themes

    • Castles and ramparts : Dungeon, fortified door of Nizy, castel chapel
    • Unusual sights : International festival of barrel organs and Mechanical Music and museum
    • Panoramas : Views on the Azergues’ valley and the Lyonnais mounts from the dungeon
    • Wine : AOC Beaujolais wines

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