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From Montélimar to the natural park of Baronnies Provençales, under the bright southern sun stretch the landscapes of lavender fields and olive gardens. Take advantage of your stay at the Drome Provencale Les Bastets campsite and travel across the region for some sightseeing!
The hilltop villages of Drôme Provençale
The plains of the Drôme Provençale are dotted with hills – with charming medieval villages sitting on the hilltops. Between Montélimar and the southern border of the department, you will discover a number of characteristic villages, with their cobbled streets, shady squares and old churches. Among the most remarkable ones are the villages of Grignan, La Garde-Adhémar, Montbrun-les-Bains or Poët-Laval and the less popular Laupie, Marsanne or Sauzet, filled with historical and architectural treasures. Villages are part of the must sees of the department. Do no miss them out !
The castles of Drôme Provençale
In Drôme Provençale you’ll find a few picturesque castles. The most famous one is, undoubtedly, Grignan, where the Marquise de Sévigné, a famous epistolary writer, lived and died. It is also the largest Renaissance castle in south-eastern France, perched on its rocky outcrop, it is visible from afar. In the 17th century, it was inhabited by the Count of Grignan, François Adhémar, and his wife, the daughter of the aforementioned Marquise de Sévigné. The breathtaking, panoramic view from the castle terraces is an absolute must see. Suze-la-Rousse and the Garde Adhémar are two other castles you should make sure to visit.
The regional natural park of Baronnies de Provence
The park is home to two thousand different plant species, including olive trees, and more than two hundred animal species. Situated close to Provence and the Hautes-Alpes, the Baronnies park is influenced both by the Alpine and Provençal climate types. A true oasis, it allows for the cultivation of unique products such as the famous olives of Nyons. Some towns of the Drôme such as Sisteron, Grignan, Montélimar or Vaison la Romaine, by virtue of their geographical location, offer easy entrance to the regional natural park.
The lavender route
Whereas gourmands will gladly take the olive route, running through Nyons and the Baronnies natural park, some might prefer to get inebriated by the scents of lavender along the lavender route, which connects Montélimar to Nyons. From mid-June and until mid-August (depending on the year), the hilly landscape of the Drôme Provençale is adorned with blue, mauve and purple blooms that flourish among olive trees, centenarians and truffle oaks. In Nyons, be sure to visit the traditional Bleu Provence distillery where you will learn more about the use of lavender and its story in the region.
The Enclave of the Popes
Located at the South of the Drôme and at the East of the Rhône, the Enclave des Papes is a territory attached to Vaucluse. It consists of the communal territories of Grillon, Visan, Valréas and Richerenches, acquired by the popes of Avignon in the 14th century. After the French Revolution, their inhabitants decided to remain attached to Vaucluse. Visit the Enclave des Papes for the former Templar commandery of Richerenches, the castle of Simiane and the chapel of the White Penitents in Valréas, as well as the beautiful architecture of the 17th and 18th century residences in Visan.
The black truffle, also called the “black diamond” of gastronomy, is a specialty of Drôme Provençale. They can be found in the local markets from December to March and summer truffle is harvested from May to August. In Richerenches, a market takes place every Saturday from mid-November to spring, and you can find the Truffle and Wine Museum. You can taste truffle with a wine from Grignan-les-Adhémar. In Saint-Paul-les-Trois-Châteaux also visit the Truffle house, and at Suze-la-Rousse check out the Viticulture museum.