Visiting villages is one of my favourite things to do when I travel. Though they can be touristy, more often than not, they provide an authentic experience of what the region has to offer. Provence in the south of France is especially famous for its Beaux Villages. If you visit there you can see why! They are amazing. This week I will focus on my top 5 favourite Beaux Villages in Provence. These are only my to 5, Seriously in Provence, I don’t think you can go wrong with any village.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a very famous wine region, in fact this Southern Rhone region is so famous for its wine, it is easy to forget Chateauneuf-du-Pape is also a village and a beautiful one at that. Located in the Vaucluse region of Provence, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is about 30 minutes north of Avignon.Not only do you get to see a stunning village, you are in the heart of some of the most well known, tasty, boldest red wines produced in France. You could spend ( and if you are like me you probably will) your entire day tasting wines at vineyards or négociant ( essentially a wine merchant that represents certain vineyards) . Why not go??
Well go for the wine and stay for the scenery. Despite being a bit of a tourist/wine mecca, Chateauneuf-du-Pape gives you the feeling of a slow , dreamy, beautiful pace of life. The streets are beautiful, clean and studded with trees, there are many restaurants and shops tucked in amongst the wine merchants and wineries. In short there is plenty to do even if that means just people watching on one of the many sidewalk cafes.
We almost didn’t make it there. Though @benton8tor loves Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine, he loves new exploring new places even more. We had never been in the village but we had visited wineries in the area before. He wasn’t really game but seeing we had just come out of a 2 day white knuckle hysterical crying fit (on my part) drive in the beautiful Pyrenees, he wasn’t in a position to say no. Besides by this time he probably realized copious amounts of wine were only going to improve my mood so away we went. After a morning of shopping in l’Isle Sur la Sorgue, we arrived in Chateauneuf-du-Pape for lunch. We finally picked a place near a fountain in the square with lots of wine tourist passing by on their way to the next tasting. @benton8tor rolled his eyes and sighed ” I guess I am just going to have to eat bad food” He assumed any restaurant on the tourist path would be bad. I however had a pretty good feeling. Sitting on the beautiful patio, Ben struck up a conversation with the table next to us. Turns out they were English, tasting wine and had just enjoyed the best burger ever, Ben still dubious, however ordered it. Turns out it was the best burger he ever had in France, and well you couldn’t go wrong with the wine. The burger had a hint of pink (@benton8tor likes his burgers on the rare side with a trusted source) and the fries were crisp and tantalizingly golden. My tomato pate with cinnamon sorbet was sweet, and savory and decidedly refreshing. Our server recommended wineries to try and gave us thoroughly excellent service. I could have sat there all day, relishing in my smugness of being right, but there was wine to try.
Our first stop was at a négociant. We probably spent an hour with him. We tasted quite a large variety of wine and spent a good deal of time chatting about the various vineyards, the grapes, and the producers. It reminded me of some of the producers in Burgundy. We ended up tasting one of the best wines ever.Cuvee des Jeune filles Lacoste- Trintignan. We spent more than we thought we would, but the wine was well worth it.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at various wineries. try as many as you can, you can’t go wrong but Chateau de Nerthe is a beautiful vineyard with amazing wine so it is a must do.http://www.chateaulanerthe.fr/
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a very walkable village, and probably not the best village if you are looking to experience a typical French country experience. The draw of the wine makes it far to much of a touristy for that but yes there is more to Chateuneuf -du-Pape than wine but the wine is so delicious, why would you miss out?