Wines and Places to Visit

Wines

  • For white wine, I recommend Grande Ardeche (Louis Latour) made near Alba La Romaine in the Ardeche (well worth a visit) – this wine sells for Euro30+ in local restaurants; you can pick it up direct from Louis Latour in Alba le Romaine for 10-12 Euro or locally (at Au Pistou – the fruit and veg shop near the house)
  • There are some excellent Viognier wines available locally – a lovely grape!
  • Also available at Au Pistou is Domaine Gallety (red) wine from the Ardeche region: this is a wonderful wine costing around 17 Euros a bottle (and worth every penny!)
  • For an excellent value red I recommend E. Guigal’s Cotes de Rhone – this basic wine is excellent and only costs 8-9 Euros which is quite ridiculous for a wine from one of the regions greatest ever winemakers!
  • For a very good red wine try a “Cairanne”, a Cotes de Rhone Villages made in (you’re ahead of me here…) Cairanne. This wine will be promoted to the same ‘level’ as Gigondas or Vacqueras or Chateauneuf-du-Pape soon… well, you’ve been warned.
  • Visit some of the local wineries – Domaine de Grangeneuve (this is seriously top-class – probably the best in the area… don’t miss it!); just take the road towards Grignan – a beautiful hill-top medieval village some 20 kilometers away to the south east, well worth a visit in itself, by the way – and just watch for the signs/directions to the vineyards along the way.
  • It is also worth visiting Cairanne, Gigondas, Vacqueras and Chateauneuf du Pape – ideal if you a non-drinking driver of course (!)
  • For a great day out take the train to Tain l’Hermitage and enjoy wine-tasting at the Chapoutier and Jaboulet wine shops (you can get lunch at the latter). Combine this with a visit to Valrhona chocolate factory – it really is wonderful (and loads of samples to enjoy!).

Places to Visit

  • We’ve already mentioned some of the towns on the wine routes – all really worth a look
  • Drive to Marsanne and stop for a coffee; drive on via Puy St Martin to Saou for lunch at L’Oiseau sur sa Branche (and for a ramble in the woods); from Saou go via Bourdeaux to Dieulefit (if you are hungry try Le Quartier restaurant on the main street – wonderful!) and return visiting Le Poet Laval on the way.
  • In season (late June/Early July) seek out the lavender fields towards Grignan (see photo of green tractor in a lavender field on our web pages – it is on the road between Reauville and Grignan)
  • Also try St Remy de Provence – where Vincent van Gogh spent time (in the asylum!)
  • Uzes, Ales and Gordes – all to the south in Provence
  • Pont du Gard is worthy of an afternoon visit. It has a great visitor centre/museum and the walk to and around the aquaduct itself is lovely. The 2,000 year-old structure is the most visited ancient monument in France.
  • In the Ardeche – Alba la Romaine, Aubenas, the Ardeches Gorges (including Pont d’Arc and Aigueze), Vogue 
  • If you are going to the Ardeche then I highly recommend a visit to the newly opened “La Grotte Chauvet” (www.pontdarc-ardeche.fr). This is a man-made recreation of a nearby pre-historic cave that was discovered just 20 years ago. It contains 36,000 year-old man-made cave paintings and is simply incredible. The cave paintings are more than twice as old as those discovered in the Lascaux Cave (previously considered the oldest known man-made paintings).
  • Nearer to home, Le Garde d’Adhemar (we love this place!), Mirmande, Marsanne
  • Any of the many Nougat factories all around Montelimar
  • The museum of miniatures in the centre of town opposite the post office
  • There is a Go-Carting track just outside Montelimar (on the road to Le Teil) – looks like fun (although I haven’t tried it myself)
  • There is a massive municipal swimming centre with excellent facilities just on the outskirts of Montelimar on the N7 going south.