Q&A French Travel memories interview with Joanne Sasvari in Provence

Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque

Discover Provence

Provence is not a perfectly delimited geographical entity, but rather the reminder of a Roman era and the first Gaul conquest, named Provincia, which inspired today’s designation of Provence.

Thus, Provence technically includes many departments in the south east of France, with Marseilles as its capital. Slightly further south, Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin (Cavaillon, Carpentras, Vaison-la-Romaine) recall the lengthy papal authority that once reigned on this land.

Taste of Provence

Vaucluse is a department in Provence, home to the Ventoux mountain. Its famous for ist cuisine, both simple and creative. The range of produce from Vaucluse is just as varied and generous as it is brilliant: Carpentras strawberries, Cavaillon melons, A.O.P. Côteaux du Ventoux cherries, lamb from Sault, Ventoux pork raised in the open air, Piolenc garlic, Caromb fig, olives and olive oil, AOP Muscat du Ventoux, grapes, saffron, black truffle, herbes de Provence and other herbs, almonds, nougat, and candied fruit…

Explore the vineyards

When you hear, “Provence” the first thing you probably think of is rosé… and there’s good reason for that. In Provence, 88% of wine production is rosé wine, and it’s also important to note that the region has been producing wine for over 2600 years! Warm sunny days, cooling influences from the Mistral winds, and altitude (in some areas) allow for successful winegrowing and viticulture.

Backing onto the Rhone river, Vaucluse boasts endless vines along the diverse appellations of the southern Côtes du Rhône. There is of course the prestigious Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes-de-Venise, Cairanne… but also the AOC Luberon and Ventoux. Present for thousands of years, the history of the vine is linked to that of Vaucluse since the vines were first planted by the Greeks. Next, the Romans, and then the Popes who played a deciding role, not to mention that of the Rhône.

Idea: A bit tired of traditional visits to wine estates? At Domaine de la Tourade you will have the chance to tour the vineyards in a 70’s minivan!

More information (External link)

Avignon: gourmet trip

Avignon has everything needed to enchant you with its art de vivre and rich architectural heritage. The largest Gothic palace in Europe and epicentre of the city, the Palais des Papes was the residence of pontifical sovereigns during the 14th century.

Towards the edges of the city, the Pont d’Avignon—celebrated across the world—is also an amazing must-see witness to the city’s history.

Discover elegant fashion boutiques, antique dealers, regional products, Provençal gourmet cuisine and Côtes du Rhône wine, all for moments of pure pleasure. During the summer, thanks to its annual festival, the city shines with a unique atmosphere, transforming into one giant concert and theatre hall.

Avignon Festival: 5 to 25 July 2021 (official, but the fringe is from 7 to 31 July)— a festival which started in 1947.

There is another interesting festival, the Choregies d’Orange (External link) opera festival in the Roman Theatre of Orange (which can take up to 10,000 people). This is the oldest festival in France, which started in 1869.

Les Halles and the "Little Kitchen"

Decorated with an astonishing plant wall created by Patrick Blanc, Les Halles, an authentic Provençal-style market, offers fresh seasonal products and regional specialties. Each Saturday in the morning, the area’s top chefs come to run the “Little Kitchen” to share their art, advise chefs-in-training, reveal their secrets, and initiate visitors into Provençal cuisine. Taste recipes prepared with products from the market!

Discover 10 experiences in Provence (External link)

Provence’s Lavender Route

From Vaucluse to Drome, the beloved lavender fields are among the most beautiful landscapes in Provence. They are the perfect opportunity to follow your nose to a destination with a delicious scent, but above all to discover a unique culture and heritage in the South of France.

The lavender season: June-July, until early August

Discover lavender from every angle with The Gallery Through Time

The “Galerie du Temps” is housed beneath the arched ceiling of a traditional stone sheep pen. Inside, visitors can explore different lavender-related crafts.

Tour of the distillery, self-led by following the signs or guided tours (French, English, Spanish or German),

The Plantotheque, a leisurely stroll along terraces planted with herbs and equipped with informative panels,

The Lavandoscope, a museum space which enables visitors to find out all there is to know about Provence’s symbolic flower,

More information (External link)

On the lavender trails (External link)

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

A delightful medieval village on the left bank of the River Rhone, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the unique starting point for wine lovers wishing to explore the most prestigious wines of the Rhone Valley.

Idea: In the heart of Châteauneuf du Pape, Le Pavillon des Vins (External link) invites you to share its passion for the wine offering numerous activities: wine tours, introduction to wine tasting, tasting workshops, food and wine pairings.

Vacqueyras: the small winegrowing village

Standing at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail massif, the small winegrowing village of Vacqueyras is famous for its prestigious Côtes du Rhône classified growth.

The vineyards gained official recognition for the quality of their wines in 1990 by being named a “vintage” wine.

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue: a city of canals and the capital of antiques goods

As soon as you arrive in l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, around 30 kilometres east of Avignon, you will be charmed by the flower-bordered canal and the series of antique shops… Located between the Luberon, the Ventoux and the Alpilles, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is an unmissable part of Vaucluse. Often referred to as the “Venice comtadine” (Venice of Provence), l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a charming town on the water.

Vaison-la-Romaine: the roman theatre

Although its wall has fallen, it has lost nothing of its splendour, and the anticipation builds as you take your seat ready to witness one of the events regularly held at the theatre.

This theatre with its 5,000 seats is undoubtedly a magnificent open-air stage, perfect for summer shows.