Cultivated for centuries beneath the peak of the mighty Mont Ventoux, the Vaucluse is the earthy, abundant counterpart to the show-off glitz of the Riviera and the Côte d’Azur.
Melons from Cavaillon, truffles from Carpentras, lavender from Sault, classic Rhône wines – tempting produce is showcased daily in the local markets. The soft valleys and craggy peaks are diverse and beautiful, Provençal sunlight alchemising vineyards and villages into instant art; walkers and cyclists can tackle the Alpine foothills or laze in lavender fields. You could spend a lifetime sampling the culture – summer festivals, specialist honeys, Avignon’s mansions and museums – or you could simply tug the brim of your straw hat down a bit and lie back until it’s time for that apéritif.
Spring and autumn see the region in its sunniest mood. Only the postcard-prettiest villages get crowded, even in summer. Winter is chilly when the Mistral wind blows.