- Cosmopolitan castle
- Woods, vineyards and sunflower fields
- Historic homestay
- Lush Luberon
- Trad turreted eyrie
- Seven-house hamlet
- Well-travelled townhouse
- Waterside brocante market
- Fabulous farmhouse finesse
- Van Gogh country
Vaucluse, Provence Activities
Worth getting out of bed for...
- There are belvederes on the twisty route up Mont Ventoux. High above Beaumes de Venise (ask in the village), Domaine de Durban has top dessert wines and a super view.
- Arts and culture
- The well-preserved Roman amphitheatre at Orange makes a thrilling backdrop to the summer opera festival in July (www.choregies.asso.fr).
- Something for nothing
- You can sample your way around the region’s bigger markets, especially the one at Bédoin. Look out for wild lavender growing around Sault in July and August.
- Apart from the giant blocks of savon de Marseille, the best buys are olive-wood kitchenwares and lavender bath products (we like the Popée family’s tiny shop on the road from Sault up to the Ventoux). In Sault, nougaterie André Boyer sells sweet treats in an historic interior. Isle-sur-la-Sorgue hosts a celebrated antiques market every Sunday morning.
- Avignon’s monumental Palais des Papes was built in the 14th century, when the city was home to the popes. Modern pilgrims seeking more earthly delights can enjoy chic shopping and gourmet dining around Place de l’Horloge. Alternatively, Arles with its Roman amphitheatre, art exhibitions and quirky restaurants is a day trip away.
- Perfect picnic
- Head to the market and fill your bicycle's panniers with baguettes, goat's cheese, onion tarts and some rosé. Our favourite picnic spot is between Mormoiron and Malemort.
- Oenologist Julien Poujol arranges walking tours of Gigondas’ vineyards to help visitors get an understanding of ‘terroir’ and cave culture. Ring +33 (0)6 78 70 55 93 or visit www.viti-oenotourisme.com.
- Provence Vélos (+33 (0)4 90 60 28 07) will deliver bikes and tandems wherever you request, for half or full days of backroad cycling. There’s quad biking on the slopes of Mont Ventoux; contact Ventoux Quad at Crillon-le-Brave (+33 (0)6 19 06 05 92). Station du Mont Serein has skiing in the winter and go-karting in the summer (+33 (0)4 90 63 42 02; www.stationdumontserein.com). For horse riding, try Centre Equestre le Ménèque (+33 (0)4 90 65 66 39) near Bédoin. Wine-tasting routes criss-cross the region; see www.rhone-wines.co.uk for details. Do a DIY wine-tasting tour of the Côtes du Rhône villages and wine-making regions, including Cairanne, Séguret, Sablet, Violès, Gigondas, Beaumes-de-Venise and, of course, Châteauneuf du Pape.
July The Festival d’Avignon brings all manner of street performers to the city, as well as formal concerts (www.festival-avignon.com). Avignon’s off-beat fringe arts festival runs at the same time, filling the streets with jugglers and mime artists (www.avignon-off.org). Last two weeks of July Carpentras stages Les Estivales de Carpentras, an entertaining celebration of music, theatre and dance. 15 August Sault, in the heart of the region's lavender fields, hosts the fragrant Fête de la Lavande.