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Dentelles

The jagged hilltops which form the backbone of this area, are the Dentelles de Montmirail so called because they were thought to resemble lace, and the peaks divide the area that we explore into two distinct parts. To the west the panorama of the vineyards of the Cotes de Rhone villages such as Gigondas, Beaume de Venise  and Vaqueras, an area renowned for its full-bodied reds and sweet scented whites. To the east the ancient town of Vaison-la-Romaine .

You can happily spend a relaxing holiday simply pottering around the pretty villages, tasting the wines and visiting Vaison with its lively market, good restaurants and fascinating Roman remains.  But just a short drive further afield takes you to the historic town of Orange and the celebrated Théatre Antique and just beyond, the famous vineyards of Chateauneuf du

Pape.  To the north, the olive growing centre of Nyons and to the east dominating the horizon from afar, 'the giant of Provence' Mont Ventoux invites you to explore the secret valleys and mountains of the Haute Vaucluse. 

And it's good walking country too.  From the Col du Cayron pass at the heart of the Dentelles highest peaks, various well marked trails take you deep into the heart of the mountains.  There are gentle strolls through the vineyards and the botanical trail at the ski resort of Mont Serein on the northern slopes of Mont Ventoux offers a completely different aspect to this beautiful region.

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  Just  few of the local sights not to be missed!
The pretty wine villages of Séguret, Le Crestet, Gigondas and Beaumes de Venise nestle into the mountainsides. Their picturesque old streets are just made for strolling and soaking up the atmosphere and the views of the vineyards are all around you. Restaurant L'Oustalet in the shady central square in Gigondas is a perfect lunch spot and the view of Mont Ventoux from the the café at the very top of the village of Le Crestet is just superb. Le Cretat
Situated at the northern end of the Dentelles mountain range in the Cotes du Rhone growing area, Vaison la Romaine is a town of two parts.  The atmospheric medieval Haute Ville is perched high on the hill above the modern town below.  Linking the two parts of the town is the beautiful Roman bridge across the River Ouvèze.  The newer town was built around its Roman predecessor and with its superb Roman excavations of La Villasse and Puymin,  Vaison today is one of France's largest archaeological sites. Vaison
For an excellent introduction to the wines of the area visit The Maison du Vin in Gigondas village centre or one of the big cave co-operatives at Vacqueras and Beaumes de Venise.  Or if you prefer to visit one of the many individual smaller producers just follow one of the many signs off the road for a tasting direct from the wine domaine.  The local vignerons will be delighted to explain in detail about their wines and the grape varieties they use and at some you can also visit the cellars.  This area produces some beautiful fruity reds and of course the famous sweet muscat of Beaumes de Venise. Maison du Vin
There are many long hikes or gentle strolls in and around this area.  Above Gigondas follow the signs for the Col de Cayron for a walk high in the Dentelles peaks - beautiful views and deliciously clear air.  Or simply get off the beaten track and stroll through the vineyards - a lovely sight in the Autumn when the vines turn from green to reds, oranges and purples. Dentelles vines
 A short excursion away 
Brant Malaucene Nyons Orange
The hidden Toulourenc valley leading you around the northern slopes of Mont Ventoux and the peaceful old village of Brantes A drive to the summit of Mont Ventoux from Malaucène - a gentle climb up the winding road to the limestone summit with superb views.  Stroll the botanical trail at Mont Serein or descent the slopes to the lavender growing plateau of Sault. The lively market in the town of Nyons, centre of olive growing in northern Provence.  Visit the ancient olive mill nestling beneath the 14thcentury Romanesque bridge and buy olive products including soap in an infinite variety of scents. The Théatre Antique in Orange and a short drive away, the vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape where the vines are warmed by the sun soaked pebbles
Further afield
Avignon Roussillon Nimes Pont du Gard

Avignon with its glorious medieval architecture and sumptuous Papal Palace is around 45 minutes drive.

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>>Avignon City Stay
.

The delightful perched villages of the Luberon. 

For more information on these and the other beautiful villages of the area click on
>>Countryside & Villages
The fascinating old town of Nimes, rich in Roman heritage. 

For more information on these and the other beautiful cities of the area click on >>Cities

The UNESCO world heritage site of the Pont du Gard and the nearby the charming town of Uzes with its shady squares and lively cafés.

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Updated 14 January, 2012