For reisjournaliste Ingrid Castelein, author of Mon(t) Ventoux, and the Route de la Lavande, Provence has no secrets. She gives us five unique insider tips for this popular French region.
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Ingrid Castelein wrote before the book Mon(t) Ventoux which they readers guided along the southern slopes of the legendary mountain in the Vaucluse. Just her second book, Route de la Lavande appeared in which they, the readers, will take you on a journey along the northern and eastern slopes of the Mount Ventoux.
She takes you to villages such as Nyons, Montbrun-les-Bains and Mollans-sur-Ouvèze and Provencal markets of Malaucène and Buis-les-Baronnies. In the winter, there’s nougat and truffle tasting or a sneeuwwandeling. In the spring behold and you can smell the blossoms of the abricotiers. In the summer you ride in the Toulourencvallei and between flowering lavender.
Ingrid Castelein shares with us five unique tips for Provence
1. Valley of the Toulourenc
The north side of the legendary Mont Ventoux is less touristy than the southern flank. There you will find the valley of the Toulourenc, a real gem and oasis of calm and nature. A must, there are also idyllic villages such as Brantes and Savoillan. The Mont Ventoux seems to be there, with its steep sides, like a totally different mountain. It is a fun path to be on the bike.
2. Castle of Grignan
Eye-catcher in the Drôme Provençale, the castle of Grignan, that high towering above the village. The garden and courtyard of the castle as a visit is an absolute must and in addition accessible free of charge. From the terrace you have not only a beautiful view of the equally elegant as the impressive castle, but you look there is 360 degrees in the round: of the valley of the Rhone to the Mont Ventoux and the préalpes mountains.
3. Christmas and the truffle market in Provence
The christmas season brings in Provence the best of many worlds together. The Provencal markets are traditional and lively events where you have lots of local produce. In the winter, these are extended with christmas markets where you can original gifts and the best of the French gastronomy. The epitome, however, the truffelmarkten where the truffle, the black gold of Provence, is traded. You can find them in winter, Carpentras, Richerenches and in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux.
4. Lavender fields
The lavender fields on the border of the Vaucluse and the Drôme Provençale are legendary. In the month of July they are at their best. ‘A original Route de la Lavande to the purple splendor to admire, runs from Sault through the village of Aurel to Montbrun-les-Bains, where the height goes up to the hamlet of Barret-de-Lioure. From there you can reach quickly the Col de l’homme Mort, and then you descend into Ferrassières and return Aurel reached. Love in the descent, sure to make a stop at the belvedere, you have a panoramic view of the area as one large mauve field.”
5. Circle around the Ventoux
A trek to the top of Mont Ventoux is an absolute must if you are in the Provence, whether by car, scooter or bike. For anyone who is in need of another challenge, the tour of the Mont Ventoux is a must. “The whole trip a hundred miles, and is therefore also for cyclists, a feasible map’, know Castelein from experience. ‘Plus of this trip is that you have the Mont Ventoux see it evolve, and multiple sides can behold: from the south to east to north and to west. Time and time again, shows the Mont Ventoux is different.”
Route de la Lavande, the Publishing house Manteau, 19,99 euro, 318 pages including useful indexes with routes, nice places and bezoektips