My Guide to the Rhone Valley – Part I

The Rhone Valley, France

Last week, I spent a whirlwind 6 days in the Rhone Valley. I loved meeting many of the winemakers, hearing their stories, walking through the vineyards, and driving to the tops of (so many) peaks. There was so much to see in addition to the wine – olive trees, lavender, cherry trees, apricot trees, wild vegetables, and herbs growing everywhere. It’s a heavenly place to visit if you love fruit, vegetables, and wines as much as I do.

All of the vineyards listed here are open daily for tasting. If you call in advance you can schedule a more personal tour or another activity (segway tour, picnic, etc). To get around in the Rhone Valley, I suggest you rent a car with a navigation system in Avignon.

The Rhone Valley, France The Rhone Valley, France

Day 1:

I spent the morning on my own in Avignon, after arriving on train from Paris the night before. It’s such a charming city that I had fun just wandering the streets. I walked through the Les Halles d’ Avignon covered market before heading to brunch at L’ Amuse-Bouche, a cute cafe that serves their food on shareable boards. I started my trip with croissants & chocolate mousse.

In the afternoon I took a tour of the Palais des Papes. I recommend getting the helpful audio guide, which is available in a few different languages.

The Rhone Valley, France The Rhone Valley, France

In the evening, my guide drove me to Domaine des Peyre in Luberon. It’s a gorgeous vineyard with 5 newly renovated apartment-style rooms and a beautiful infinity pool. I was surrounded by cherry trees, almond trees, and olive trees. My room had a view of the vines – it was basically heaven. We tasted the wines before the winemaker Patricia took me to her home for dinner where they served ratatouille – which I love – and apricot cheesecake with chocolate. I was pinching myself the entire time.

The Rhone Valley, France The Rhone Valley, France

Day 2:

We visited Domaine de la Citadelle in Menerbes. The winemaker took us through his corkscrew museum (with over 1200 unique types of corkscrews!) After that, we visited his gardens (hike up a little bit and the view is amazing) and tasted the wines.

I then went to Cafe Fleurs for lunch. It’s a lovely spot in the Isle sir la Sorge. Their menu changes seasonally – everything was delicious, especially the gazpacho with savory tomato sorbet. I skipped dessert but regretted it later when I took a photo of my guide Clemance’s cake (pictured above) with lemon curd and strawberries. After lunch, we walked around the town and visited some of the many antique stores.

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Later in the afternoon, we went to Vacqueyras to the Rhonea Winemakers club of Beames, Venise and Vacqueras wines. You can take a tour in a 4×4 of the nearby villages and vineyards (about 2 hours total). Because I’m a wimp, skipped that and drove straight to the top of Beaumes de Venise to taste the wines on top of the mountain.

The Rhone Valley, France The Rhone Valley, France

Day 3:

After spending the night in Vaison la Romaine, I woke up and visited the big street market that takes place every Tuesday morning during the summer. Whenever I travel, visiting markets is one of my FAVORITE things to do and this one didn’t disappoint. I took pictures of pretty vegetables and bought a few olive wood cutting boards.

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We then drove to Domaine Rozel (one of my favorites). The family has been making wines for 22 generations! The winemaker Matthieu walked us through the vineyard showing us the farmhouse where he grew up as well as the lavender field, olive trees, wild asparagus, wild fennel, and wild honeysuckle. We were supposed cover this ground on Segways – but alas, I’m still a wimp, so we walked. Afterward we tasted wines – I especially loved their rose.

We had lunch at a cute cafe in the village of Valaurie. (I can’t remember the name, but it was the only cafe you see see walking up to the village – pictured below).

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After lunch, we had a tour of Suze la Rousse, a medieval chateaux which is now a wine museum and also a wine university. The photo below is the view from the castle. Driving in this area was one of my favorite parts of the trip because there are lavender fields everywhere.

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Later that night, we drove further north to Tournon-sur-Rhône and stayed at Hotel de la Villeon which I LOVED. It’s a very very nice boutique hotel in an 18th century building that was recently renovated. My room had a view of a castle, and we had dinner outside in the garden. They had a lovely breakfast in the morning too.

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Stay tuned for more!

Special thanks to Atout France & Air France for sending me & to my new friends at Inter Rhone for taking me around!


If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.

17 comments

  1. brianne on said:

    that looks incredible.

  2. Pia on said:

    The two of you sure seem to be having a fabulous time traveling around Europe, and I am so happy for you! Moreover, thanks for letting us “travel” with you, it’s making me feel very inspired. Anyway, I’m definitely staying tuned -here as well as on Instagram- and cannot wait to see and read more 🙂

  3. These photos are all just dreamy. They really take me back to my time studying abroad in France 🙂

  4. Julie Rose on said:

    So funny I am reading this posting at this moment. My husband and I just arrived in Avignon a few hours ago. We are thinking about renting a car for the day and love your suggestions thank you thank you. Right now I’m looking out my window at Palais des Papes. Question if you could only go to one town or one Vineyard which would it be just curious. Thank you

    • Sorry for my slow reply! I hope you had a great time in Avignon…

      I loved the views from Domaine de la Citadelle if you hike up a bit to where the herb garden is. Château Mourgues du grès was gorgeous as well – call ahead of time and they can help you plan a tasting or picnic at the top.

  5. Oh what a wonderful way to wake up while enjoying a hot cup of coffee. The area is beautiful. Thanks for the great photos. Wine, wine and more wine. Isn’t it grand to try all the different creations from another country? Some day I hope to visit these same areas. I hit open air markets whenever I can too.

  6. Lynda S. from bakingsmart.com on said:

    Love the pictures. Just so dreamy and I really want to make a trip back to France. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Michelle H. on said:

    Looks like a wonderful trip from the amazing pictures you’ve posted. How are you finding the menus? I don’t find French cuisine to offer a variety of vegetarian selections.

  8. Amazing photos, I am dreaming of France now! Especially loving those soaps and that gorgeous dessert!

  9. Isabelle Teran from isabelleteran.com on said:

    This rocks my socks! i have already booked a room on Domain Peyre! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  10. Jane from alwaysravenous.com on said:

    Great photos of a wonderful trip. Can’t wait to read more about your travel inspirations on Love and Lemons!

  11. Pingback: My Guide to the Rhone Valley, part II - Love and Lemons

  12. Looks like a perfectly beautiful trip! One note – I used to live in Isle sur la Sorgue, so the spelling was a little off 😉 But so glad you got there and mentioned it. I also lived in Avignon, but this was in the early 1990s so the restaurants were a bit different. 🙂

    xoxo Juliette

  13. Lina on said:

    Beautiful pictures, Jeanine! Thanks for sharing your trip with us. I’m curious how you put together your itinerary? Did you use books for inspiration?

    We are heading to the south of France in a week or two and are looking to visit several wineries, etc. Only we don’t know where to begin!

    • Hi Lina, for this trip I was really lucky and got taken around personally by people from Rhone Tourism – but check out their site, they have some really helpful info about traveling to the region: http://www.rhone-wines.com/en/visit

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