Mirabel–aux-Baronnies is a very pretty, traditional hill-top village with medieval origins. Wander the quiet backstreets and explore the little winding paths which lead up to the ancient Church. It has very good facilities with two bakeries, a butcher, newsagent, grocery store, tourist office, art gallery, pharmacy and two cafes/bars all within a minute’s walk of the house. On Fridays the village has a small market.
Vaison la Romaine
The ancient town of Vaison la Romaine sits on the Ouvèze river. The town is in two parts with the modern town at the base of the hill and the Haute Ville (upper town), located on the high rock south of the river. The Haute Ville is the Medieval center of Vaison-la-Romaine, complete with 12th-century castle and many art galleries. It is lovely to wander the narrow streets and explore the old buildings and hidden corners. The two parts of Vaison-la-Romaine are joined by a single-arched Roman bridge over the river, still in use after 2000 years. The town has a fantastic weekly market on Tuesdays, good shops, cafés and restaurants and is packed with history and culture including the well preserved Roman ruins including forum and amphitheatre. During the summer, Vaison is bustling with music festivals, dance festivals and theatre.
Nyons town, is famous for its sunny micro climate and olive trees. Located in the Drome Provencale it is the gateway town to Les Baronnies, a rugged area of the Pre-Alpes. It has a great deal of charm with the 14th century Place des Arcades and 15th century Romanesque bridge over the river Eygues. Explore the tiny alleyways which twist through the old town, many with underpasses leading into tiny courtyards. The valleys around Nyons are sheltered from the Mistral wind and ideal for olive growing. Nyons is also in a region of northern Provence which grows lavender and the town is often bathed in the wonderful scent. Market day is on Thursday and in high season there is also a provencal market on Sunday.
There are numerous outdoor swimming opportunities in the area:
Nyons has an open air swimming pool and water park Parc de Loisirs Aquatiques open from May to September with full size swimming pool for adults and shallow paddling areas for children and toddlers. There are water slides and areas for picnics and sunbathing as well as a cafe and bar. Nyons is just 7 km away
Le Sagittaire open air water park complex is open from April to September with pools, water slides, pirate ship and lagoon only 2.5km away from the house
Swimming lake Le Pas des Ondes and picnic area with lakeside beach, cafe and bar is hidden away in the spectacular Nyons hills. The drive to the lake is beautiful and the location perfect for family and couples alike
Lac du Paty is a beautiful swimming lake located on the slopes of Mont Ventoux near the village of Le Barroux. There are lovely walks and picnic areas in the woods around the lake as well as a cafe and bar
Gorges du Toulourenc is an idyllic location for wild river swimming in the spectacular Toulourenc valley in the shadow of Mont Ventoux. Walk along the river, picnic and swim in this sublime setting
The area of Mirabel aux Baronnies is often included in the route of the Tour du France and is a very popular cycling area for professionals and amateurs alike.
For the serious cyclist a trip isn’t complete without tackling the world famous Mont Ventoux just 20km away from the house. There are three cycle routes up the mountain either from Bedoin, Malaucene or the ‘easy’ route from Sault. Most cyclists stop for a post mountain aperitif in the bars and cafes of Malaucene in the early evening which also has many cycling shops.
In the area around Mirabel there are many cycling routes for all levels and plenty of marked cycling routes through the vineyards and villages. We provide further details at the house.
There are a number of cycle hire shops in Vaison la Romaine and Nyons as well as cycle repair shops.
There are plenty of walks of all levels both directly from the house and further afield, walks that take in the vineyards, local villages, wild flowers, hills, mountain passes and the spectacular views. The house is set in the Baronnies hills with the Nyons hills and Mont Ventoux close by, so the options are endless.
From the slopes of Mont Ventoux there are both ambitious Gr (Grande Randonnée) walking routes and shorter circular walks through the forests taking in some spectacular views.
The Dentelles de Montmirail are a series of craggy mountain which stretch over 5 miles with rows of vineyards on the terraced land below. This area is wonderful to explore with many hiking trails that wind through the massif, mountain bike circuits, the Wine Road and popular climbing opportunities.
The house has a large collection of walking maps and routes with details of some of the owners favourite walks.
Vaison la Romaine: Tuesday mornings
Nyons: Thursday mornings. A provencal market is also held on Sundays during the summer
Mirabel aux Baronnies: Friday mornings
Further afield there are markets in Orange and Carpentras
You cannot pass through this area without realising you are in a serious wine-growing region. The fields and hillsides are covered in vines, giving wonderful greenery during the summer, and amazing tints in autumn. This is a perfect area for exploration by lovers of good wine, at affordable prices.
The Southern Rhone is a major wine-producing area of France and Mirabel is set in its heart, with world famous Chateauneuf du Pape only 45 minutes away, and with many villages such as Gigondas, Vacqueras, Rasteau, and Beaumes de Venise even nearer, all with their own appelations. The AC village of Vinsobres is only 5km away. Although the area is better known for its red wines, using grenache grapes, with syrah, mourvedre, carignan and cinsault, and making warm and spicy wines, there are also good whites and rose wines for a more refreshing summer drink, as well as Beaumes de Venise with its famous vin doux naturel made from the muscat grape. There are many small growers and winemakers, as well as the more famous ones. Quality is high because of competition and there is an increasing emphasis on organic. One is always welcome to drop in and taste before buying, especially from the co-operative cellars where a range of local wines is shown, though beware the high alcohol levels of some of the wines, and the strict drink/drive limits in France. During summer there are wine fairs and fetes in many of the villages as they await the harvest. Early September is a fun time to visit as every little road is full of every kind of vehicle loaded with grapes and heading for the local co-operative.
The region is renowned for the sweet, fruity and fragrant taste of artisanal olive oil; the fine black pearl La Tanche Nyons AOP Olives and the rich red Rhone valley and Provencal rose wines.
There are extensive opportunities for exploring the foods and wines of the region from shopping in the weekly markets to dining in local restaurants.
Vaison-la-Romaine has a fantastic range of restaurants for all budgets as does Nyons and the owners provide a detailed list of places to eat from the local pizza in the village to some hidden rural restaurants perfect for whiling away an afternoon.