This area of Provence is truly a place for all seasons. In March the spring flowers push through; April sees the fruit blossom; May the vines bursting into leaf, greening everywhere, and the first strawberries and cherries turn up in the markets. More fruit and salads in June, and the hillsides are cloaked in lavender. A vast lavender harvest occurs in June/July with countless tiny distilleries in the region perfuming the air. There are sunflower fields and olive, apricot and cherry orchards all around. July and August are high season, with village’s fetes, music festivals, and more. And there’s always a breeze to cool things off. September brings the grape harvests. The autumn colors are amazing in October and November, and by Christmas the olives are ready to harvest. Christmas brings its own traditions and superb food delicacies. 90% of the French truffles are found in the Baronnies region around Mirabel. They are a real delicacy and are called black or white truffles, depending if they have been found in winter or in summer.
You are only minutes away from many of the most elite vineyards in the world – the Côte du Rhône Cru vineyards of Vinsobres, Gigondas, Rasteau, Vacqueyras, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. You could probably go wine tasting everyday for a year and still not have exhausted the caves and the local wines. Most of the local winegrowers immediately around Mirabel take their grapes to the Coopératives in nearby towns.
If you want a bit more life, Nyons is only 7 km away and has a great street cafe culture and one of Provence’s liveliest Market Days every Thursday! It also has a cinema, many cafes and restaurants, an outdoor theater, tennis, supermarkets, banking & services. There’s a gigantic outdoor Municipal Swim Center with cafe – a great place for cool family summer fun, and another memorable public pool is found beneath the Marquise-de-Sevigny’s huge Renaissance castle at Grignan. While you’re there, you should visit Chateau Grignan, as well the many local shops. Just a couple of kilometre down the road on the way to Nyons is Franceloc, with its huge water amusement park.
Bike around the valley vineyards. Hike or horseback ride between villages, following high altitude paths of the WWII French Resistance. There are music, opera & dance spectaculars in Vaison-la-Romaine, Orange, Arles and (a day trip away) Nimes. Avignon’s Festival, only an hour away, is home to a huge number of theatrical productions.
LINKS TO MORE INFORMATION
Active & informative regional blog (see right column’s bottom for index, etc.)
Department of Drôme:
Mirabel aux Baronnies lies on the southern edge of the Drôme Département.
Drôme Tourism’s website
Drôme Provençale “top attractions” on Rhône-Alpes Tourism’s website