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LIFESTYLE- A journey in Drome Lavender

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Lavenders usually blossom from Mid June to August, it is about time to prepare your lavender trip in the South.

See some wonderful places to visit in the region of Drome Provencale ( Provence Drome), a rural region located in  Northern  Provence, full of hidden treasures.

France, Rhone Alpes region, Drome, Grignan village, well-knowed for its castle where Madam Sevigne lived and died in 1696 and its lavender fields

France, Rhone Alpes region, Drome, Grignan village, well-knowed for its castle where Madam Sevigne lived and died in 1696 and its lavender fields

 

Nyons is the main town of Provence Drome, it is famous for its walnut oil and olive oil. Here is a village in the heart of one lavender reagion, with a beautiful gastronomy tradition and a beautiful heritage. The Roman bridge is worth the stopover.

nyons-roman-bridge

Nyons and its Roman Bridge ( Pont roman)

But there are small villages worth the visit too, such as Pierrelongue, a small village famous fort its beautiful abbey built on a stone peak. The abbey has been maintained by volunteering villagers.

Inside, you can see the place as it was left by the abbott who got the idea of building the church on the peak.

 

pierrelongue1

Pierrelongue abbey and the village

Drome is a region between the lower Alps and Provence, it is the first organic farming region in France and it is not much inhabited in comparison with other French regions.

Northern Drome is known for its Grenoble walnuts ( Noix de Grenoble). You can buy them in shops or in supermarkets, there is Origin Guarantee Logo on the packs. There are three species authorized to bear the Origin Guarantee Logo ( the red label) .

walnut-grenoble

There are tasty, nutty and you can find them in many local recipes like the walnut pie of course or walnut oil. You will see lots of walnut orchards if driving on the Highway between Grenoble and Valence ( the capital city of Drome) .

walnut-inside

 

Drome is famous for its organic farming, its walnuts but also its fruits production: apricots, almonds, peaches, cantalupes.

French black truffles come from Perigord, Provence, but Drome too.  There are delicious and very fragrant especially fresh in season ( Truffle market is from December to March). During lavender season, you will find them in jars or in oil bottles ( olive oil is a good way of conserving truffles). Imagine Nyons olive oil with Nyons truffles inside the bottle.

drome-truffe

There is a famous white wine from Die ( pronounce Dee), it is called the Clairette de Die. A brother to champagne, this sparkling white wine is sometimes more enjoyed than Champagne wine ( considered a bit cliché by some French amateurs) . The Drome people like to say that their Clairette is more fragrant than Champagne.

If you want to try and visit Clairette cellars, you can go to the Jaillance website and register for a free visit for 2 ( visite gratuite pour 2) . You will be able to see the wine process and taste. Visits in English are all year long at their HQ of Die.

Die is a beautiful village  in a quiet region with a long history.

die

Die , the village

In all shops, you will find Clairette de Die available at the white sparkling wine section. Good news : their price is much lower than Champagne, so do not hesitate to buy a bottle to try.  ( If you are in Alsace, you can also drink Cremant d’Alsace, another sparkling wine outshone by the overwhelming  posh star Champagne) . If you are sensitive, buy Bio ( Organic)  wines, so you will diges them better and avoid some unwanted molecules.

There are plenty of producers and no big houses like in Champagne, so feel free to try. The quality level is good and the price low, so no risk. It will be value for money.

Another place to visit is Crest, ( say Kreh) a village famous for its high tower that was a prison during the Revolution. The tower is what remains of a fortress.

crest-drome-village-tower

Crest, the village and its tower.

I went there and the views are really awesome. You enjoy a 360 degree view from Vercors ( Lower Pre-Alps) cliffs to Provence. It’s really worth the climbing. Besides the medieval village is cute. You can have an ice cream or a drink in a al fresco cafes.

You will be surprised by the quality of the air, and the silence, as it is a quiet place. It does not mean people are boring and places are dull.

While touring the lavenders fields, you will find lots of beautiful castles. Click here for a selection of the top ones or this link

Grignan, Suze La Rousse, Adhemar Montelimar are all recommended places to drop by.

lavender-maps

Lavender map

 

As you can see here, you do not have to head South to see lavenders, some fields are located in the Drome region.

To understand better the blossoming season, check the detailed seasonal map on this site.  They have classified the fields in 3 blossom periods.

I will just quote this site advice.

lavender-la-laupie

  • Between the Drôme-Die valley and Haut-Buëch, around Crest, flowering takes place between mid-June and late July. In the Haut-Diois and Haut-Buëch it lasts until the start of August. In places such as Chamaloc, Valdrôme and La Faurie, distillation can continue beyond 15th August.

  • In the southern plains of the Drôme, hybrid lavender begins flowering in mid-June around Grignan and Tricastin, and continues until mid-July on the higher ground of Vinsobres and Roche Saint-Secret.

 

lavender-field

By the way Lavender essential oil is excellent for the skin and the mood, it is relaxing and soothing. There are different species of lavenders, so check the one you prefer. Lavande Aspic essential oil  is good against viruses, and deters insects, it is my favourite fragrance amongst other lavenders. You can use it pure on the skin as well without any risk.  ( do not spray in your eyes) .

Of course, you need to wine and dine too, so take a look at this. Click here to learn more

Now, you have everything to enjoy lavenders.  You can find many forums of tourists sharing their experiences like on Fodors.com 

The main links to remember

lavender-alps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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