A six-hour ride south of Zurich we found ourselves in the beautiful Provence for a perfect spring weekend. While the weather had been cold and rainy in Switzerland, the South of France welcomed us with beautiful sunshine. After we had left the Autoroute du Soleil and passed by many beautiful vineyards and quaint little villages, we arrived at our hotel:
Le Chateau De Mazan
The Chateau de Mazan is located in a small, medieval village and did once belong to the family of the infamous Maquis de Sade. Today it’s a beautiful hotel with a more than decent restaurant and a beautiful garden with swimming pool – too bad it was too cold to take a dip. But we had a great time staying there and enjoyed two great dinners at Guide Michelin-approved L’Ingénue.
If you google Mazan you will find many pictures from Keira Knightley’s wedding ceremony that took place here. But apart from that, it is a far cry from the glitz and glamour of other provencal towns and villages. It is, in fact, a very modest village dating back to the middle ages. However, it was much fun to stroll around, especially since it was lacking all the tourists. Mazan is an ideal base for trips to its surrounding mountains and villages.
Up, up, up the Mont Ventoux
Nowadays, Mont Ventoux is best known for being part of the Tour de France. Due to this legacy it’s biker’s territory and driving up the mountain by car turned out to be quite a dangerous endeavour. Yet, it was much less exhausting than taking the bike. The view was stunning and we were lucky to experience such clear skies. I especially liked the view of the snowy Alps in the distance!
Les Dentelles de Montmirail
Close to the Mont Ventoux are the Dentelles de Montmirail, a small chain of mountains surrounded by vineyards and small villages. We took a stroll through Suzette, a tiny town that offers beautiful views. It felt quite lonesome and forgotten but in a good way. It would be the perfect place to own a little vacation home. In Baumes-de-Venise we had lunch and bought delicious olive oil and honey from the region.
It’s the Venice of the Provence, they say. It feels like you are in a French version of the Netherlands, I say. Nevertheless, it is worth making in trip to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. This town is not only famous for its many small canals and huge water wheels, but for antiquities. Once a centre for paper and linen production, today all the old workshops and storage buildings are filled to the brim with design classics and century old furniture and bric-à-brac. So, if you are into that this place is heaven. Also, it’s a perfect spot for people watching!
Fontaine de Vaucluse
Close by is the Fontaine de Vaucluse, one of the biggest sources in France. It’s a magical place and as it is with magical things, they are hard to photograph. So, I suggest you go there yourself and walk along the greenest river in the world.
Eating at Au Fil Du Temps
If you ever find yourself in the region around the Mont Ventoux, make sure to book a table at Au Fil du Temps in Pernes-les-Fontaines. It was some of the most special food we have eaten in a while – and the folks running the place were just charming! I have no pictures to prove it, so you just have to take my word for it.