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 glorious sunshine. Find some photos and tips for the area around Mont Ventoux in the post.
Where to Stay: Le Chateau De Mazan
The Chateau de Mazan is located in a small, medieval village in the heart of the Provance 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 lovely 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 excellent dinners at Guide Michelin-approved L’Ingénue.
Mazan – a Hidden Gem en Provence
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 towns and villages in Provence. It is, in fact, a very modest village dating back to the middle ages. However, it was much fun to stroll around, notably since it lacked all the tourists. Mazan is an ideal base for trips to its surrounding mountains and villages.
Up, up, up the Mont Ventoux
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. 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 you can find 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. I love all the produce Provence has to offer!
Shopping Antiquities in L’Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue
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 the trip to L’Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue. This town is not only famous for its many small canals and big 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 exploring antiquities this place is heaven. Also, it’s a perfect spot for people watching!
Fontaine de Vaucluse – a magical place
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 Provence’s best food 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 unique 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 have to take my word for it.