A trip to France can begin with a tour of the countryside from your own Provence villa rental. Learn about the region's history and culture as it slowly unfolds during your hiking or bicycling tour. Get acquainted with castles, historical sites, vineyards and quaint villages. Be ready for some gastronomic adventures as well; indulge your taste buds in Provence's local cuisine. After a few days of touring the quiet country roads, you might find yourself wanting to extend your holiday.
Chateaux Grignan and Suze la Rousse
Drove Provencale is situated between the Alps of Vaucluse and Rhone. The countryside is popular among locals and tourists, and two of its highlights are the chateaux Grignan and Suze la Rousse. Suze la Rousse now houses the Universite du Vun that trains wine enthusiasts to become future wine growers and sommeliers. On the other hand, the majestic Grignan can be seen from afar as a towering structure within a small village. A guided English tour is available during weekdays inside the chateau. A small bookstore nearby is a must-visit for book lovers and history buffs.
As the world's capital of black truffles, Richerenches is home to the country's largest Truffles Market, the Marche aux Truffes. Tourists, however, are warned not to buy from the market as the products sold here are for professional dealers only. You may end up buying the brumale truffle, which is lower in taste and quality.
You can also participate in the village's flower market event on the first Sunday of May. If you're around on the second Saturday of August, you can take part in their medieval festival, where they commemorate the Knights of Templar. Riecherenches is just a short drive away from most Provence rentals.
Dieulefit is another must-visit destination in the countryside. This charming town in the Jabron Valley is known for its Picodon goat cheese, pottery and its tourist-friendly weather. Make your way to the town's little shops along Rue Justing Jouve and Place Chateauras to bargain for goat cheese.
There are around 30 pottery makers and artists in Dieulefit. If you want to dabble in pottery arts, you can enroll in short-term courses at the Maison de la Terre du Pays de Dieulefit.
Fontaine de Vaucluse-Gordes
Don't miss the Fontaine de Vaucluse-Gordes, recently awarded as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France. The village houses are made of dry stone and overlook the magnificent views of Luberon Parc and Coulon River. You can also visit the Romanesque Senanque Abbey on your way to the village.
Isle Sur la Sorgue-Fontaine de Vaucluse
Antique lovers flock to this part of the region to bargain for unique finds during the Sunday market. The old fishing town is also home to the oldest church in Provence, built as early as the 12th century.
VacationHomes.com provides a complete list of villa rentals in Provence that can serve as your starting point in touring the countryside. Prices, amenities and special discounts are easily accessible.