The highlights of my trips are always around food and wine. No matter where I travel to, I have found tremendous joy, fostered lasting friendships, and created wonderful memories through the sharing of food with family and friends.
Maybe it’s a Latina thing: sharing a meal with others, laughing a little too loudly, drinking a little too much, eating a little too much, and just sharing the joy of the moment. It makes me feel at home. It’s just how we come together no matter what the occasion. So, it’s no surprise that I am always open to breaking bread and toasting with strangers in my travels. Because I know that in the end they will be strangers no more.
This is how I toured the Rhône Valley and broke past language barriers. I arrived in Avignon, a 2-hour-and-45-minute train ride from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, and was immediately greeted by the warmth of Southern France.
The Rhône Valley is celebrated for its food and wine. Visiting during the summer months allows you to enjoy some of the best offerings from the season, as the lavender and fruits that grow in abundance there influence the flavors of many dishes and wines unique to the region.
Where I stayed and with whom I dined during my time in France influenced the enjoyment of my meal, so see the photos for more details on where you can stay and have a wonderful culinary experience.
Domaine la Condamine
It starts with a pop of the bottle
Biking along the vineyards
I should clarify that the bike was an electric bike which can be rented before a wine tasting at Cave TerraVentoux. There are beautiful views of vineyards, fruit trees, the village of Mormoiron, and Mont Ventoux, where the Tour de France takes place—if you’re feeling so inclined to take a traditional bike instead.
Everywhere you go in the Rhône Valley you will find one sweet fruit or another. I tasted the sweetest peaches and apricots I have ever had in my life, and the largest and juiciest cherries. Make sure to stock up on local jams too!
Tea in Séguret
Séguret is known as one of the “most beautiful villages in France.” It is perched on the side of a hill and is full of history and character. The Eglantine tea shop is a great place to relax and take in the beautiful views of the valley.
Enjoy the hospitality and food at Domaine Dieulefit
Wine tasting in a cave—why not?
The Gorges de l’Ardèche is an incredible walk back in time past large halls and water basins. You can scale and hike for miles and miles if you feel strong and brave enough to tent in a cave overnight. I chose an easier path, meeting up with Saint Marcel winemakers in search of the perfect spots to relax and taste their wines. Worth every incredible second.
Wine and chocolate
At the Ortas Cave de Rasteau you have the opportunity to learn all about the Rasteau wines while pairing them with delicious, high-end chocolates. It’s a must.
Fine dining while overlooking the vineyards
Restaurant Coteaux et Fourchettes (slopes and forks) in Cairanne is a fabulous dining experience. I recommend going during the day so that you can take in the views and the breeze while your sommelier pairs the perfect wine with your delicious meal. It’s perfection.
The farmers market
Sometimes you don’t want to sit down for a big, extended, French-style meal. In that case, the best thing to do is head to the market, of which there are plenty. Pick up a market guide in the tourism office for information and locations on markets like Vaison-la-Romaine.
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Carol Cain has always been fascinated with the way people from different backgrounds and experiences interact and take in the world around them and how it influences the way in which they share their stories. Now she gets to share those stories, as well as her own travel adventures and photography on her award-winning travel blog, Girl Gone Travel, and through various brand partnerships and publications from around the world. Stop by on Twitter and say hello!