Over our many years running the Provence Untour, we have fallen in love with this part of the Vaucluse. The wine villages that surround the Dentelle mountains, nestled at the foot of a château, fort or church, are memorable for their ancient and medieval character and wonderful countryside views.
The Dentelles will be a favorite area for hikers with their rocky outcroppings, forests and vineyards. But you can go just to explore the vineyards and sample the restaurants. Here are a few of our favorite villages.
Beaumes-de-Venise is the southern anchor of the Dentelles wine villages and one of the larger ones. While it is noted for a delicious sweet, white aperitif or dessert wine, you’ll find a variety of dry reds and whites from the surrounding vineyards. The old part of the village provides interesting strolling.
Bedoin is more identified with Mont Ventoux than the Dentelles. It is a wine village and has a number of food shops. As with most Provençal villages it has its own personality and is worth a visit. Hikers will find it a good starting place for exploring the southern foot of Mont Ventoux.
Caromb is a compact, fortified Medieval wine village about eight kilometers east of Beaumes-de-Venise. It has a few restaurants and shops and could provide a pleasant stroll for an hour or two. Untourists like to visit the local blacksmith shop, which is reminiscent of the early 20th century. The market in Caromb is on Tuesday mornings.
Crestet is a must for Untourists looking for unspoiled, picturesque villages and scenic beauty. Its ancient homes are well maintained and there is a minimum of commercial tourism. There is just one restaurant (last we checked). The view of Mont Ventoux and the plains below is still vividly etched in our memory.
Gigondas, on the western side of the Dentelles, has several wine shops in the village where you can taste and buy the excellent, robust local wines. This village also provides hikers and drivers access to the massif of the Dentelles. Gigondas has several restaurants and cafés and is a pleasant place to visit.
Rasteau is one of those towns which charmed us for no compelling reason. Located a few kilometers northwest of the Dentelles, it is surrounded by vineyards and features several inviting places for tasting and buying the local wine. We liked the unpretentiousness of this village as well as the view of the Dentelles it afforded. Stop if you’re in the area.
La Roque Alric is a dramatic village, perched on a steep hillside between Le Barroux and Beaumes-de-Venise. We recommend this drive. The road is good and, if you can find a parking spot, you might want to walk through this tiny town. Otherwise stop on the road below the town and feast your eyes on the view.
Sablet is another medieval Provençal wine village with a charm all its own. Climb up to the top of town to see the oldest buildings. It has some cute shops and a café.
Seguret is indeed worth a visit. Park in the big lot at the base of the town and make the leisurely climb up to the top of the old village, which has some appealing stores and wine shops.
For hikers, a road climbs from Seguret into the Dentelles towards Vaison-la-Romaine.
The Untours villages of the Provence Untour are a perfect base from which to explore this area, offering easy access by car. (A rental car is included in your Provence Untour.) Your Untours local host can fill you in on all the details to help you make the most of your time exploring these villages.