Our third and concluding part of our blog regarding some of the best sightseeing and tourist areas around wonderful Vaucluse takes us to more staggering destinations in this part of the Provencal countryside. As we have seen the Haut-Vaucluse area of Provence is truly one of the most spectacular regions in the whole of France, full of ancient Gallo-Roman towns and quaint medieval villages precariously perched on hilltops. The region could have been designed for exploring, and relaxing at the many cafe terraces on hot summer nights and delighting on some great local Mediterranean cuisine.
A beautiful sun-drenched countryside town, Pernes-les-Fontaines is famous for its forty ancient fountains that decorate the town. They provide the residents of this most fortunate of towns with an abundant supply of fresh spring water. Dating back to the Middle Ages, Pernes-les-Fontaines was once ruled by Counts of Toulouse and the Popes of Avignon. Walking around the ancient town’s cobbled streets the visitor will pass old stone houses and can see the original town gates.
A must-see landmark is the Porte Notre-Dame which is the most spectacular gate in the ramparts of the town. It leads to the Eglise Notre-Dame de Nazareth, which has stunning roman columns. Inside there is an ornately decorated nave with a frieze depicting scenes from the bible.
Along the Alzon river right in the very heart of Vaucluse lays Carpentras and in its center, is the stunning Cathedrale Saint-Siffrein. This most flamboyant of religious buildings was built around the mid fourteenth century and has a most unusual south doorway, the Porte Juive or the Jew’s Gate. Carpentras also has a synagogue, which is one of the oldest in France which had full protection from the Pope during the persecution era. Carpentras is renowned for its excellent cuisine and the countryside provides an abundant amount of superb produce. Visitors can indulge in some delectable patisserie treats, and one of the best shops is the Maison Jouvaud.
The hilltop Medieval village of Venasque has one of the best locations in all of Vaucluse, as the area around the town is considered to be some of the most beautiful in the region. Its hilltop position afforded the town great protection through the centuries, and the Tours Romaines still exist as a testament to this. The grand towers were built to fend off the Saracens in a part of the village that was considered particularly vulnerable.
There are superb views of the Dentelles de Montmirail and the splendid Mont Ventoux from the towers as well as the stunning countryside that surrounds Venasque. Crammed with endless cherry orchards the picturesque vista is sublime. The Monts de Vanasque cherries are famous in the region for their beautiful sweet flavor, and whilst visiting the town be sure to sample some excellent cherry desserts. The Vaucluse area of Provence certainly offers some enchanting countryside and some perfect villages to visit and see. There is something for everybody in the Provence, historical towns and medieval relics with outstanding mountains to ski on. The cuisine is rustic and homely using the best local ingredients and for wine lovers there are some outstanding vintages to sample.