From arts to architecture and food to music, there is something for everyone in this stunning département
Related article: Vaucluse, The Beating Heart of Provence
See how this deeply-Provençal delicacy, a favourite of the Avignon popes, has been made for 600 years, with tours and, of course, tastings.
A UNESCO-listed patrimoine vivant (living heritage), this beautiful marbled ceramic ware, made from the colourful clays found near Roussillon and around Apt, dates back to the early 18th century. Listed artisans working in the area today include: Christine Jouval-Marcel ; Pascale Mestre: and Yvonne Rigo. Visit their websites for details on when you can visit their studios and see them at work.
If you want to tour the top vineyards and taste the finest wines of the region, Inter Rhône is the place to go in the Vaucluse. At their elegant Avignon offices you can find everything from maps to detailed listings and events programmes. Their professional wine school can tailor classes specifically for you or you can choose from a programme of dozens of sessions, including tastings, with teachers from France’s top wine school, the Université du Vin in Suze-la-Rousse.
Stop in for all the up-to-date information on what’s happening in Avignon and the Vaucluse, as well as guides to the Route des Sauveurs, Route du Vin and much more.41 Cours Jean Jaurès.
Hotel La Mirande, just a stone’s throw from the Palais des Papes in Avignon, claims “you cannot come closer to the life of a French nobleman in the age of Enlightenment”. While you’re enjoying a spot of time-travelling, why not indulge in the hotel’s fun and informative cooking classes, taught by the top chefs of Provence in the hotel’s fabulous 19th-century kitchen?
Classes end with a meal accompanied with wines specially chosen by the hotel sommelier.
Stock up on an eye-popping array of food, wine and everything Provençal, from olives, cheeses and bread to pastries, local fruits and vegetables. Or slurp down an oyster and enjoy a drink at one of the bars. And on Saturday mornings, local chefs showcase their skills using local produce from Les Halles.
Musée de la Lavande
A 10-minute drive from Gordes, the Musée de la Lavande is the best museum for discovering how lavender essential oil has been made for centuries. While you’re there, be sure to stock up on their excellent lavender-based skin-care products for women, men and kids at the boutique. The museum hosts a wonderful series of classes and even tours of their farms and the region.
Les Agnels Lavender and Aromatic Plant Distillery
For five generations a top distiller in Provence, Les Agnels will allow you to discover the authentic, age-old distillation process for lavender and other plants and learn about all of their uses, from perfume to medicine.
Based here since 1808, when the Napoleonic Wars saw the wool trade booming, these days, visitors can follow the process for making the company’s de luxe products in cashmere, yak, merino and more. The boutique stocks the mill’s gorgeous bedding, throws and scarves – some at discount prices – usually found only in Paris’ upmarket shops.
Expect wonderfully imaginative art shows at this contemporary sculpture foundation in the centre of town with lovely gardens on the Sorgue River.
Not to be missed, this is Provence’s most-anticipated and best-loved wine event, held in front of the beautiful Palais des Papes. Visitors can indulge in free or minimally-priced tastings of top vintages presented by the winemakers from all around the Vaucluse and Rhône Valley. (Keep an eye on the website for 2021 dates).
One of Europe’s largest and most respected theatre festivals, with 1,000 performances per day, draws theatre and performance lovers from around the world. With music, performance art, and stand-up and much more. Festival Off is the avant-garde edition.
What could be more atmospheric than listening to the jazz greats in the stunning floodlit settings of Avignon’s old city? Its 30th edition is in 2021.
For more than 10 years this outdoor festival has featured world-class theatre, opera and dance for two weeks at the end of July in the surrounds of the château and the ancient quarry.
From France Today magazine