12 Must-See Towns and Villages in the Drôme

 
12 Must-See Towns and Villages in the Drôme

Travelling to the Drôme? Here’s our choice of gorgeous villages and towns to add to your itinerary. Note: This article is part of a bigger magazine feature called “Welcome to the Pleasure Drôme.”

AUTICHAMPS

With a population of just 146, it doesn’t take long to explore this tiny, perched village, but its charm will linger. Enjoy the terraced gardens, now vegetable plots, created during the Renaissance and listen for the church tower bell, rung daily at midday. www.ladrometourisme.com

DIE

The town of Die overlooks the River Drôme and is within the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors. It gives its name to the sparkling wine, Clairette de Die, which is produced from the 1,500 hectares of vines in the area. Die is full of charming alleyways to explore. www.diois-tourisme.com

NYONS

This medieval town, in the south of the Drôme, is Provençal in flavour, and renowned for its olive groves, plus lavender, honey and Picodon cheese. Look out for town festivals including the Alicoque in February, which welcomes the new olive oil. www.baronnies-tourisme.com

BEAUFORT-SUR-GERVANNE

The 14th-century battlements are the place from which to view magnificent scenery of the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors. Look out for the narrow, arched passageways, too and, take a stroll down to the River Gervanne; it’s a popular wild swimming spot. www.ladrometourisme.com

GRIGNAN

Grignan is known for its dominating château and for Colophon, a museum of typography with literature and writing workshops and a second-hand bookshop. The town is filled with charming stone houses and a plethora of Michelin-starred restaurants. www.grignanvalreas-tourisme.com

ROMANS-SUR-ISÈRE

On the banks of the River Isère, Romans is a chic town with a historic quarter to enjoy a wander. Highlights include the Collégiale Saint-Barnard and la Place aux Herbes, and the Musée de la Chaussure in the former Convent of the Visitation. www.valence-romans-tourisme.com

CHÂTEAUNEUF-DE-MAZENC

This perched village, tucked into a rocky spur overlooking La Bégude-de-Mazenc, is regarded as one of the most historically important villages in the area. A former stronghold of the Knights Templar, it has been lovingly restored. www.ladrometourisme.com

MIRMANDE

Climb the hill in this Plus Beau Village for superlative views over fruit orchards and beyond to the hills of the Ardèche. Mirmande is renowned for its creative side, with artists’, potters’ and mixed-media artists’ studios lining the village streets. valdeladrome-tourisme.com

SUZE-LA-ROUSSE

Suze-la-Rousse, in the far southwest of the Drôme, is dominated by its medieval fortress which commands outstanding views over the rooftops. The château is open to the public and includes a museum dedicated to wine-growing in the region. www.chateaux-ladrome.fr

CREST

You cannot miss Crest – or at least La Tour de Crest, which stands 52m tall above the town. Much of the town rests on a hillside overlooking the River Drôme and is an important trading post, with a large market held every Saturday morning. www.payscrestsaillanstourisme.com

MONTÉLIMAR

The nougat capital of France is home to plenty of sweet shops where you can enjoy a sample. Visit the Saint-Martin Contemporary Art Museum and the cultural hub of Saint-Martin, then head back through time to the Château des Adhémar. www.montelimar-tourisme.com

VALENCE

The prefecture of the Drôme, Valence sits on the River Rhône. Parc Jouvet is the place for a leisurely stroll or enjoy the pedestrianised streets in the old town. The 11th-century Cathédrale Saint-Apollinaire de Valence is one of its oldest buildings. www.valence-romans-tourisme.com

From France Today magazine

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Caroline is a freelance writer with a focus on European travel. She has toured all areas of France, but none more so than the Loire Valley where she finds the combination of rich historical culture, rural landscape and exceptional architecture - not to mention outstanding wine - an irresistible lure to return again and again. Says Caroline, "With the focus over the next three years on the Loire Valley's connection to Leonardo da Vinci, lovers of art, architecture and French culture are in for a treat when visiting the region with the many additional events and activities on offer." Caroline is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers.