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Charming Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Post by Sharat | January 7, 2018 | See France Destination Guides | Comment
Charming Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a small village that is located in between Avignon and Orange in Provence. The village has a reputation for producing some fabulous wines and it is also very charming so if you have time try and check it out. The village itself is quite small so this means it is very easy to explore. At the bottom of the village lies the main square from where the road up to the ruins of the castle leads.

The fountain

When you visit, your first stop should be at the old fountain located in the main square that is aptly named Grande Fontaine. There are four carved nymphs that are positioned to be permanently looking into the water. The fountain itself serves an important function, acting as the village’s main source of water since the 17th century. The fountain draws water from a spring that is located a few kilometres away and there have been years when the fountain dried up, forcing villagers to visit the spring much further down the hill and if that too was dry, then they had on occasion to get their water from the Rhone river.

Climb the hill

You should climb the hill where you will pass by a number of fascinating houses that have been constructed from stone. As you climb you should follow the cobbled streets and drop in at one of the several cafes and restaurants along away. The most interesting tourist attraction is the Town Hall which is an imposing building that was constructed with a round clock tower on its side. During the 19th century the buildings ground floor functioned as a school and on some occasions, was even used as a small prison!

The castle

When you get to the top of the hills you will approach a castle that is also an imposing structure that was built by Pope John XXII when the Popes were forced into exile and had to live in Avignon at the start of the 14th century. When you get to the castle you will find it is not as intimidating as you would expect. The main wall is virtually the only thing that remains of the building after it was destroyed in the 16th century during the Wars of Religion.It is still really worth making the effort to visit the castle because its ruins are extremely evocative.

Try the wine

As you would expect, from the location of the ruins which sit at the top of the hill, there are some spectacular views across Avignon, the Rhone and surrounding vineyards. There are also a number of shops where you can taste and purchase some of the wines that are made in the region. There are approximately 350 different wines that are permitted to use the appellation Chateauneuf-du-Pape. You can even visit the Museum of Wine which provides a thorough explanation of the history of local vineyards beginning with their planting by the very Pope who built the castle. All in all, this is a charming little village that is well worth the visit.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape by Robert Lihou, on Flickr

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