With Caromb on your doorstep,
here is no real need to stray very far from the pool and the courtyard garden at Le Mas du Moulin, especially with the views over the countryside as well. The village boulangerie supplies the fresh croissants for breakfast, the open air market on a Tuesday morning will provide the fresh salad, goats cheese and olives for a light lunch, and dinner can be found at one of the lovely restaurants in the village, all walking distance so you don't need to worrying whose turn it is to drive home!
Have dinner at the Auberge in the main square of Caromb
- quite a formal restaurant but popular. No need to worry about who is driving as it is just a short stroll back to Mas du Moulin.
Visit the nearby village of Le Barroux (3km)
- you will spot its imposing chateau that dominates the skyline. You can look around the castle, and the village itself has a lovely auberge and a salon du thé for tea and coffee in the afternoon.
Carry on from Le Barroux into the Dentelles de Montmirail,
the wonderful craggy limestone peaks that look like lace. Head for Suzette which boasts wonderful views. The café there has a lovely panoramic terrace and serves nice salads in the summer. The information panel in the car park details colour coded walking routes through the vineyards if you feel inclined for a walk.
Vaison La Romaine, to the north,
has something for everyone in the group. Roman ruins, pretty cobbled streets leading up to a medieval castle, shops, and a great market every Tuesday morning which takes over the whole town. In addition, many festivals are held here from music and dance in July and August, to the 'Soup Festival' in October - a competition between the local villages to make the best/most unusual soup.
Book a table at L'Hostellerie de Crillon le Brave,
in the village of the same name, and you wont be disappointed. This lovely hotel has a renowned restaurant, simply called 'Le Restaurant' serving fine Provençal cuisine. During the summer months, dinner is served on the terrace where the view over the vineyards to Mont Ventoux is a fitting backdrop to dinner. Reservations necessary.
On the hillside overlooking the road between Vacqueyras
and Beaumes de Venise, there is a small church called Notre Dame d'Aubune. Its bell tower is a lovely example of 9th century Romanesque art. Take the time to enjoy a walk on the path over the hill behind the chapel or, occasionally concerts take place in the church itself. Enquire at the Tourist Office in Beaumes de Venise for further details.
A trip to L'Isle sur la Sorgue is a must on a Sunday morning.
Known as the 'Venice of Provence' for all the little canals that run through the town, it is also the largest antique centre after Paris with lots and lots of antique shops. Each Sunday morning there is a huge open air market with stalls of fruit, veg, Provencal goods, paintings, antiques, 'brocante'- a fantastic melting pot of sounds, scents and textures.
Take the children to Pernes Les Fontaines
to count the fountains. There are 40 in total dotted around the village. To help you, the town's tourist office has printed a map on which they are all marked.
A must-do on any list is a trip to Avignon,
the capital of the Vaucluse. Head for the car park called 'Parking Palais des Papes'. This underground car park is underneath the Palais des Papes square and so when you surface, you greeted with an awe inspiring view of the Palais itself.
Take the children to the llama farm,
yes llamas in Provence, which is near Le Barroux, on the road to Lac du Paty.
For a slight change in scenery,
go to St Rémy de Provence (1hr drive), at the bottom of the Alpilles hills. A chic and pretty town, for a time, it was once home to Van Gogh. Follow the self-guided walking trail around the town - 21 signposts are dotted around the town, each with a reproduction of one of his paintings and an explanation in French and English.
Les Baux de Provence, due south of St Rémy de Provence,
is an amazing ruin of a castle atop a huge rock. The village clings to the rock side and streets lead up to the plateau with the ruins. It is worth paying for the audio guide around the castle as it is truly fascinating. However, make sure you either go early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the tour coaches, of which there are plenty.
If you don't mind winding, twisting roads
and love impressive scenery, then follow the D942 through the Gorges de la Nesque and see the 985 ft high Rocher du Cire. Carry on and you will end up at Sault, the home of lavender!
Carpentras, one of the main towns in the area,
has a lovely main square with cafes, lots of shops to choose from, and a great market on Friday mornings which takes over the whole town.
In Avignon, walk on the St Bénezet Bridge,
made famous in the children's song 'Sur le pont d'Avignon' (On the bridge of Avignon).
Whilst in Avignon, take the 'Petit Train',
the little white train that takes you around Avignon, which the children will love, or go on a boat trip along the River Rhône to give you a different view of this beautiful city.
For the wine lovers amongst you,
stop at any of the tourist offices and pick up the leaflets entitled Route des Vins. There are various colour coded routes - the turquoise, purple and lilac routes are the closest to Mas du Moulin - each covering a slightly different area. Follow the map and the signs on the road, and you will discover the many 'domaines' around, all offering wine tastings. BUT make sure you have one designated driver - French laws about drink driving are as strict, if not stricter, than ours!
Visit the Luberon valley,
home to vineyards and very chic and pretty stone villages such as Gordes, Ménerbes, Roussillon, Lourmarin, - the setting for many of the chapters in that famous book by Peter Mayle, 'A Year in Provence'.
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