Where to stay and what (else) to do in France
Having spent so much time in the Southern Rhône over the years, we probably know the region better than the UK! As well as dozens of wineries we could recommend (and some we would suggest you avoid), we have found some delightful places to eat and, also, places to stay. This page is dedicated to this last category.
We have two recommendations, both with something different to offer.
Venasque - (pictured left) this is a stunning house in a sleepy, picture-postcard village steeped in history, perched on a rock. The private accommodation sleeps 8 (with the possibility of 2 more) and boasts a private pool. The village is well catered for in terms of restaurants and a small shop as well as the inevitable boulangerie and other facilities. Only 30 minutes from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, there is much to do here. Moreover, you can book this accommodation through BRW at substantially reduced rates.
Mazan: The Auberge du Vin - owned by Linda Field and Chris Hunt who, like us, have been visiting the area for years then recently decided to take the plunge and move to this beautifully restored farmhouse between Mazan and Carpentras. There is accommodation in the main house (can be B&B) and a self-contained cottage available for weekly lets. Mazan is quite a busy village a stone's throw from the bustling town of Carpentras. Linda and Chris are on hand to make your holiday perfect (or, if you prefer, they will fade into the background). If you want to learn more about the local wines and feel you would benefit from some help, Linda is a WSET teacher and knows lots of good pit stops in the area.
Mas de Flory John and Aileen Despard run cycling holidays around Puy l'Eveque in the middle of the Lot Valley. With them you can visit Chateau du Cedre and Chateau Haut-Monplaisir is not far away. A day trip to Soturac to visit Chateau Lamartine is also worthwhile and don't forget to take in the stunning medieval Chateau de Bonaguil (no wine there though!)
Arcobaleno is a friendly and comfortable family home with two B&B or self-catering apartments offering stunning views across to Alba. The village of Diano d'Alba is half a mile up a fairly steep hill but the village trattoria is worth the climb - tasty food at prices so cheap there's no point cooking yourself! A decent wine list too.
You must be aged 18 or over to purchase wine.