Last year we were asked to propose an outline for a short wine tour in the southern Rhône Valley. This is an area we know well and like – and it is a great area for a wine enthusiast, as the region offers a really good selection of wines from quite a small area, including stunning reds; some of the best rosés; dry, medium and dessert white wines. Plus there is plenty to offer besides wine – rich Provencal food (especially olives and olive oil) and markets, history, great landscapes and the source of inspiration for many artists.
We based the tour on the small town of St Remy de Provence (13 Bouches-du-Rhône, Provence), about 15 miles south of Avignon. I like Avignon, but St Remy offers a more intimate experience in a delightful small Provencal town (great market on Wednesdays), strong connections to Van Gogh and to bull-running through the streets!!
There are a number of reasonable hotels and a good selection of restaurants within walking distance. Although there are more stylish and pricey hotels around St Remy, we chose to be within walking distance of the town and the itinerary usually means that the hotel is essentially just for washing and sleeping rather than indulgence. Choose a different restaurant every night!
Two hotels in the town which are reasonable for a few nights are the Logis de France AUBERGE DE LA REINE JEANNE on boulevard Mirabeau – with courtyard restaurant – and the Hotel du Cheval Blanc in avenue Fauconnet – no restaurant and a little basic, but clean, comfortable and cheery.
St Remy is ideally positioned for this wine tour – a few miles south lies Les Baux de Provence, to the west is the Camargue and Costieres de Nimes AC, to the east lies Cavaillon (for its melons) and north of there you access the best of the southern Rhône – Côtes du Rhône, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac, Tavel, Beaumes-de-Venise to name but a few.
Getting there is easy – just about 15 minutes from the futuristic Avignon TGV station (under 150 minutes from Paris on some services) – about 50 minutes from Marseilles Airport at Marignane, 30 minutes from Nimes, about 1.5 hours from Montpellier and only 2.5 hours from Nice
Auberge de la Reinne Jeanne12, boulevard Mirabeau, 13210 Saint Remy-de-Provence; T: 04.90.92.15.33; F:04.90.92.49.65
L’Hôtel du Cheval Blanc 6 avenue Fauconnet, 13210 Saint Rémy de Provence T: 04 90 92 09 28; F: 04 90 92 69 05
More on the wine tour of the southern Rhône:-
A southern Rhone wine tour – Tour 1 – Les Baux de Provence
A southern Rhone wine tour -Tour 2 – Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Beaumes-de-Venise, Cairanne and the Côtes du Rhône
A southern Rhone wine tour – Tour 3 – Lirac, Tavel and Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Rhone Renaissance by Hugh Johnson on the exciting developments in Rhone wines.
Rhone (Touring Wine Country) by Hubert Duijker
Markets of Provence
Provence Green Guide (Michelin Green Guides)