Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Provence: tourism & sightseeing
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The village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, between Orange and Avignon in the Vaucluse department of Provence, is best known for its wines but is also a charming village to explore.
France This Way comment: we were very pleasantly surprised by the picturesque little village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape which is very charming and has lovely views from the castle. Recommended as a chance to escape the bustle of Avignon!
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a small village and easy to explore: there is a main square at the bottom of the village and a single road that then leads up the hill to the ruins of the castle.
First take a look at the old fountain in the main square, called the "Grande Fontaine" and with four carved nymphs staring into the water. This fountain was the main source of water for the village from the 17th century onwards, and is supplied with water from a spring at several kilometres from here: in certain years when the water dried up the villagers had to use a spring much further down the hill, or even on occasion get water from the Rhone river.
You can now climb the hill, passing lots of interesting stone houses. Along the way you can follow several small cobbled streets, and visit various cafes and restaurants.
The most interesting of the properties is the imposing Town Hall, with a round clock tower to the side. The ground floor of this building was used as a school in the 19th century, and has also been used as a small prison for Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
At the top of the hill you approach an imposing castle, built by Pope John XXII when the Popes were in exile in Avignon in the early 14th century - as you might guess from the name of the village...
As soon as you reach the castle you discover it is rather less imposing than you expect: the main wall is almost all that remains of the castle after it was destroyed in the Wars of Religion, in the 16th century.
It is still worth the effort however: the ruins are quite evocative and from the castle in Chateauneuf-du-Pape you have exceptional views across Avignon, the Rhone and the vineyards that surround the village.
You will also find several shops where you can taste and buy the wines produced in the region. There are about 350 different domaines producing the wine that are allowed to use the appelation 'Chateauneuf-du-Pape'.
There is also a small Museum of Wine here that will explain to you the history of the local vineyards, starting from their planting by the same Pope John XXII as built the castle.
The principal towns near Chateauneuf-du-Pape are Avignon to the south, where you will want to explore the historic centre and see the Pope's Palace, and Orange to the north, where you can visit one of the best preserved theatres from the ancient Roman world to be found in Europe.
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Address: Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Orange-Ouest, Avignon, Vaucluse, Provence, 84230, France || GPS: latitude 44.0569444, longitude 4.8319444
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Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Jardin du château de Brantes: remarkable garden (6km)
- Orange Roman Theatre: heritage site (9km)
- Fort Saint-Andre: national monument (10km)
- Villeneuve-les-Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (11km)
- Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Repos de Montfavet (Avignon): religious monument (12km)
- Avignon Centre: heritage site (12km)
- Avignon: secteur sauvegarde (13km)
- Carpentras: town of art and history (17km)
- Pernes-les-Fontaines: recommended detour (19km)
- Seguret: most beautiful village (23km)
- Dentelles de Montmirail: site of natural beauty (23km)
- Jarditrain: remarkable garden (23km)
The French version of this page is at Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Francais)