Circuit routier - Les villages médiévaux de la Provence des Papes BOLLèNE

Bollène was once one of the richest possessions of the Popes in Avignon. There are many interesting vestiges of its past - the narrow winding streets, the rampart boulevards ringed with plane trees, the old houses with beautiful doors.

- St Martin Collegiate Church, the old parish church from the 12th and 14th centuries, with a massive belltower and the Renaissance portal. Magnificent view over the old city and the Rhone Valley from the the apse.
- The troglodyte village - Le Barry - with houses built into the rock. Families lived here until the early 20th century. Accessible on foot.

From Bollène, take the D26 to Mondragon then the N 7 to Mornas.

- The fortress which continues to overlook the Rhone valley from atop the cliff. Medieval animations where you are welcomed by the Lord of the manor, and surounded by costumed inhabitants, taking you back to the 13th century ! Every day from 10 am to 7 pm. 4 times a day in summer: 11 /2:30/3:30/5 pm).

Take the N7 to Piolenc then the D172 to Sérignan du Comtat.

- The home of the famous entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre "l'Harmas": botanical garden, desk, showcases with Fabre's collections of insects, shells, fossils, minerals. Watercolors of mushrooms. Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and afternoons on Saturday and Sunday.

Possibility of visiting Courthézon:
Courthézon has an impressive circle of ramparts - fortifications which were built in the 12th century. Lovely lighting enhances them in the evening - the stones are full of the ghosts of the past. Four entrance gates through the ramparts, from the same era, are in excellent condition. There is "La Porte Auzouze - La Porte Belle croix - La Porte du Prince, which leads to the watchman's walk along the ramparts, with stunning views of the city. 12th-century church (nave and belltower).

Then, take the D976 then the D117 through the villages of Sainte Cécile les Vignes, Cairanne, Rasteau and Roaix, all famous for their wines. Lots of cellars on the way - stop in, taste the Côtes du Rhône.

Reach Vaison la Romaine.
The city is famous for its Roman ruins, and for its medieval upper city, built in the 13th and 14th centuries. A marvel. Also see the old ND de Nazareth cathedral.

- the Upper City, which you enter through a fortified 14th-century entrance. Winding cobblestone streets, squares and fountains, the belfry with a wrought iron campanile, old stone homes.
- Notre Dame de Nazareth cathedral, Provencal Romanesque architecture from the 11th and 12th centuries. Lovely cloister.

From Vaison take the D975 then the D20 to reach the Papal Enclave, land which is redoelnt of truffles, lavender and good wine. Original, and geographically one of its kind in France, for the four villages, which are enclosed in the county of Drome, are part of Vaucluse. Four lovely villages: Grillon, Valréas, Visan and Richerenches - famous for the "Truffle Mass", and for its past marked by the presence of the Knights Templar and the Avignon Popes.

- In Visan: the old village, well-restored, with city mansions and 17th-century church with a campanile.
- Richerenches: one of the biggest and oldest Knights Templar commanderies in Provence. The village has grown up since the 12th century inside the Templar fortress. Town walk with information signs.
- Valréas: the historical city center, lined with plane trees where the ramparts once stood. Tivoli Tower, 11th century Notre Dame Nazareth Romanesque church, 16th century organs, 18th-century Château de Simiane, now the town hall, interesting museum on the cardboard and printing industry (closed on Tuesday).

Also see:
- 12th and 13th century Ripert Tower, 16th century Pénitents Blancs chapel.
- Grillon: vestiges of the medieval village (Vialle) with the 12th century ramparts.

Take the D976 to Visan and go back to Bollène, passing through Suze la Rousse.

Adress / Contact

84500 Bollène


Longitude: 4.759828
Latitude: 44.28853