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Secret South East France

Vaucluse, the heart of Roman France

Many of us dream of the blue skies and warm sunshine of the South of France with its guarantee of hot, sunny summers and pleasant winters. However, for many buyers the cost of property, the cost of living and the summer crowds do not quite provide the France they are dreaming of.

South East France

If you count yourselves amongst such people can I recommend the north Vaucluse and southern Drome Provençal. Although popular with the French, this area is little explored by the U.K property buyer. If you know the area, it is hard to understand why it has remained the ‘poor man’ of the south. The countryside is simply stunning, olive groves, lavender fields, mountains, gushing rivers, beautiful mellow stone medieval houses climbing up hillsides and always, blue skies and sunshine. Open air cafes and bars, bustling market towns and picturesque villages, the ever-present river Rhone, the splendour of Mont Ventoux combined with easy access from Marseille airport and the TGV at Avignon via the A7 makes this a ‘must’ to check out for anyone seriously thinking of buying a home in the South of France.

Vaison-la-Romaine is the principle town in northern Vaucluse and is the heart of Roman France. The archeological sites abound and the town itself is full of lovely shops, cafes and bars. There is also the beautiful river and the old Haute Ville with its winding streets, little shops and cafes and an abundance of trailing geraniums from every balcony. Despite all its pleasures, this town remains very French but for those looking for a more rural lifestyle in France there are numerous fascinating, medieval villages nestling in the foothills.

Nyons is the main town in southern Drome and is similarly a pretty riverside, market town famous for its black olives. Villages such as Dieulefit and Grignan have wonderful summer festivals, both for wine and olives, and from almost everywhere in this area you are in sight of ‘The Beast of Provence’ which is the name given to Mont Ventoux of Tour de France fame. Going to the top of this mountain is a unique experience and one that everyone needs to experience, whether by car or bike!

So if, like most of us, you are finding it hard to imagine quite where this little piece of French paradise is …… it is 1hr 20 mins by car from Marseille airport in a north north westerly direction, 55 mins north east of Avignon, and covers an area approximately 60km all around Vaison-la-Romaine, with the southernmost part only about an hour from the Mediterranean. Placed for ease of access from the U.K by car, plane or fast train, in the midst of the most stunningly beautiful countryside, yet making trips to the Mediterranean possible. This is indeed paradise.

There are all types of properties available, from small French village houses to the most luxurious homes, and such properties, further south would be considerably more expensive. Just looking at the photos of houses in this area makes me feel as though I am there, enjoying the smells of lavender, the sound of the cicadas and the warmth of the sun!

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