Lavender farms, waterfalls, vineyards and botanical gardens… welcome to a nature lover’s paradise
FOLLOW A LAVENDER TRAIL
One thing you simply must do in the Drôme is to just pause a moment and enjoy the sight of a lavender field rippling in the breeze, while drinking in the scent of the flowers. The tourist office has a handy leaflet with suggestions or visit www.ladrometourisme.com. If you would like to get more closely acquainted with lavender, you can learn all about it in the museum and workshop of Distillerie Bleu Provence. They also run a session for children where little ones can make their own lavender soap.
EXPLORE THE NATURAL PARKS
For lovers of nature, the Drôme takes in two protected natural parks: the Parc naturel régional du Vercors and the Parc naturel régional des Baronnies Provençales. Both rich in fauna and flora, the former is also a potholers’ paradise while the latter is notable for its night skies due to the lack of light pollution.
With an altitude culminating at 1,589m, the perched syncline of Saoû is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world. Covered by a forest of over 2,500 hectares, it is also home to many animal species and a rare diversity of plants.
SPOT THE VULTURES
For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, head to the heart of the Baronnies Provençales to see the vultures of Rémuzat. These majestic raptors can be a little shy at first but will usually come close enough for you to feel you can almost touch them.
VISIT THE CHÂTEAUX
The Drôme is blessed with four fantastic castles, all very different from one another: the Château de Grignan, the Château de Suze-la-Rousse, the Château des Adhémar and the medieval keep at Crest. They’re all well worth a visit. For full details head to www.ladrometourisme.com
Fancy finding out more about the harvesting and application of medicinal plants? In the Haut-Diois, an outstanding area for plant diversity, a three-day course will introduce you to every aspect of this fascinating subject.
Offering remarkable biodiversity, the Drôme river traverses some of the most beautiful landscapes in the area. And what better way to enjoy it all than by canoe or on a raft? Participants must be able to swim and there are also age restrictions in place.
SEE A WONDERFUL WATERFALL
At an impressive 72m high, the Chute de la Druise is, without doubt, one of the most stunning waterfalls in the Drôme – if not in the whole country. The best time to visit is in the spring when the waterfall is normally in full flow.
TASTE (AND BUY) WINE
Famed for its fine wines, the vineyards of the Drôme span the whole département. A spot of wine tasting– and buying – is therefore a must. We very much enjoyed our visits to Maison M. Chapoutier and Caveau des Vignerons Grignan-les-Adhémar, but there are countless other places to try as well.
TOUR A BOTANICAL GARDEN
Best known for being one of ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages de France’, La Garde-Adhémar is also home to a charming botanical garden – which has the official certification of a ‘Jardin Remarquable’. Breathe in the scent of sage, lavender, geraniums and more and watch out for the amazing butterflies. And as an added bonus, entry is free!
SWIM IN CRYSTAL WATERS
For those who fancy a spot of wild swimming, options include the Drôme river, the Roanne and the Gorges du Toulourenc. At the latter, you can walk several kilometres through the water, making for a unique experience.
From France Today magazine