The oldest wine producing region of France, Provence covers the inland area north of Marseille and stretching eastwards beyond Toulon to Fréjus. The inland areas are very beautiful to visit although travel inland from coastal areas can be very slow going in the peak holiday months.
Great Provence wines
The best wines come from the region between Fréjus, Draguignan and Toulon, as well as around Bandol – these wines are classified AOC.
Our favourite Provence wines
Although we think that a lot of Provence wine doesn’t measure up to the standards achieved elsewhere in France, there are some jewels to be found in the area.
We rate the distinctive Côte du Lubéron highly, whilst Côtes de Provence, Coteaux des Baux-en-Provence, Côtes du Ventoux are all quite drinkable.
Visits to Vineyards and Museums
There is a wine route in the Côtes de Provence which has a very attractive route. Also there is a very beautiful tourist route in the wine growing area of Bandol.
A vineyard worth a visit: Château Sainte Roseline. Exit no 36 on Aix/Nice autoroute (A8). Head towards Draguinan for 3.4km before turning left at the roundabout. Vineyard is 800m on right with parking opposite. This vineyard is in a lovely setting and has a good selection of Provence wine including some rather pleasant ones, even if they are a tad expensive.
Just north of the Camargue there is another delightful vineyard – Mas Ste Berthe. This is situated off the D27 about 2km south of Les Baux-de-Provence. There is an excellent walk through a vineyard with plentiful signs explaining the stages and season of viticulture (situated in the shadow of Les Baux, an ancient fortress on a rocky outcrop in Les Alpilles). The children really enjoyed this visit – there is lots to see and coupled with a visit to Maussane-les-Alpilles in the morning this provided a fun and in-expensive day out.
Another splendid visit is to the Château de Berne just north of Lorgues, 13km SW of Draguignan. Situated in a clearing in the middle of a massive pine forest the château not only produces wine, but also offers residential courses in art and activities. You will often find musical entertainment laid on as well.
Our favourite food and wine in France: