It is Wednesday and that can only mean one thing, it is time for another Wanderlust dreamy post and today the lovely Laura from Laura Dova Weddings is our guide to exploring Montelimar, France. If you have missed out on any of the wanderlust series during the busy summer season, they don’t forget to check up here.
Exploring Montelimar, France
Montélimar is a commune in the Drôme Provençale department in southeastern France.
Montélimar is widely regarded as the world capital of nougat. The local nougat is one of the 13 desserts of Provence and highly appreciated throughout the country. You can buy nougat de Montélimar on your way to the south of France (or when returning) as the city is next to the Rhône and to the primary route N7.
In fact the region of Montélimar is very accessible by various way. The first one is by train from Paris, it takes for about 3 hours with the TGV. If you’re coming by plane you can either land in Lyon or in Marseilles they both are 1h30 away by car.
Things to do in Montélimar Region
Since the 17th century, Montélimar has been famous the world over for its nougat, when the first almond trees were introduced into the region by Olivier de Serre and the first harvest led to the development of nougat production.
The first nougat factory was built in Montélimar in 1770 and since then, the authentic nougat has been very popular in the whole country.
The typical French nougat candy can be “black” (nougat noir) or white, soft or crunchy. The soft nougat consists in small tender cubes with almonds and pieces of pistachio whilst the crunchy almond nougat is definitely hard and candies are generally wrapped individually.
You can visit nougat factory in Montélimar where you can learn all there is to know about nougat – from the traditional methods of production in copper cauldrons and ending with sampling this delightful tasty confectionery.
Lavender fields picnic
Montélimar is surrounded by hillside villages, overlooking the fertile plains and valleys that offer rich and varied scenery as well as local history. Whether interested in nature, art or architecture, you will find it all here.
But from mid-June to the end of July, inhale the perfume of the beautiful blue, mauve or violet lavender. Just outside Montélimar you can find amazing and endless lavender fields. Don’t hesitate to contact an office tourism to do a tour and have the chance of having a picnic in the middle of this violet sea.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Montelimar the 9th and 10th July 2016 you’ll assist to the “Montelimar couleur lavande” which literally means “Montélimar – shades of lavender”.
With “Montélimar – shades of lavender” and its market of local flavours and lavender scents, you will be able to discover many exhibitions of works as well as products made with lavender and its by-products: lavender, dried flower bouquets, essential oils, lavender honey, nougat, ceramics, wickerwork, material, lavender blue figurines, perfumed soaps and candles, paintings or pictures with lavender landscapes, lavender sorbet, cordial and drinks…
Perched on the hills which overlook the Rhône Valley, or the plain of the Valdaine, the hill-top villages bear living witness their heritage.
My favourite? A village called Le Poet-Laval. It is listed among the “most beautiful villages in France”. Running down the side of a hill and surrounded by woodlands and the lavender fields that are typical of the region, Le Poet-Laval is a very picturesque small village in a scenic setting.
No cars are allowed to enter the village, so you will need to park the car just below the village and explore on foot.
The village itself has many small features of interest that you will discover as you explore, such as small terraces with far-reaching views, ancient wells and many picturesque old buildings, and parts of the original defensive walls. Many of the houses date back to the 16th century, a time of prosperity for Le Poet Laval.
Must see – the castle and the St Jean des Commandeurs Chapel.
You are a keen on French cheese? Or saucisson ? Every day there’s a different market in a different village. If you’re there on a Firday you have to go the the market of the lovely village of Dieulefit. Their markets invite you to experience the local gourmet pleasures: Picocdon, meat, fish, vegetables and fruits but also pottery, flowers, clothes, books, fabrics, etc.
If you are a truffle lovers from November to end of February every Sunday a truffles market is happening in two villages in the Montélimar region. Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux and Taulignan.
Make sure you get the list of the market’s days for every village here.
Snapshot of Exploring Montelimar, France