The Loire region is known for its castles, but there are also many castles in the Provence. There are no fewer than 600 castles in the Drôme. In the immediate vicinity of Le Rêve Provençal you will find many castles, not only in the Drôme, but also in the nearby Vaucluse. More information about these castles in this blog. Castles are of course great fun to visit with children. A number of castles even have activities specifically aimed at children. You can of course read more about those activities on this page. At the bottom of the page you will find a handy map on which all castles from this blog and Le Rêve Provençal are displayed.
The castle of Aulan is located at the beginning of the Gorges de Toulourenc. It is the only private castle in the Drôme that can be visited! You will even be guided by one of the descendants of the Suarez d’Aulan family, the owners of the castle. This family has owned the castle since 1635 and still lives in the castle.
Château de Suze-la-Rousse
The castle of Suze-la-Rousse has a Dutch origins. The castle was once owned by the van Oranje (Orange) family, ancestors of the current Dutch royal family. Until Tilburge van Orange married Bertrand 1er des Baux in 1173 and it therefore came into the hands of the Baux family.
During a visit of the castle museum, you will not only learn about the history of the castle, but also about the viticulture in the area around this castle. The castle also houses the l’Université du Vin, which is a wine university.
Curious about what to expect from a visit to the castle of Suze-la-Rousse? Then watch the video below.
Château de Grignan
Whenever we drove to Le Rêve Provençal from our previous home, we passed the castle of Grignan and I would think: we are almost home. The castle – surrounded by lavender fields – is imposingly situated on top of a rock in the pleasant village of Grignan.
Many French know the castle through the correspondence between a socialite from Paris – Madame de Sévigné – and her daughter who was the Countess of Grignan. Information in English is available to make your visit even more enjoyable.
Tip: combine a visit to the castle of Grignan with the lovely Provencal market that takes place in the village on Tuesday morning. On our website you will also find an overview of the markets near our accommodation.
A nice video of the castle of Grignan:
Château de Barroux
The castle of Barroux is also beautifully situated. It is a sturdy castle, which, just like the surrounding village, rises above the landscape. From the castle there is a beautiful view of the Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. During the visit you will be the guest of the Vayson de Pradenne family, who have owned the castle since 1929. Many castles in Provence are private property and therefore often not open to the public.
What makes a visit to this castle really special is that whiskey is distilled in this castle. The owners, Fanny and Jean-Baptiste give guided tours where you can also taste their whiskey. Take-away test bottles are available for the those having to drive a car after the visit. Incidentally, the castle also has a salon de thé, where you can enjoy home-made delicacies in addition to tea and coffee.
Palais des Papes Avignon
A long time ago I visited this Popes Palace in Avignon. In my memory the visit was really interesting. Not only the wealth of the then Popes, but also the changing room of the Pope. Not to mention the enormous size of the building. It is now the largest building built in the Gothic period! It took 20 years to build.
There are more than 25 rooms that can be visited and the view from the roof terrace is “magnifique”. You have a view of the rest of the palace, the city of Avignon and the Rhone valley. The visits are interactive, each visitor gets his own tablet with different tours on it. There is even a digital treasure hunt for children! Watch the video below to get an impression of such a visit.
The castle of Entrechaux – or rather, the ruins of the castle of Entrechaux – has a very strategic location, high above the valleys of the Ouvèze and the Toulourenc rivers. Little was left of the castle due to the sale of stones by the municipality and vandalism by residents of the village. They regarded the castle as a… quarry.
Nevertheless, the castle can be visited. The current owner gives guided tours and then tells about the restoration work of this historic building.
Château de Adhémars in Montélimar
Between snacking on the local delicacy – nougat – you can visit the Adhémars Castle. A small castle with changing modern art exhibitions and a nice view from the castle wall. The castle dates from the 12th century and is located where the centre of the city used to be.
The castle is very nice to visit with children. Various routes have been set out, where the history of the castle is brought to the attention in a playful way. A fun, interactive way to visit a castle!
Château de Poët-Celard
A completely restored castle on a hilltop above the village of Poët-Celard near Dieulefit. There is a hotel, but for all visitors there is a pleasant bar-restaurant with panoramic view.
This castle is also great fun when you are on holiday with children. Children can do the Eureka workshop. While playing, children are introduced to mechanical and construction principles. After the workshop, children will see these principles again during a visit to the castle. The documentation for the workshop is also available in English. Information is available in English at several castles in the Provence. Sometimes the translation is very good, sometimes not so good to the point of being hilarious.
Château des Hospatiliers de Poët-Laval
The village of Poët-Lavel has the label Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (most beautiful villages in France) and is well worth a visit. It was Maltese knights who built a tower here in the 12th century. This attracted people and a village arose and city walls were built. Little by little the castle came into being. Since the restoration in 1996, the castle can be visited.
Guided tours and concerts are often organised. Up-to-date information can be found on the castle’s Facebook page.
Map with castles in the Provence
Below the map with Le Rêve Provençal and the castles mentioned in this blog about castles in the Provence.