Sicht von der historischen Grotte in Montcauds Park, Hotel Provence

Insider tips from Château de Montcaud (Part 2)

Head chef Matthieu Hervé likes relaxing on the beach, our marketing manager Bertille Saudrais-Petit has a sweet tooth – these secrets are the kind of secrets and more that we revealed in our last blog, the first in our series on the “Insider tips from Château de Montcaud”. In preparation, we asked our employees a few questions: where would you like to go today? What is the ideal day trip during a stay at Château de Montcaud? What top tip do you give our guests? The results were far-reaching. So below is Part 2 with more exciting ideas for your day trips around Château de Montcaud.

At your service

On our website you will also find a whole range of possible activities in and around our little oasis in the Cèze Valley. Our concierge Julien and the reception team are at your disposal for further suggestions, as well as reserving entrance tickets, printing out hiking maps or providing you with daily information.

Hidden but accessible: the Grotte de la Salamandre

Our wonderful region can also be discovered underground: world-famous caves and grottos with prehistoric cave paintings or dripstone caves with impressive stalactites and stalagmites, underground watercourses and even lakes, cave shafts into which you can descend. The list of accessible caves in visitor-friendly proximity to the castle is long. 

Close encounters with local fauna

We would like to recommend our favourite cave: the “Grotte de la Salamandre“. Named after the first encounter in the cave, it is home to a growing colony of currently 51 bats in winter. They enjoy complete privacy for their hibernation, as the cave must then close for the public

Hugely impressive, inside and out

The Grotte de la Salamandre will impress you with its main hall, which is the size of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Inside, no less impressive, are stalactites, stalagmites and rock formations – each with a story to tell. Incidentally, the area around the grotto is also beautiful. After a snack on the terrace with a view over the valley, you can go for a short hike or refresh yourself in the Cèze, depending on the temperature of the day.

Top tip: Keep an eye on the latest news

The team around the Grotte de la Salamandre is wonderfully innovative. Be sure to check the events calendar: there are concerts in the grotto, special guided tours, the opportunity to abseil down into the grotto and quite spectacular: a flight through the grotto attached to the aeroplume, a balloon with wings.

Hike in the gorge: Les Concluses de Lussan 

Keen hikers will enjoy this fun walk in the gorges of the Aiguillon, between limestone rocks sculpted by the river over the centuries. From the descent from the car park into the gorge, you will discover stories written by nature in the curious rock formations. Experienced hikers set off on a circular walk through the riverbed of this tributary of the Cèze, up rocks and down again, all this in untouched nature and wonderful peace. In summer it is generally dry and hot, in spring and autumn, depending on the weather, there may be water in the riverbed filling the holes and cauldrons. Good shoes and enough drinking water are mandatory!

After the hike the pleasure

In the pretty little village of Lussan, which has the distinction of being one of the hundred most beautiful villages in France, you will find a few restaurants during the high season. It is possible, however, that the opening hours will throw a spanner in your catering wheels/needs. In that case, we will be happy to welcome you under the chestnut trees in the estate park at Château de Montcaud for a well-deserved snack!

Top tip: a souvenir made of clay 

Lussan is home to several beautiful potteries. A little outside, for example, is the boutique “Les Céramiques de Lussan” – can you resist the quirky birds?

On the water: a trip by kayak

If you prefer to be on the water, the best thing to do is rent a kayak. Beginners and experienced water sports enthusiasts alike will get their money’s worth in Provence Occitane, it’s all a question of choosing a route. The possibility of a day trip by kayak or canoe exists on various rivers in the region. Both the Ardèche and Gardon gorges offer spectacular views of historical monuments:the natural stone bridge over the Ardèche (Pont-d’Arc) and the UNESCO-listed Pont du Gard aqueduct over the Gardon, built in Roman times. The disadvantages of both routes are that they are very popular in the season, i.e. there is a lot of congestion on the waterways.

For families and nature lovers

This is where our home river comes into play, because the Cèze is just as good for paddling. Equally wonderful landscapes but a much more leisurely rowing pace and therefore much more suitable for families and those seeking peace and quiet. Our partner company will welcome you in Goudargues and take you upstream to your starting point, according to your wishes. After that, it’s all about enjoying!

Refreshing breaks

Be sure to pack your swimming trunks and look out for the most beautiful bathing and picnic beaches, some of which are only accessible from the river – and therefore private to you. 

Top tip: Pack a picnic basket

Have you ever had a sandwich made by a star chef? This is your chance! We will be happy to put together a picnic for your day out. To be enjoyed on your private beach!

The other side of Mont Ventoux: the Chêne Bleu vineyard

If you prefer to enjoy the world from higher up than underground or on water level, venture to the other side of the Rhone. The most famous peak within easy reach is called Mont Ventoux and is particularly popular with cyclists. 

Fine wines and unexpected varieties

Wine lovers, meanwhile, get their money’s worth just as much as cyclists in the lovely hills around the iconic mountain. In Crestet, between Vaison-La-Romaine and Malaucène (from where you can then make your ascent of Mont Ventoux), the Domaine de la Verrière, Chêne Bleu is hidden away. On 30 hectares at an altitude of 550m – untypical for the region – traditional grape varieties such as Grenache and Syrah grapes are cultivated, as well as, surprisingly, our insider tip Sauvignon Blanc. Of course, tastings and guided tours are just as possible as a walk through the winery. Not convinced yet? Let our sommelier Julien pour you a glass!

Top tip: stay for lunch

It’s worth staying for lunch at the winery, the cuisine here is excellent. But remember to have our concierge organise this beforehand, at the latest the day before, to avoid disappointment.