Insider tips from Château de Montcaud (Part 1)
Where would you like to go today? What’s the best day trip to take during a stay at Château de Montcaud? What top tip do you give our guests? In preparation of this blog post we asked our staff to come up with their favourite things to do in our beautiful region. From intern to head chef, local or newcomer to the area – they all had something in common: the agony of choice. Because there is indeed a lot to see, do and discover in the Cèze Valley and its surroundings. So much, in fact, that we can’t fit all of these top tips into a single blog post; a second one is already in the works. On our website you will also find a list of classic excursion destinations, such as the historic city of Avignon and its museums or the Grotte Chauvet and its cave paintings. In this post we take you on our day trips, tried and tested first hand. Are you coming along?
Tour of the Cèze Valley
Four of the 100 most beautiful villages in France are located in the immediate vicinity of the Château de Montcaud and can be discovered on a tour of the Cèze Valley and alongside its neighbour, the Ardèche. Before setting off, find out from our concierge which village has a market on a given day of the week; this may help you decide how much time you want to spend where.
La-Roque-sur-Cèze and the Cascades de Sautadet
At the exit of the tree-lined alley leading to the chateau, turn right and follow the directions. First stop: La-Roque-sur-Cèze. The village is beautifully situated on a hill. Park your car in the car park on the banks of the Cèze, from where you can reach the famous Sautadet waterfalls within five minutes downstream.
Lussan and Montclus
From La Roque, you can either take a detour to Lussan – which is home to interesting little potteries, among other things – or go directly over the narrow bridge and along the Cèze to Montclus. The small village is overlooked by the keep of a medieval castle, in which a hall of the Benedictine cave monastery built by the Templars has also been preserved.
The tour can now continue to the small town of Barjac – where catering is easier than in the villages. Or you can shorten the tour and drive directly to Aiguèze with its beautiful view of the Ardèche Gorge.
Top tip: Don’t forget your swim gear!
The Cèze is wonderful for a little cool down in between. More of a wide stream than a roaring river, various stone beaches invite you to linger and relax.
Hike through the immediate surroundings
Château de Montcaud’s neighbourhood is just as well explored on foot or by bike, so not to worry If you come to Sabran without a car. The most beautiful hiking route from the chateau leads through six of the eight hamlets in the municipality and offers, among other things, a beautiful view of distant Mont Ventoux. Pack enough water and a snack – our large village is home to many winemakers but sadly, no easy F&B options.
Sabran from all angles
Take a hiking map with you or start your hiking app. Your circular hike takes you through the hamlet of Combe, past the municipal hall and school, uphill towards Colombier, Cadignac and through the forest to the highest point: the hamlet of Sabran. Now it’s back downhill to Carmes and on to Donnat. For your return to the chateau, leave the hiking trail and simply walk along the vines. Ambitious hikers can include the two remaining hamlets of Mégier and Charavel on the way, while those who prefer a more leisurely pace can skip Colombier and Donnat.
Top tip: Manjolive – local saffron and spirulina
On the way home, stop by saffron and spirulina producers Manjolive in Donnat where Céline and Sébastien will enthusiastically present the secrets of their produce. We bet you won’t leave unintrigued and empty handed!
The “Maison de Garniac Truffle University”
At Château de Montcaud, we – and specifically our head chef Mathieu Hervé – try to source locally where possible; our neighbours Manjolive being one of our favoured suppliers. Fortunately for us, there are many other interesting and passionate producers nearby. Our truffle partner, Maison de Garniac, not only stands for excellent quality but also for innovation. Beautifully situated between the Ardèche and the Cèze, Yolaine and her team have built a truffle university around the sales of the black diamond, where you can not only buy the raw product, but also learn all about its secrets.
Top tip: Mittens at the ready
Attend a truffle cooking class and indulge in taste and knowledge of the black diamond.
A day at the beach
There is hardly anything more relaxing than a day at the seaside: sun, warmth, the sound of waves – children playing in the sand while grown-ups lie in a comfortable chair, a refreshing drink served directly to the lounger. Various private beach clubs (plage privées) offer delicious food and drinks and, of course, deckchairs and parasols.
Sand and water galore
If you prefer to lay your towel directly on the sand, you’ll be sure to find a spot on one of the vast beaches, close to the dunes or half in the water. Our favourite beaches are within easy-reach, around 75-90 minutes from Château de Montcaud: Le Grand Travers between Carnon and La Grande Motte or L’Espiguette behind Le Grau du Roi.
Top tip: let us book ahead
Our concierge Julyan has the best contacts to various private beach facilities and will of course be happy to book a spot for your carefree trip to the seaside!
A relaxed stroll through La Bambouseraie en Cévennes
About an hour’s drive from Château de Montcaud is the Cévennes National Park, historically famous for French silk production in the 19th century. One reason why the bamboo park “La Bambouseraie en Cévennes” was created two kilometers outside the small town of Anduze: silkworms were originally imported in bamboo canes.
History, fun and games
The historic bamboo forest delights children as much as adults: an educative circular path leads you through part of the park, which covers a total of 34 hectares, and invites you again and again to play games or learn about the 1000 bamboo species. The most impressive specimens are over a hundred years old!
Top tip: Anduze
Have you bought a bamboo plant at the park’s nursery? Pick out the right pot for it at the pottery “Les Cordeliers” at the station in Anduze. And quite possibly the historic steam train will just pull into the station and invite you to take a trip to St-Jean-du-Gard.
Visit to the antiques market in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
On Sunday mornings, take a trip to the other side of the Rhone: an unusual weekly market is set up in the pretty village of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue in Vaucluse. The market stalls are lined up along the Sorgue Canal, and behind them you can browse among various small and large antique dealers.
Straight to the source
If you still feel like an adventure on the way home, you can stop by Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, where the source of the Sorgues gushes out of the abyss. As the summer is often dry, this visit is especially recommended in spring.
Top tip: Don’t travel on an empty stomach
Before you leave Isle-sur-la-Sorgues, it’s worth visiting Patisserie Jouvaud for coffee and cake. Bet you can’t resist?