Things to see and do in Provence

Le Prieuré La Madelène - Seminars, guest house and cottage

Ideally located in the north of Vaucluse département (‘county’) and bordering Drôme county, Le Prieuré La Madelène offers a vast array of places to explore for culture enthusiasts, nature lovers, fans of period architecture and serious athletes.

The region offers a particularly rich heritage that appeals to all areas of interest: from sumptuous landscapes, picturesque villages and historical monuments to festivals – choir and dance in Vaison-la-Romaine, books in Sablet, opera in Gigondas and theater in Beaumes-de-Venise – to wine tourism and Provençal markets, the most famous of which are found in Malaucène and Vaison-la-Romaine.


Nestled at the foot of Mont Ventoux, the village of Malaucène – one of the three gateways to the legendary summit – is a must for hikers and other visitors, with one of the oldest markets in Provence, terraces shaded by plane trees, and a wide range of eateries and shops.

The Malaucène market takes place every Wednesday. The region offers a diverse variety of culinary specialties, from tapenade, Cavaillon melon and tomatoes with basil to arugula, caillettes (traditional meatballs), sausages, goat cheese and much more. Something for everyone!

Mont Ventoux (21 km)

Rising to 1,912 meters, with an iconic peak that gives the false impression it is always covered in snow, Mont Ventoux stands between the Alps and the Mediterranean, overlooking the Baronies of Provence, the Rhône valley and the Vaucluse plateau. The Giant of Provence, listed as a “Biosphere Reserve” by UNESCO since 1990 and a Natura 2000 site, is a one-of-a-kind place for hiking and winter sports, with the Mont Serein ski resort and its six runs at 1,445 meters above sea level.

Vaison-la-Romaine (6,4 km)

Ten minutes from Malaucène, Vaison-la-Romaine is steeped in history, offering a journey back in time, from the Antiquity to today. It is also a big hit with lovers of music and culture, with the “Choralies”, one of France’s and Europe’s main choir festivals, and “Vaison Danses”, with a top-flight lineup of dance and choreography shows.

Les Dentelles de Montmirail (10 km)

Easily recognizable thanks to their chiseled peaks, the limestone cliffs of the Dentelles, as they are called, rise above the surrounding Côtes-du-Rhône vineyards and the village of Malaucène. This singular mountain range conceals, among other remarkable sites, the Grand Montmirail Spring, the Saint-Amand, la Salle and Cayron Crests, as well as the Ambrosi Cave and the Rocher du Midi, which offers a panorama onto the neighboring plain. Renowned worldwide for its rock climbing walls, the Dentelles area can also be discovered on foot or by bicycle.

The Gorges of the Toulourenc (7.2 km)

The Toulourenc’s source is found at the foot of the Château d’Aulan near Montbrun-les-Bains and winds for about thirty kilometers before flowing into the Ouvèze. Accessible from Malaucène via the hamlet of Veaux, the Gorges are delightfully refreshing in summer, offering hikes along and across the river in a sublime landscape.

The Gorges de la Nesque

The road that overlooks this spectacular, wild canyon offers breathtaking views. Inhabited since Prehistory, this one-of-a-kind natural site suitable for hiking is also home to cultural curiosities such as the Rocher du Cire (‘Rock of Wax’), the Roman chapel of Saint-Michel de Anesca or the rock shelters, known as ‘Perret shelters’, a testament to the Neanderthals who once lived in the Gorges.

A bike-friendly place

A can’t-miss stop on a popular cycling route, Le Prieuré La Madelène has been granted the Accueil Velos (‘Bike-Friendly’) label and works with bike rental agencies and bike shops in Malaucène for any rental or repair needs.

Wine tourism, lavender, olives and truffles

The piedmont of the Dentelles de Montmirail and Mont Ventoux is home to leading wines of the Côtes-du-Rhône denomination. From Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Rasteau to Beaumes-de-Venise, Sablet and Séguret, there are a great many vineyards and picturesque villages that you simply cannot miss. Just a half hour’s drive from Le Prieuré, Châteauneuf du Pape, another world-renowned wine-growing area, rounds out this tour of the region’s winemaking know-how. The region also has a Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) for its olive oil and is also recognized for the quality of its black truffles. In winter, Le Prieuré La Madelène offers a visit to truffle farms, by reservation.

Motorcycle tours near Mont Ventoux

Vaucluse country, like Mont Ventoux, attracts a number of motorcycle enthusiasts. Seasoned bikers, Bruno and Olivier will advise you on the region’s most beautiful routes.

By reservation, Olivier will also serve as a guide for groups of bikers wishing to discover new routes.

The Wall of the Plague

At the beginning of the 18th century, the plague decimated a third of the population of Provence in just three years, causing 120,000 deaths. A wall was built in a hundred days at the request of the pope’s vice-legate to protect the local citizens. This 2-meter high, 27 km-long wall extends from Cabrières to Saint Hubert, along the border of the Provence and Venaissin counties. Today, this singular construction dotted with sentry boxes, at almost 900 meters above sea level, offers a place to stroll with a lovely vista of the surrounding Vaucluse landscapes.