Highlights of the Rhone Region
While savouring Rhône wines and the cuisine, do reflect on the fact that the Greeks and Romans brought more to the Rhône Valley than just grapes and wine. They created buildings and structures that have become world icons that are now protected for the enjoyment of today's and future generations.
Point du Gard
This world heritage site is a good reason for basing your wine tour in the southern Rhône wine region. In terms of the technical skill employed during the Roman Empire, it ranks with the pyramids of Egypt. Started in AD 38, it was completed in 14 years by 1000 men - today it would be a construction achievement! So a "MUST SEE" experience.
The Rhône River created the land and still dominates the region. It brought the Phocaean invaders who planted vines on this land over 2600 years ago and is still an important waterway. By the time the Rhône reaches Avignon it is a wide navigable waterway used by cruise boats. A number of options are available from a short 45-minute trip to dine and dance cruises.
The wellspring of the Rhône wine region is the villages. Clinging to side of hills or sprawling across the valley floors, they represent the historical heart of the region. Here winemakers and their families have tilled the land and nurtured the grapes to produce that special Rhône wine character. Visit them, enjoy a meal and taste their special wines.
Orange - Theatre Antique
At Orange is one of the greatest theatres of the Roman Empire and it is a marvel that it is still intact and largely original. You can walk into the open-air theatre and imagine that you are one of 10,000 Roman spectators that it could have seated.Worth the trip!
The old town of Avignon is a definite whole day visit. Good parking for a tourist top spot and a great compact old town for walking. There is so much to see and the entry prices are very reasonable. Heaps of reasonably priced places for coffee and/or lunch.
Apparently Saint-Benezet had a vision to build a bridge across the Rhône at Avignon in the 12th century. While not a bridge-builder, Saint-Benezet was a great fund-raiser and a mighty 27-span bridge was constructed across both arms of the Rhône. Worth the 5€ for the experience!
The Place of the Popes
Constructed in the 14 century it was for 350 years the seat of the Christian world during a period of great religious turmoil. Another great visit.