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©Château Mourgues Du Grès

The best places for a picnic in Provence

With your pretty checkered tablecloth and your wicker basket under your arm, have a picnic among the olive groves, pine forests, reed beds and oak woods, garrigues, and the smell of rosemary. Clothed in russet and gold, autumn brings out all the gentleness of Provence. Les sens en éveil, make the most of the exceptional light on a walk through autumn colours.

 

Set off on a vintage outing with a gourmet basket included in the Vaucluse

With Oh My Deuch, you can hire a stylish 2CV cabriolet to travel around the Vaucluse! And the added bonus for this autumn escapade is in the boot of this vintage cabriolet. Surprise! You’ll find a picnic kit with cutlery, crockery, stem glasses, corkscrew, napkins and tablecloth, all in a pretty isothermal wicker basket. Two menus to choose from: “rustique” or “gourmand”. They both highlight good fresh seasonal products from the Provencal terroir. Vegetables, charcuterie, tapenade, anchoïade, goat’s cheese, etc. What’s your little indulgence? We recommend that you head for Lourmarin, l’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue or Monieux. Comfortably installed under a tree with orangy leaves or reading a book on the grass, it’s up to you to choose. There’s even a set of pétanque bowls in the boot!

 

Take part in the Pique-Nique Vigneron at the Château Mourgues du Grès in Beaucaire

On the former farming estate of the Ursulines de Beaucaire, whose name refers to the nuns known as “Mourgues” in Provencal,” in Provencal, enjoy a picnic in the open air under a pergola in the courtyard or surrounded by a mosaic of colours in the vineyards. An experience worthy of the Vallée de la Gastronomie network of which the château is a member. Through its organic farming designation, the Château Mourgues du Grès tells the story of the pebbles of the Costières de Nîmes which give all their character to the wines. The terroir is revealed through the work of the wine grower and the culinary traditions which go with it. Delicious products such as Brandade de Nîmes, Anchoïade, Tapenade, and even Bull terrine with olives grown on the estate, are a real delight. To share the vigneron’s passion, you need to understand it, so visit the vineyard and the cellar followed by a wine tasting.

 

Go on a “Tour du lac de Mison” walk in the Alpes de Haute Provence

Walk along beside the Lake of Mison on a 2-kilometre-loop and find yourself a peaceful spot for your picnic. You’ll get some lovely views of the Alpine peaks with their snowy summits and interpretive panels which will help you get a better understanding of the surrounding nature. In this spot which is listed as an Espace Naturel Sensible en Zone Humide, 202 species cohabit. From the migratory birds nesting in the reedbeds to the fish swimming peacefully in the lake, colourful nature will give you a complete change of scene. There are tables and benches to eat comfortably; and are those fishing pontoons beckoning you to come and catch a pike-perch or a pike in the afternoon?

Take a delicious break on L’île de la Barthelasse near Avignon

L’île de la Barthelasse, the biggest river island in Europe, lies between the two arms of the River Rhône, Avignon and Villeneuve-lez-Avignon. It’s the ideal place for relaxation and a peaceful picnic with birds, beavers, sparrowhawks, cranes, diving ducks, and mallard ducks. Just a few minutes from Avignon’s historic centre, these 700 hectares of autumn-tinted natural land give a heady feeling of serenity. The young can let off steam in leisure areas such as the skate park or the football pitch. For more curious walkers, the towpath has an exceptionally breathtaking view of the Pont d’Avignon, the Rocher des Doms and the Palais des Papes.

 

 

And here’s a superb view of Marseille to finish off your picnic lunch

You’ll have to walk 7 kilometres on the La Croix Saint-Marcel hike to get your reward: an autumn escapade on the heights of Saint-Marcel with an incredible view over Marseille, the Frioul island, the Garlaban massif, and the Sainte-Baume. At this time of year, nature and its warm colours invite you to make the moment last a little longer with a picnic not far from the Mediterranean city. And why not continue with a tour of the Château de la Buzine, which is now the Maison des Cinématographies de la Méditerranée purchased by Marcel Pagnol in 1867? Located right in the middle of the Parc des 7 collines, in Marseille’s 11th arrondissement, this will show you another aspect of the city.

 

 

Choose a change of scene at the foot of the Giant of Provence

In the heights of the Dentelles de Montmirail, head for the medieval Domaine du Chêne Bleu nestled at the foot of the legendary Mont Ventoux. Here the grapes are grown to produce organic and biodynamic wines, made in La Verrière. The Vignobles et Découvertes-approved venue offers a visit of its cellar and a tasting of its wines, before sharing a pleasant picnic in the vineyard which is about to enter its winter dormancy but is still lit up by its fiery colours. If you’d rather picnic on your own in the Vaucluse, here is a selection of spots you’ll just love!

 

Go for the authentic in Saint-Barthélémy in the Var

Listed as an Espace Naturel Sensible et Protégé, Saint-Barthélemy has a lovely particularity. The valley sculpted by the old waters of a torrent near Salernes is well worth a visit and you’ll walk through the autumnal golds, reds, yellows, and greens, among the oaks, Aleppo pines, and the La Brague stream. You’ll be impressed by the caves cut into the cliffs, which are several dozens of metres high. Not far away, you’ll find the round Tholos de la Lauve, a prehistoric grave dating back over four thousand years. But before you visit it, it’s picnic time! A large shady park with tables and benches under the plane trees looks just perfect. And lastly, for your postprandial walk, head for the 16th-century chapel restored in the 19th century and dedicated to St-Barthélémy. Nearby you’ll also be able to see the Maison de la Céramique Architecturale, Terra Rossa, and the museum of the former terracotta floor tile factory. Just open the doors of the ceramic artisans’ workshops in the village of Salernes, and be even more amazed.

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