The Garden House at La Saugie

Things To Do

Things to Do

Avignon
Pont St Benezet - from the song 'Sur le pont d'Avignon…'. The bridge only goes half way across the Rhone - the rest having been swept away by floods a couple of hundred years ago. €4.50 entry which includes a mobile cassette player telling you the history of the bridge - in English.

Road Train - Good one for the children. €2 for a short trip from the Palais des Papes up to the gardens on the hill or €6 for a 40 minute tour of the city.

Palais des Papes - An interesting visit. Self guided tour around the famous palace with the same mobile sound system as the Pont St Benezet telling you all about the rooms/history etc. Slightly spoilt by the fact that none of the rooms have any furniture in them..!  Entry fee €9.50. Good gift shop at the end of the tour. 
 

Discounted entry fees are available with the "Avignon Passion" pass available free at the ticket booths of all the sites.

Avignon is great for shopping, browsing, restaurants and café life and is about 45 minutes from La Saugie.  In the summer the Avignon theatre festival is a great cultural event with lots of street performers

Canoeing at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
The canoeing at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is great fun. It's very safe and there are no rapids. You pick the canoes up near Fontaine de Vaucluse and then canoe down the River Sorgue to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue where a coach will wait for you and take you back to your car. Your feet will get wet so wear old shoes. Take a small snack and a bottle of water - you can stop at any time for a break. You will be given life jackets and a waterproof box to put all your stuff in.

Allow about 2 hours for the canoeing and half an hour for the coach back to your car.

Directions: From Isle-sur-la-Sorgue take the road to Fontaine de Vaucluse and Kayak Vert will be signposted after about 5km.  Allow 1 hour 15 minutes to get there from the house.

Cost (Summer 2013): €18 per adult and €12 per child.  Canoes available for 1, 2, 3 or 4 people.

You must book in advance as the canoeing parties leave at scheduled times. Tel: 04 90 20 35 44.   

Fontaine de Vaucluse
A great day or half day out. See the natural springs gushing out of the rocks at the Fontaine du Vaucluse. See the Paper Mill museum and the Museum of the French Resistance (all in French)

Park in one of the car parks (€3.50) and walk up to the Fontaine then take a leisurely walk back browsing the shops and Paper Mill. Have lunch in one of the many restaurants overlooking the river and then visit the French Resistance museum in the afternoon (but only if you understand the language).

As you are only 10 minutes away, why not combine this with a stroll round the antique centre of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue or the canoeing above. It's a beautiful town with the River Sorgue weaving in and out of every street.

Cycling
Hiring bikes and cycling around the villages is great fun. There are numerous marked paths for the off-roaders and pleanty of local villages to visit for those who prefer road cycling.

Good quality bikes are easily available for hire in Vaison-la-Romaine for around €25/€30 a day.   Please ask and we'll tell you where to go.

Pont du Gard
The largest Roman Aqueduct in Europe. Very impressive and worth a visit. Take a picnic and have it by the river (10 minutes walk from the car park).

The Pont du Gard is about 50 minutes from the La Saugie. Take the motorway towards Nimes airport and follow the brown signs before you get to Nimes.  Entrance fee of €18 per car with up to 5 passengers

If you want to make a day of it then why not combine this with a trip to the old town of Uzes. The market in Uzes is on a Saturday morning and you can buy everything you need for the picnic at the market.

Lavender Fields and Museum
The best time to see the lavender in Provence is at the end of June or the first couple of weeks in July. It is harvested from mid July onwards.

Visit the Abbeye de Sénanque outside Gordes in the morning, onto Gordes for some lunch and the Lavender Museum at Coustellet in the afternoon (or possibly see the Abbeye & Museum before lunch if you start early enough).

The Abbeye is set amongst lavender fields and at the museum you will learn (in English) how the lavender flowers are turned into the essentials oils used in the perfume industry. The shop at the museum is excellent, selling good quality genuine AOC certified lavender products (much better than anything you get at the markets)

Local Markets
During the high season the markets get very busy so try to be there before 10 o'clock.

Monday:  Bedoin - A good local market with a good atmosphere.  Not as big as the Vaison market on a Tuesday.

Tuesday:   Vaison-la-Romaine - A very good market with plenty to see and buy. All the usual food stalls plus local crafts, clothes, plants, souvenirs etc. A good selection of cafes in the main square for a drink or lunch. This one's our favourite..!

Thursday:  Orange - A good market although not as big as Vaison or Carpentras. Worth a visit if you wish to see the Roman Amphitheatre in Orange.
Nyons - Large market in the old town, worth a visit. Stop by the old Roman bridge at the end of the market for a drink or maybe lunch.

Friday:  SABLET - A very small, local market, don't get too excited..!
Carpentras - Another good market with plenty to see and buy. Most of the cafes are in the shade - except the one in front of the cathedral.

Saturday:  Uzes - Lots of food stalls with local specialities. Worth combining with a trip to the Pont du Gard.
St Cecile - Small provencal market but well worth a visit

Sunday:   Isle-sur-la-Sorgue - The largest antique market outside Paris plus all the usual food and craft stalls. Well worth a trip if you have the time.
Nyons - Provencal market, smaller than the normal Thursday market but lovely to browse around before lunch. Plenty of small restaurants in the old town

Local Wine Tours
If you would like to do more than just a tasting then why not try one of the half-day guided visits from 'Wine-Uncovered'. These can be booked in advance or arranged locally.

Wine Uncovered - “Solving the Mysteries of Terroir”: Half-day guided visits (in English) to the vineyards and wineries of two or more different domaines, explaining the concept of terroir and demonstrating how different terroir, grape varieties, vine-growing and winemaking methods influence the wines tasted.

Domaine de Mourchon Tour
The Domaine de Mourchon in Séguret, just 10/15 minutes from La Saugie, offers free tours around the vineyard and wine making facilities on a Wednesday evening between Easter and the end of September. The tours finish up with an informal tasting in the winery. And it's all in English conducted by the owner.  The tour starts at 5pm in the Cave, just turn up, no need to book.

Local History Tour
From 1000BC to the French Revolution - Discover the history of Vaison, an epic and turbulent tale spanning almost 3000 years.  The story unfolds against the breathtakingly beautiful backdrop of Vaison la Romaine, a jewel in the crown of "Papal Provence".  The Roman residences & Roman bridge, the Romanesque cathedral, Feudal fortress, Gothic gateways, Renaissance mansions and picturesque squares with Italianate fountains acquire another dimension as you imagine the events and peoples that have left an indelible mark on Vaison.

The tour is guided (in English) by local historian Janet Henderson.  Call 06 42 24 65 56 or email janet.henderson@wanadoo.fr  for details/times.  Tour costs €25 per person (minimum 3 people) and takes between 2½ & 3 hours.

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