Provence our Home Away from Home in Sablet
An Address in Provence
Michel and Shirley live in California’s wine country north of San Francisco but even surrounded by those beautiful vineyards they felt a tug to Provence. The couple searched for several years before buying a house in Sablet, a village in the Vaucluse. Perhaps it was Michel’s French roots that attracted him to the region. His grandmother was born in the Gard and his father in the French part of Switzerland. Or, maybe it was the fact that Michel and Shirley are food and wine lovers, and love exploring. Regardless, they settled on a 17th century stone house in a village that dates from medieval times.
All the Comforts of Home
Shirley loves France as much as Michel but staying with family for long periods is not a recipe for relaxing holidays. They began looking for a house that would meet (or exceed) Shirley’s criteria which included a place that did not require renovating, a well-equipped kitchen and a living village. The final item a “living” village means a town where there is activity all year round, independent of tourist traffic. Although there are many beautiful places in Provence, some communities suffer in the off-season when visitor traffic dies down. Sablet is definitely full of activity a dynamic location with plenty of school-aged kids, a busy café, a small weekly market on Fridays.
When Michel and Shirley bought the house in 2008, the previous owner had done a tasteful renovation paying attention to detail and maintaining Provencal style. Since purchasing the Sablet House, they have done several upgrades including lighting, appliances and heating.
The house is on a very narrow street curiously called “Grande Rue” given its tiny girth. A three-minute walk from one of two boulangeries that are open year-round the home is really in the heart of Sablet. The house is built on several levels and has three (3) bedrooms and three (3) bathrooms. The first bedroom is on the entry-level, and the top floor has two bedrooms, the master and a smaller room. Sandwiched between the sleeping quarters are a lovely open kitchen, living area with a fireplace, and an outdoor terrace for meals alfresco. The house comfortably accommodates seven (7) adults.
What is Sablet Like?
Sablet is a relatively small village with only 1300 inhabitants, by the last count. Situated at the base of the striking peaks of the Dentelles de Montmirail, between the Seguret and Gigondas, Sablet is in the heart of Rhône Valley wine country. The town was established by the bishops of Avignon, in the 12th century. It’s the bell tower of the St. Nazaire church that marks the highest point of Sablet rather than castle ruins such as in Seguret. The bell tower can be seen from far away, lighted at night, it is like a beacon to villagers heading home. It is a pretty village, with plenty of services including a well-stocked little grocery store, a butcher, pharmacy, tourist/wine center, two hair salons, flower shop, a pizzeria, cafe, two restaurants, medical offices and tabac/newsstand.
Must-see and Do in Sablet
Walk around the village and see the historic ramparts. Make sure to visit the three (3) churches in the town. Stop in to have a meal or aperitif at Café des Sports, which is owned by Bruno Bordeaux, a man everybody loves. If you were looking for a character to build your idea for a perfect cafe owner for a book or movie, it would be Bruno.
Out and About from Sablet
The Vaucluse and Drôme Provencal have lots of wineries, olive groves and orchards. In this part of the region, many people are descendants of families who have worked the land for multiple generations. In high season there are tourists for sure, but the areas are not dependent on tourists to keep their villages alive. Provence is known for lavender, sunflowers, truffles, honey, and in-season these are all abundant near Sablet.
One Week in Provence
If your house renters only have one week in Provence, how would you recommend that they spend their time?
Don’t miss the Tuesday morning market in Vaison-la-Romaine including a visit to the Roman ruins and bridge.
Drive to Pont du Gard the stunning Roman aqueduct.
Head to the Luberon to see the ochre cliffs in Roussillon, to the perched village of Gordes and the nearby Abbey de Senanque (if it’s the lavender season).
Visit either Arles or Nimes to see the Roman coliseums and fabulous archival museums. An absolute must-see is the ancient village of Les Baux de Provence in the Alpilles and the sound and light show at Carrieres de Lumieres.
Finally, if energy and time permits go to seaside Cassis to see the Mediterranean, enjoy a meal and take a boat trip to the calanques.
Your Provencal Address Book
Our favourite local villages include pedestrian-only Seguret, one of “les Plus Beaux Villages de France. Gigondas, a small hillside wine village four (4) km from Sablet. There is a cave in the center of the town where you can taste all the locally produced wines. We also like the hilltop village of Venasque, also rated as a les Plus Beaux Villages de France with one of our favourite restaurants called les Remparts.
Our favourite vineyard is a tough question. The Domaine de la Charbonnière in Châteauneuf-du-Pape produces excellent wines, and the English-speaking owners are welcoming.
If there was only one restaurant you could choose what would it be? The Coteaux et Fourchette in Cairanne.
Renters Welcome Anytime
The Sablet House is available for rent all year. Please contact us using the form below for information on availability and any other questions you might have.