Provence & Rhone Valley

Here at SmoothRed, we just can’t get enough of the Rhone Valley and Provence. For as long as we can remember these neighbouring regions have been some of our most popular destinations. And still we never tire of showing our guests the seemingly infinite delights they have to offer.

Follow the Rhone south from the captivating city of Lyon with its exquisite architecture, cuisine and culture. Pass through the old Roman town of Vienne, the distinctly southern city of Valence and the nougat capital of Montelimar. And continue on, all the way down to arty Avignon with its imposing ruins and rolling fields of luscious lavender. You can’t help but fall under the spell of le Sud.

Two Cotes du Rhone

From its source in the Swiss canton of Vallais to its mouth in the Mediterranean, the Rhone Valley stretches over some 497 miles. And with it covering such a vast expanse, it helps to split it into two distinct regions: the North and the South.

Each boasts different climates, soils, terrains and grape varieties. These combine to produce wildly varying terroirs and such a wide array of distinctive wines, it can be difficult to know where to start. Thankfully, that’s where we come in.

The wines of the Cotes du Rhone

The best-known wines of the Rhone Valley are mainly reds and split into four groups: the regional appellation Cotes du Rhone, the Cotes du Rhone villages, 13 Crus, and finally the young Rhone Valley appellations. However of the 21 grape varieties allowed in Cotes du Rhones wines, eight are in fact white.

The Cotes du Rhone wines from the north of the river are generally made with Syrah grapes (or Viognier for the whites). To the south meanwhile, greater variety in climate and geology means greater diversity in grapes, with up to 13 different varieties sometimes used in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

A day, month or year in Provence

A little further south and you’ll find yourself in Provence. Here rosés are the main wine produced, and act as the perfect accompaniment for the fresh, sun-kissed flavours of Provençal cooking.

As well as the vineyards and lavender fields, Provence also boasts some fascinating towns to visit, including Avignon with its striking Palais de Papes. Not to mention Aix-en-Provence, where you can visit the old studio of artists Paul Cézanne before relaxing in the shade by one of the city’s many impressive fountains.

Provence & Rhone Valley wine trips

“Thanks for taking the time and trouble to call. You really have set the standard by which we compare all other companies!! Thank you so much for organising a fantastic itinerary with such an interesting and varied range of stop-overs. We are already starting to think about next year’s trip to France so would welcome any suggestions.”

Hilary Alder

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