A Guide to Visiting Monieux, Provence, France
Monieux in Provence is a wonderfully picturesque village, lying on the southern flank of Mont Ventoux. It is distinctive for resting on a cliff and stands as the entry point to the Gorges of Nesque. As a medieval village, there is much to entertain the visitor and the delightfully bucolic surroundings will particularly appeal to enthusiasts of unspoiled nature. Monieux rests at the mouth of the Nesque River and stands at the foot of the impressive Gorges de La Nesque, cut into the limestone valley of Vaucluse and is filled with the scent from meadows of wild flower seeds and fields of lavender, the flower of Provence.
Monieux appeals greatly to walking visitors who are attracted by the panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the wild flower seeds of the lavender fields, oak forests, limestone ridges and the deep valleys of the gorges. There are numerous hiking trails and mountain bike paths that will suit the energetic, while nature paths may appeal to those moving at a more leisurely pace through the lavender fields and flower seeds. Equestrian trails are also available and there is excellent fishing to be found while relaxing by the lake.
Monieux’s medieval heritage is clearly evident as one approaches the village, dominated by the watchtower dating back to the 12th Century. The village’s medieval walls are also still intact and these form a boundary for the town, attached at either end to the cliff face of Mont Ventoux. The medieval wall originally had three doors, allowing passage in and out and one of these still remains. The village also contains a number of churches and chapels, some dating back to Roman times.
Monieux holds markets throughout the year with products on offer determined by what is in season. Particularly noteworthy are the truffle markets from November until mid-March and the resources of the soil, featuring lavender products such as lavender essence and lavender honey.
Monieux holds the Feast of Einkorn on the first Sunday in September. This is a medieval festival with local produce, including lavender products, street theatre, medieval art and settlements. Visitors also often visit Monieux between the end of July and the middle of September, when the lavender distilleries are in operation in the production of lavender products.
Chapel of Saint-Michel
Tourists to Monieux are often drawn to the Chapel of Saint-Michel, because of its location, history and its age. The chapel lies at the bottom of the Nesque gorges on the edges of the river and on a sizeable, overhanging rock. The building was built in the 12th Century and above it can be seen rock shelters that were used in prehistoric times.
Mount Ventoux is known for its black truffles and inhabitants of Monieux have been hunting and harvesting truffles for several hundred years. The much sought after delicacy, called “Rabasse” by locals has its own museum at the Musée de la Truff du Ventoux. Here visitors can learn about the origins of this rarity, how it is harvested and its place in French cuisine. The Musée de la Truff du Ventoux also has quite a spellbinding collection of egg cups, some 3,500 in all, made from a great range of materials including porcelain, pottery, glass and wood and they come from all over the world, the by product of a globetrotter’s wanderlust.
Admission to the museum is free.
Nathan enjoys writing articles about the lavender fields of Provence, France and the in places such as Monieux.
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