Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dentelles de Montmirail, a Hikers and Rock Climbers Paradise

The first thing we do in the morning, many times before the bells of the nearby St Nazaire church ring at 7:00 is open the bedroom door and the mint green shutters that lead to the balcony and walk out to check the weather and see if the Mistral is blowing.

Besides getting the scoop on the weather, we are treated to magnificent views over the Sablet rooftops towards the Dentelles de Montmirail in the distance. The Dentelles de Montmirail are short, steep mountains with a distinctive rocky ridge extending west geologically from Mont Ventoux which is located just to the east.

The name Dentelles, the French word for lace, refers to the jagged, rocky tops obtained by erosion, while Montmirail is derived from the Latin mons mirabilis meaning "admirable mountain" though the alternative connection with teeth, "dents" in French is equally good in my opinion.

The Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range is about 8 kms (5 miles) long and runs from Vaison-la-Romaine on the north end to Beaumes-de-Venise on the south. The tallest peak of the Dentelles de Montmirail range is St-Amand, at 734 m (2,400 ft).

After walking around Gigondas and enjoying a wonderful lunch at Oustalet restaurant with wife Shirley and niece Leslie, details to follow in a future post, we decided to take the unsurfaced road up to Col de Cayron to get a closer look at the peaks and see the views of the vineyard covered Rhone valley.

One of the great views from Col de Cayron.

A splendid view of the Rhone valley with Sablet in the foreground on the left and Séguret on the right against the hill. Séguret is classified as a Most Beautiful Village in France.

The Col de Cayron is 396 m (1300 ft) high and in the center of the Dentelles de Montmirail principle peaks.

We hiked up a trail, one of approximately 600 hiking trails in the Dentelles de Montmirail range, to a peak with great views. Leslie hiked up a little farther for a photo shot.

A close up view of the limestone peaks. These peaks have faces that rise 100 m (328 ft) and are favorites of rock climbers.

Vineyards at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail.

Some of the famous Gigondas vineyards at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail.

There are a many trails to hike up to and around the Dentelles de Montmirail. If you do, you will be rewarded with close up views of the peaks and magnificent views out over the Rhone valley. We will return many times I am sure.

Bonne journée mes amis et à très bientôt.


  1. Such beautiful countryside, no wonder I love France :)) Love these photos. Diane

  2. Beautiful pictures! Adding it to the list of places to visit!

  3. I haven't been hiking here, yet. I must put it on my list to go this year. I love hiking and each Spring after the hunting season I am out each weekend looking for a great trail. Thanks for the post. I'm sure it will be a treat to see!

  4. Diane - I agree with you totally about the beauty of France. We still have so much of France to see for the first time.

    Honsk8s - Thanks for checking in and leaving your comment; I appreciate it very much.

    Ashley - It is definitely a wonderful place to hike. The first time I ventured up there was the weekend we bought our house and hunting season had started, I wasn't aware and all of these guys kept going off. Not sure what they were hunting as I have never seen any four legged animals up there other than dogs.