|Place de la Liberation, Villedieu|
Villedieu dates to medieval times when the village was a commandery of the Knights of Templar with a chateau with a single tower. The village was founded during a time when potential invaders would come around and you can see the defensive fortifications as you stroll around the village.
|14th century town gate with papal coat of arms|
In the center of Villedieu is the village square, with a fountain and plane trees, called Place de la Liberation. The Mairie (town hall), a café and two restaurants are situated on the sides of the square. Our friends Bruce and Christine live in Villedieu.
|Villedieu Town Hall|
La Remise is a crêperie restaurant that also serves tarts and salads. La Remise is only open during the summer as the owners have another restaurant in the Alps. We are big fans of the La Maison Bleue Pizzeria and friends with the owner chef Daniel Roger. The one time we ate at La Remise, I didn't enjoy it very much because I felt guilty that we were not sitting at a La Maison Bleue table.
|La Remise Restaurant|
The Café du Centre is a bar-restaurant that serves tapas. It seems to be open most of the year.
|Café du Centre|
During warm weather between March and October, the village square becomes a grand terrace shared by the café and restaurants. Tables and chairs are arranged around the village fountain with the area for the café and each restaurant defined by the color of chairs.
|Place de la Liberation|
Sitting under the trees with family and friends on the square during a spring, summer or early fall evening is a magical experience and makes the food and wine oh so good.
|Place de la Liberation|
As I said, Villedieu is one of our favorite villages and we go often. Observant readers of this post will notice that these pictures were shot during three different visits at different times of year.
|Statue over doorway|
In the heart of Villedieu is Saint Michel Church with the 60 foot tall donjon (keep) and bell tower built on the nave of the church. At the top of the bell tower, there are three openings, each with a bell. The church is Romanesque and dates from the 10th and 12th centuries with later additions.
|12th century Saint Michel Church|
The oldest known relics (flint tools and weapons) discovered so far in Villedieu date the first settlement back to the Palaeolithic age. They say the odds are high that Villedieu was originally a Gallo-Roman villa near Vasio (Vaison La Romaine) bearing the name Villa Dei. There is no written account of the origin of its name, but probably, Villedieu, comes from the Latin "villa", which means country house and "dei" which means god.
|Statue in corner alcove|
Villedieu became part of the "Comtat Venaissin" and annexed to France in 1791.
|Magnificent stone archway into Villedieu|
One of the great things about Villedieu is that although it is quite well known to the locals, it is largely undiscovered to tourists as there is no mention of the town in the Michelin Green Guide and just one sentence in Rick Steve's infamous blue book about Provence.
|First time I have seen a cat on a leash|
The defensive walls were probably built at the same time as Saint Michel Church. The walls are over 32 feet high. Restored at different times, there are three majestic gates off Place de la Liberation. The middle gate is topped by a belfry and has a clock on the face which dates from the 12th century. On the arch is the papal coat of arms, the only authentic papal coat of arms still in place in the Vaucluse.
|Olive trees grow along the Villedieu fortifications|
|View toward Drôme Provençale and Vinsobres|
As I said earlier, Villedieu was a commandery of the Knights of Templar with a chateau with a single tower seen below.
|Chateau with one tower|
A third of the villagers live within the old defensive fortifications in the center of Villedieu. The other two thirds live on farms and in detached houses that have been built around the village over the last few years. Most of the commune is planted with vineyards.
|Another view of the chateau with one tower|
The defensive walls with the circular towers are publicly owned in the northeast corner of Place de la Liberation. The rest of the walls are a part of privately-owned dwellings.
|More of the Villedieu fortifications|
As I told you here, La Maison Bleue Pizzeria is owned by a wonderful chef named Daniel Roger. From a small kitchen equipped with a large wood-fired pizza oven he built himself, he turns out a variety of salads, large enough to share, and pizzas with a variety of toppings on dough perfectly blistered by the wood-fired oven. He also offers pastas and other specials.
We have eaten quite a few meals at La Maison Bleue since our first visit to Villedieu; we've sat in the small dining room and out under the plane-tree covered terrace in front of the restaurant. I strongly recommend that you make reservations since chef Daniel only does one seating and the terrace fills up very quickly.
|La Maison Bleue Pizzeria|
There are many wonderful restaurants within a short distance of our house in Sablet including several with Michelin stars and others designated as Bibb Gourmand restos but I don't think you will have an experience like sitting on the terrace in Villedieu on a summer evening. So if you are in the Northern Vaucluse, plan to go to Villedieu and eat at La Maison Bleue Pizzeria. By the way we get no financial consideration for this recommendation; we just love eating at La Maison Bleue on the terrace.