As we are out and about, we repeatedly traverse the villages of Violès, Vacqueyras, and Aubignan on our way to and from Sablet, but never stop to visit. Another village we drive through but have never stopped to visit is Beaumes-de-Venise. So a few weeks ago, with friends Scott and Jean-Pierre in tow, we decided to pay a visit to Beaumes-de-Venise.
Beaumes-de-Venise is a small village (2,305 inhabitants) about 12 km south of Sablet that climbs up the foot of the southern slope of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Beaumes-de-Venise is one of several wine-making villages along the 78 km "Route des Vin" that circles the Dentelles de Montmirail (a small chain of mountains I told you about here).
The word "beaumes" comes from the Provençal word bauma meaning "cave" or "grotto". There are many caves carved into the surrounding hillside which were shelter for the regions first inhabitants during the Iron Age.
|Arched doorway from Raspail Avenue to Place du Marché|
The Saint Nazaire Church seen below was built in 1849. There is also a Saint Nazaire Chapel, but all that remains of the latter are ruins which date from the 8th century.
|Saint Nazaire Church|
Close to Saint Nazaire Church, is the arched doorway seen below which leads through the ramparts into the center of the village.
|Arched doorway into the center of the village|
Vestiges of the 12th century feudal castle with its ramparts nicknamed “Des Barons” stand above the village in the picture seen below. This castle made Beaumes-de-Venise one of the most powerful villages in the Comtat Venaissin, in the Middle Ages.
|View toward Place de la Liberté with castle ruins at top of village|
A brightly colored house near the fountain at Place de la Liberté.
|Fountain at Place de la Liberté|
Come along with us as we walk around Beaumes-de-Venise.
|The wrought-iron campanile and bell tower of Saint Nazaire Church|
|A pretty village house|
The ramparts were probably erected in the 12th century. There are two doorways which remain; one as I said before is near Saint Nazaire Church and the second seen below is at Place du Portail Neuf.
|The arched doorway and fountain at Place du Portail Neuf|
We decided to follow the path up to the castle ruins at the top of the village. I would not recommend the way we went since it was not much more than a narrow footpath that wound its way through brush. When we got as high as we could go, we could see the ruins just above us but we could not get up to them. There may be a way to get there but we did not find it.
|One of the views over Beaumes-de-Venise we saw as we hiked to the castle ruins|
Another view over Beaumes-de-Venise with Saint Nazaire Church in the middle of the picture.
|Another view over Beaumes-de-Venise|
Beaumes-de-Venise is probably best known for Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, a sweet fortified wine produced by village winemakers from the small berried Muscat à Petits Grains grapes grown in vineyards surrounding the village. The color of the wine can vary from amber to rosé, and even purple.
The grapes ripen from the warmth of the sun as it reflects and radiates over the vines from the huge vertical limestone slabs of the Dentelles de Montmirail. There are just over 1200 acres currently under cultivation.
Beaumes-de-Venise is also home to two other appellations: red wines were classified in 2005 as AOC Beaumes-de-Venise and whites and rosé wines were classified in 1978 as AOC Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages Beaumes-de-Venise.
|A Beaumes-de-Venise vineyard|
|A house built right up against the rocks|
|17th Century Fountain at Place du 8 Mai|
|Saint Nazaire Church|
The Saint Roch Chapel seen below was built during the midst of the plague in 1586. Beaumes-de-Venise was spared.
|Saint Roch Chapel|
In addition to wine, olive oil has been produced in Beaumes-de-Venise since 1789. At the entrance to the village is La Balméenne olive oil mill which is open to the public. All of the olive oil is pressed from "Verdale de Carpentras" (or Aglandau) olives from the Vaucluse harvested by hand between the middle of November and beginning of January.
There is a cute shop on site which sells olive oil and a variety of products produced in the region including soap, honey, tapenades, jams, olives and souvenirs.
|La Balméenne Olive Oil Mill|
|A house with pretty flowers near La Balméenne Olive Oil Mill|
|An olive tree near La Balméenne Olive Oil Mill|
As we enter and exit Beaumes-de-Venise, we go around this striking roundabout near the Vignerons de Beaumes-de-Venise wine cooperative.
|Roundabout at the entrance to Beaumes-de-Venise|
So that's it! Thanks for joining us on our walk around Beaumes-de-Venise. Bonne journée mes amis et à bientôt.