Sunday, August 31, 2014

Suzette, a little jewel of a village in the Dentelles de Montmirail.

We are getting close to the time for us to return home to Sablet for our fall sojourn so we have started to plan our day trips and visits to French family and friends and deciding where to taste wine and dine. It is critical that we get the latter two correct.

One of the scenic drives we take is the 62 km "Route des Vin" (wine road) that goes around the Dentelles de Montmirail with stops to visit one or more of the pretty wine-making villages along the way. 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.

Wine route around the Dentelles de Montmirail

One day early last spring, we were driving around the Dentelles de Montmirail when we arrived at the entrance to Suzette, a tiny village we pass through on the Route des Vins. We have passed through the village multiple times but had never stopped, so having some time, we decided this was the day to do so.

Entrance to village of Suzette

Suzette is a pretty name for a tiny village (population 120) sitting at 1300 feet elevation on the eastern side of the Dentelles de Montmirail surrounded by terraced vineyards of the Beaumes-de-Venise Appellation. The wine Appellations of Gigondas and Vacqueryas are nearby.

Cherry trees in bloom in Suzette with Dentelles de Montmirail in the distance

The village has one principal street that ascends up the hill and one restaurant. There is no boulangerie; villagers get their bread at “un dépôt de pain” in neighboring Lafare or at boulangeries in Beaumes-de-Venise.

Cherry tree blossoms in front of Notre Dame de Suzette

There is also a parish church in the village dedicated to Notre Dame built in a Romanesque style between the end of the 11th century and beginning of the 12th century. It is probably not a creation of the Templars as has long been claimed.

Notre Dame de Suzette

The little church, Notre Dame de Suzette, is almost without decoration. The plan of the church is a Latin cross. Notre Dame de Suzette epitomizes the simple elegance of Romanesque architecture.

Interior of Notre Dame de Suzette

Notre Dame de Suzette bell tower with Mont Ventoux in the distance

The territory of Suzette seems to have been occupied since ancient times. Gallo-Roman remains have been found at several sites: tiles, column shafts and coins from the reign of Hadrian (76-138 AD).

Suzette cherry tree

If you like to go rock climbing or hiking, Suzette is a great starting point for both of these activities.

Suzette vineyards with Dentelles de Montmirail in backyard

Views from Suzette

Views from Suzette

If you are making the tour around the Dentelles de Montmirail on the Route des Vins, save an hour for a walk around Suzette and visit to the little church. I hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend. Chat soon.


  1. Michel, thanks for this! I love this area so much and I think Remi would be interested in photographing the church. :)

  2. Heather, definitely a beautiful area. I hope this is the year we finally get to meet up unless it turns out your new home is way off the beaten bath.