Friday, August 4, 2017

A visit to nearby Séguret, a Most Beautiful Village of France.

Our village in Provence is surrounded by small wine-making villages, the closest of which is Séguret, about 1.25 miles northeast of Sablet. As you can see in the picture below, Séguret is elevated above the vineyards that separate Sablet from Séguret and wraps around the bottom of a steep hill topped by ruins of its medieval castle.

We go often to Séguret, sometimes on foot through the vineyards up to Séguret then through the pretty village before heading back to Sablet on the connecting road. Other times we drive, especially if we are going to eat at one of the restaurants. Séguret is one of seven villages in the Vaucluse classified as a "most beautiful villages of France" and is most deserving of this honor.

Séguret

Séguret in Provençal means security, probably given to the village due to its geographic situation. Its dominant position allowed the villagers to observe movement in the Rhône Valley, without forgetting the château at the top of the mountain.

If you drive to Séguret, you must park in one of the parking areas just below the village as Séguret is accessible only on foot. From the parking lot, walk up the hill and enter the village through the arched portal of the old wall around Séguret seen below to the main street.

North entrance to the village

The Fontaine des Mascarons (translated as the Fountain of Masks) around which daughter Stephanie and family are gathered below dates from the end of the 16th century. It has a round basin with a tower and 3 masks which give the fountain its name.

The fountain of masks in the center of Séguret

The small central square of Séguret has a 14th-century stone bell tower with a 17th-century belfry and a single-hand clock dating from 1680. On this same square is a lavoir built in 1846 and the 16th-century fountain with its three stone faces.

Me and the cousins in the center of Séguret

Séguret is fun to explore, although essentially it consists of little more than two, very narrow, parallel cobblestone streets.

The center of Séguret and its covered laundry tub

Rue de la Poterne seen below is the main street of Séguret. It is very narrow, paved with cobblestones and runs from one end of the village to the other.

Rue Poterne

The Huguenots' Gate, also known as the New Door, still has its two iron bound wooden shutters. It provided access to the village from the south.

The Huguenots' Gate

The laundry facility seen below is at Place des Arceaux, where hundred-year-old sycamores, classed “remarkable trees of France”, provide much-appreciated shade during a game of boules or other gathering.

The laundry tub at Place Arceaux

Me with cousins Jean-Marc and Christine in Sablet

Séguret house

As you wander around the village you will come across a house seen below called "L'Oustau dei Santoun" or the "House of Santons".

L'Oustau dei Santoun

All the little streets are paved with cobblestones

Besides being a beautiful village, another reason to visit Séguret are the wines. Most Séguret wines include grapes from the three terroirs associated with the appellation: the fertile terraces of the valley of the Ouvèze, the clayey-limestone slopes around the village itself and, behind the village, the poorer arid soils of the steeper hillsides. Our favorite is Domaine de Mourchon.

View over the Séguret plain

View from Séguret to Sablet

The Roman Saint Denis Church seen below was built against the cliff between the 10th and 12th centuries and a bell tower was added in the 14th century.

Saint Denis Church

Interior of Saint Denis Church

L'Oustau dei Santoun (The house of Santons) in Séguret

Séguret House

Saint Thècle Chapel seen below was built by the brotherhood of the Pénitents Blancs in the 18th century. Today it is an exhibit hall where since 1970 from late November into January, the "Amis de Séguret" put on an exhibition of traditional santons made by the best local santon makers as well as santon makers from throughout Provence. At other times throughout the year, artists display and sell paintings.

Saint Thècle Chapel

Narrow cobblestone street

Séguret Houses

A ruined castle sits on top of the hill above the village. It was built in the 11th century by the Count of Toulouse in his attempt to wrestle control from the papal Comtat Vénaissin. If you head towards the entrance to the village, and follow signs to the castle, you'll find a steep, rocky path that takes you to the top of the hill and the ruins of the castle - allow 20-30 minutes to get there.

Iron cross at the entrance to Séguret

There are three restaurants, 2 gastronomic, one called Le Mesclun in the heart of the village and the second called Domaine de Cabasse on the road from Sablet. The third restaurant is a casual restaurant called Côté Terrasse which is located near Le Mesclun.

Roundabout at the entrance to the lower village

Plan to take a walk through Séguret. It won't take long. Then enjoy lunch with a great view. Finish your visit to Séguret with a tasting at Domaine de Mourchon that I told you about here.You can place an order at the Domaine and their US importer will deliver to your home.