Sunday, February 16, 2020

We live on Grande Rue in Sablet in the Provence Region of France

I have always found it very amusing that the street where our house in Sablet is located is called "Grande Rue". Read on to find out why this is so perplexing to me.

For those of you who don't know, Sablet is a small village (population 1284) located at the base of the jagged Dentelles de Montmirail west of Mont Ventoux in the Vaucluse region of Provence, France. The village sits on a hill near the Ouvèze River.

Sign at entrance to Sablet

Sablet is known for the Côtes du Rhône Villages wines produced by village winemakers. The vineyards were first cultivated by the Counts of Toulouse, to whom the area then belonged. During the 14th century, the vineyards became papal possessions when the papacy moved to Avignon. Sablet was awarded AOC of "Côtes du Rhône Villages Sablet" in 1974.


Although the first fortifications of the village were most likely built in the 9th century to ward off attacks by the Saracens, construction on the walls didn't start until the 15th century. These ramparts have recently been restored by the Association des Compagnons des Barrys.

Sablet ramparts and tower

Sablet is filled with charming and picturesque shaded streets adorned with flowers, passageways with exposed beams, and fountains. Stone houses line narrow streets that curl in concentric circles around a beehive shaped hill up to St. Nazaire Church (12th century). St. Nazaire’s bell tower is the highest point in the village.

Our house at intersection of Rue d'Eglise and Grande Rue

Streets were named to reflect the activities of the village residents over the centuries such as climbing the "Escaliers de l'Eglise" to St. Nazaire Church or visiting the shoemaker on "Rue du Cordonnier". Not sure what they were thinking, when they named our street "Grande Rue". In French, "Grande" normally refers to something big, which Grande Rue where our house is located, is definitely not.

Me driving on Grande Rue

One of our favorite pastimes is to watch drivers, usually tourists, struggle to make the left turn from Grande Rue onto Rue d'Église just before our house to go up the hill to Saint Nazaire Church. You can't do it without a partial turn, then back up, then proceed forward up the hill. Only locals make the turn on the first attempt. We also chat with passersby, especially when we hear English being spoken.

Shirley hanging out the kitchen window overlooking the intersection of Grande Rue and Rue de l'Eglise

An interesting thing we have learned is the wine cave under our house was connected to caves under neighboring homes through a network of tunnels that ran under the streets. The locals would travel to their neighbors through the tunnels rather than on the street. The entrance to the network of tunnels was near the fountain and lavoir at Place Yvan Audouard.

Covered passageway on Grande Rue

Shirley stands in "Grande Rue" and stretches her arms between our house and the house across the street. You don't have to worry about traffic as not too many vehicles pass our front door besides the one belonging to the post office.

Shirley can almost touch both sides of Grande Rue

If you have come to visit us in Sablet, you have figured out that one of my favorite places for taking pictures of people in Sablet, is around the pretty fountain at Place Yvan Audouard, just a few steps from our house on Grande Rue.

A favorite place to take pictures is the fountain a few steps from our house

If you have comments or questions about Sablet, or elsewhere in Provence, please leave your comments below or send me an email at my address below.

If you are thinking about a trip to the South of France including spending time in Provence, we invite you to visit our website. Our house is available for rent by the week or more. We still have some weeks open in April, June, last part of July and August. You can reach us for further information by sending an email to


  1. I owned a house in Sablet - just up from your photo of the ramparts and tower (our house was opposite the tower, just up the steps to the left of the cars parked under the wall

    1. Thanks for reading my post and for taking the time to leave a comment. I know exactly where you are talking about. When did you sell your house in Sablet? Do you still own a home in the area? We love our house and the village. We are headed over in a couple of weeks; can't wait.

  2. I live in Carpentras but I have never been in Sablet althought I like walking around all the villages of Provence with my wife. You have given us an idea for a walk once a day. Your blog is great. Very nice pictures of your village and of the south of provence. Welcome in France ! even if you've been around since a while. Cordially Philippe

  3. Happy New Year to you and your family. We wish you a happy, healthy and safe 2021. Thanks for reading my post and for comment. Sablet and the area around Sablet are well worth a visit. We love to go to Carpentras, have been there many times for the market on Friday, usually followed by lunch at Chez Serge. Who knows, maybe our paths will cross some day.