From Avignon (previous post), we took a day trip to the Côtes du Rhône and used the Self-Guided Driving Tour of the Côtes du Rhône Wine Road guide that was included in Rick Steves’ Provence guide book to help us navigate around the area. Remember when I told you how useful I thought the GPS would be on our trip? Well, the GPS got us lost getting to the Côtes du Rhône region. I think we lost about two hours of our day trip. To Charlie, that was like losing two hours of wine tasting.
Looking back, without the GPS getting us lost, we would have started where Rick Steves’ Côtes du Rhône wine road guide ended as there were more wineries there. Although the small towns we visited on the way there were cute, but after only three days in France, we knew we wanted to drink more wine. Yes, wine is that good there. And I’m not exaggerating. Unfortunately, by the time we made to Gigondas, all the wineries were closed (6 PM). So if you’re a wine lover, just reverse the Rick Steves guide if you want to enjoy more wine and less “sightseeing.” A few things to know though, the wineries/tasting rooms are closed from noon to 2 pm and reopen until 6 pm. So plan accordingly.
Aside from wine tasting/drinking, this region is just gorgeous and serene. I’m glad we rented a car to be able to see the small towns and scenery on our time. I wanted to share some highlights from our day trip (sans wine).
By the time we found our way back to the self-guided wine road, it was lunch time and we made it to the first stop – Seguret. We walked up a fairly steep cobblestone road and found two restaurants with outdoor seating with breathtaking views. Unfortunately, one of the restaurants was closing (which happened to be a Michelin star or two restaurant) but luckily the restaurant next door took us in. At this point, my mind was racing because I knew we were behind schedule but reminded myself to enjoy the vacation and go with the flow.
Our next stop on our driving tour was Le Crestet. We drove up a hill to get here to find that we were the only ones there. It wasn’t stroller friendly so Luke enjoyed sitting on Charlie’s shoulders as we explored this little town.
La Boite a Nougat
Luke was a trooper on this day trip. There were not playgrounds for him to play in or carousels to ride. I made sure to pack lots of chocolate croissants, treats, and the iPad. He was content sitting in the back seat with the iPad or just napping. So when we saw a sign for chocolate, just outside of Le Crestet, we had to stop by so Luke can enjoy some treats. We got some nougat (my favorite) and chocolate gelato and sat outside eating everything and watching Luke devour his sweet treat.
Domaine de Coyeux
We did manage to make it to a small winery (suggested by Rick Steves) right before they closed. The owner was very nice and told us not to worry about the time. We tasted the wine and bought a few bottles for a really good price (I think they were 7 Euros each!). I wish I had took the time to take pictures but I just wanted to enjoy the wine. After the wine tasting, we decided to take some pictures outside the winery. Also we wanted to give Luke the opportunity to run around.
We visited a few small towns after leaving Domaine de Coyeux but most of them were pretty empty. We did end up passing and waving at Gigondas. All the wineries were closed. We were leaving during the golden hour and I so wanted to get out of the car on our way back to Avignon for pictures since the lighting was so good but we had a long day. We just drove back and enjoyed the landscape.