There is evidence that Crillon-le-Brave has been occupied since the Neolithic. Roman vestiges have also been unearthed (Crillon is believed to have come from the Latin name Crillonium) but it’s modern history begins with a 14th century family from Avignon who acquired feudal rights and a long line of dukes who ruled up to the French Revolution.
Park the car and entre the village by foot through the impressive Porte Gérin gate. You will first be greeted by a bronze statue of Louis des Balbes de Berton de Crillon (1541-1615) or ‘le Brave des Braves’ from whom the village derives the second part of its name. In the late 16th century he was a rebel-killer turned soldier then a ‘courageous general’ and proclaimed ‘the greatest captain in the world’ by Henry IV.
Next you’ll hit the Marie (town hall). Once school, now a mechanical musical instrument museum -if the tinkles your fancy. From here you can take in the magnificent views over the jagged rocks of the Dentelles de Montmirail, Mt Ventoux and AOC Côtes du Ventoux vineyards –you’ll be drinking some of that later!
A bit of history…
Admire the Notre Dame des Accès Chapel with its domed bell tower mounted upon a wrought-iron cross in memory of St Roch –who was often invoked during times of plague. In the all-stone Medieval Saint Romain Church you will find a wooden alter made by the famous 17th century sculptor, Bernus.
Crillon-le-Brave was a bustling village of 800 inhabitants by the late 19th century with cafés, bars and shops but after the world wars and a water shortage the village fell into ruin. Since the 70’s, wealthy inhabitants have beautifully restored 16th and 17th century houses making the village a popular tourist destination for wine lovers and cyclists.
- Porte Gérin gate
- Statue of Louis des Balbes de Berton de Crillon
- The Mechanical Musical Instruments Museum
- Notre Dame des Accès Chapel
- Saint Romain Church
- Drive or cycle the beautiful wine route past the Dentelles de Montmirail. Stop off in wine cellars in these villages; Beaumes-de-Venise (14.5 km) – Vacqueyras (21 km) –Gigondas (23.3 km) – Sablet (26 km) – Séguret (28.6 km) – Rasteau (30.6 km) – Cairanne (31 km)…designated driver needed!
- Stunning views can be seen from Suzette also. Drive via Le Barroux or Malaucene…Explore!
- Hike, Bike and zip-line on Mont Ventoux -famous for featuring often in the Tour de France. Entre from the Bédoin side
- Kids love the Llama farm
- Go canyoning in the Gorges de Nesque
- Admire the Demoiselles Coiffées -Ochre fairy chimneys
- Visit Le Barroux Castle. Combine it with the Medieval Festival if you are visiting in August
- Wander the streets, Roman ruins and the best Tuesday market in the region in the vibrant town of Vaison-la-Romaine
- Hiking, cycling and rockclimbing in the Dentelles de Montmirail couple it with a visit to a wine celler in Gigondas for an expert tasting (ask for Mathieu)
- Join an intensive wine and cooking course at the Domaine des Dentelles, or even organise your luxury stay here
- Stock up on black truffles at the Carpentras Friday morning market
- Visit Vaison-la Romaine. Vibrant market on a Tuesday, Roman ruins, plenty of restaurants, activities, bars…
Imposing medieval castle
Town, truffle market
Amazing market, Roman ruins, restaurants...
Capital of Provence
How to get there
- Train: Avignon (40 mins)
- Plane: Avignon (45 mins). Marseille (1:10)
- Car: See map
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