The Ventoux area covers the north-east of Vaucluse. Carpentras, the main town, has a Roman arch, a palace where the Popes once stayed, a cathedral and ruined fortress. Most tempting, though, are the black truffle markets in winter and the AOC wines of Côtes du Ventoux produced on the lower slopes. The scenery is spectacular, from the dramatic Gorges de la Nesque to the pretty village of Pernes adorned by 40 fountains, and the jagged ridge of the Dentelles de Montmirail, which tests the brave on a network of trekking, riding or climbing trails.
Mention cycling and Mont Ventoux comes to mind, especially during the Tour de France when it is said to be one of the hardest climbs. They call it the ‘Giant of Provence’, a towering peak of 1,912m where the notorious Mistral wind often reaches 90km per hour. With its barren limestone summit, so white it looks like snow, it is totally isolated and can be viewed for miles around. The landscape looks almost lunar, but scented juniper, holm oaks, conifers and beeches grow below the windswept top.
Look out for panoramic views and unusual species of flora and fauna as this is the border between north and south. Some 800km2 of the Ventoux are protected by a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and longdistance footpaths and rambling trails lead to the summit. The easiest trek to the top starts in Sault, a nature resort in a lavender valley.
Pape was priced at €599,000. A Provençal mas near Carpentras with garden, gîte and swimming pool was on offer for €685,000 but the nearby village of Monteux has modern three-bedroom apartments with balconies from just €176,800.
Near Mont Ventoux, Sault and the surrounding villages have a good range of reasonably priced properties: quiet villas with views under €300,000, a luxurious converted barn with pool for €570,000 and a bastide with two gîtes for €655,000.
“Vaucluse is increasingly popular with British property buyers,” says Tim Swannie of luxury property finders Home Hunts.
“Most sought after are character homes with stunning views, either the rolling countryside, the beautiful villages of Lubéron or the famous Mont Ventoux. We can offer holiday homes or full time relocation where it may be possible to create an income through a B&B or a gîte business.
“From quaint villages to perfect isolation or cities such as Avignon and Orange, the Vaucluse is quintessential Provence and offers something for everyone.”