The Dentelles de Montmirail are short, steep mountains with a distinctive rocky ridge, extending west geologically from the Ventoux mountains. The jagged, rocky top is named after the lace (dentelle) it's thought to resemble. Lace or dragon's teeth, the beautiful rock formations are prominently visible far across the plains to the north and the south. Click on the photo for a larger view (17k).
The mountains form a circle at the southwest end, between Gigondas, Beaumes-de-Venise and Lafare, and extend northeast about 10 km past Malaucène, with an extension to the north to Vaison-la-Romaine. The Ouvèze circles the northern edge of the Dentelles, then flows along the western side of the mountains through the rich vineyards that produce such famous wines as Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Côtes de Ventoux, among others. To the west, across the fertile plains, the Rhône flows down past Orange and Avignon, making this region part of the Côte de Rhône wine country.
The Dentelles de Montmirail are mainly forested at the northern end, with pine and oak woods on many of the lower slopes. Except for the bare rocky ridge, eroded by the fierce Mistral winds, the mountains are covered in broom, which blooms into bright yellow from April to June.
IGN (1/25,000) #3040 ET "Carpantras, Vaison-la-Romaine"
Didier Richard (1/50,000) #27 "Ventoux"
A number of hiking trails climb up the Dentelles from the surrounding villages of Beaumes-de-Venise, Gigondas, and Lafare.
There are a variety of hikes possible up on the mountain, including one trail that follows along the full length of the ridge at the top.
• Trails that continue out to the northern part of the mountains join the GR4 (Grande Randonnée) that crosses over between the villages of Roaix and Malaucène. There are many other trails, in addition to the GR4, that explore the northern hills.