Vaucluse (84500) Population: 13,835 Altitude: 55 m
This is an interesting town, built around a low hill near the Donzère-Mondragon canal (which is actually bigger than the adjacent Rhône river that supplies the canal's water). Of course the town was here many hundreds of years before the 20th-c canal came along. A walled circle of houses shows where the defensive walls once stood, and a couple of the old portes remain [photo-4].
Small streets and old houses fill the interior of the centre ville, working up to the top of the hill where the Collégial Saint-Martin [photo-1] stands. From the top you have an excellent view across the town's medieval rooftops and over the Donzère-Mondragon canal, where the medieval scene in counterpointed by the steam from the nuclear power plant cooling towers. To the north you can see the hills where the Barry troglodyte village is located.
The center has some large, open squares, including the Place Reynaude de la Gardette, where the 19th-c Hotel de Ville [photo-2] is located. There's a good café there as well, so you can sit and enjoy the village life.
When you live in a river valley you have to accept the fact that you'll get wet from time to time, and the Rhône is a big river. In recent times, the town was seriously flooded in 1951. Beside the 13th-c porte through the ancient walls [photo-5] is a marker for the water level of the 1993 flood, well over our heads.
Bollène is not only worth a visit, it's a fine town to stay in while visiting the surrounding area. There's a good selection of hotels and restaurants, and several cafés. Among the shops theres at least one good librairie with maps, magazines and books. The Office de Tourisme has a good (free) map of the town and area and a current list of hotels and restaurants.
Tel : 04 90 40 51 45; Fax: 04 90 40 51 44 Tel: 04 90 40 51 44
Market day: Mon.
Puces (flea-market): 2nd Sun
• GPS: 44.279206, 4.751631
IGN (1/25,000) #3040 OT "Orange, Massif d'Uchaux"
Immediately south of town (between Bollène and Orange) is the mostly forested Massif d'Uchaux.
One hiking trail, the Tour du Massif d'Uchaux, circles the area, passing by Mornas, Mondragon, Rochegude, Sérignan-le-Comtat and back to Mornas.
The GR4 hiking trail passes east-west through the center of the area.
• East, the GR4 continues on to Lagarde-Paréol, Sainte Cécile-les-Vignes and Cairanne.
• West, the GR4 goes past Mondragon to Pont-Saint-Esprit and beyond.
Among the restaurant possibilities, we only looked at the ones near the center of the old town.
- This one, just inside the porte at the Place Charpentier, has an excellent reputation for Provençal cuisine. We were on a very low budget and were dressed rough for hiking so didn't go in.
- Menus: 150, 190, 200, 300 FF (25-50 euros)
- (brassèrie, restaurant, café) This is a fairly large place, located just outside the porte at the Place Charpentier. The food is ordinary but good, plentiful, and inexpensive.
- Menu: 55 F, help-yourself buffet de hors d'oeuvere, plat du jour (choice of 3) and fromage or dessert.
- Menus: 85, 100, 150 F, with several interesting choices. (15-25 euros)
Piscine (Swimming pool), open all year
Planche à voile (wind surfing), tennis, fishing
Bollène is on the main Marseille-Avignon-Orange-Valence rail line, which includes the TGV and car trains. Around 18 trains a day stop at Bollène on weekdays, and 3 or 4 on Sundays and holidays.
The bus company Les Rapides du Sud Est provides transportation in the area.
The line Montelimar-Orange has service to Montélimar, Chateau du Rhône, Donzère, Pierrelatte, Saint Paul-Trois-Chateaux, Cité IV, Saint Pierre, Bollène, Mondragon, Mornas, Pielenc and Orange.
The line Lapalud-Bollène has service between these two places only, also stopping the the Bollène train station.
The line Mojndragon-Saint Andéol goes between Mondragon, Bollène, Lapalud and Bourg Saint Andéol. Mon-Fri during school periods only; Mondragon-Bourg Saint Andéol around 7h00 and Bourg Saint Andéol-Mondragon around 16h30.
Department 84, Vaucluse Buses
- See Beyond's Bus Schedules Page 2: Vaucluse Department for downloading Vaucluse bus-lines map [Plan global des lignes] and bus-line schedules [pdf for each line] (link for PDF files).
• Avignon has train or bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Nîmes, Saint Remy-de-Provence, Paris.
• Cavaillon has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Saint Remy-de-Provence.
• Pertuis has bus connections to Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.