Southern France, Savour the Drôme


Drôme is one of the original 83 departments of France set up during the French revolution. It lies within the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and is surrounded by the departments of Ardèche, Isère, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Vaucluse.


Arriving at Valence, Drôme prefecture,  via TGV from Paris under the glorious sun was a fantastic welcome. No wonder the city is Valence is often referred to as “the door to the South of France”. The station architecture is modern with glass and steel everywhere. The start of an exciting eight days road trip in the Rhone. Valence is commune in southeastern France, the capital of the Drôme department and within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. It is situated on the left bank of the Rhône, about 100 kilometers south of Lyon.  It’s a beautiful city located at the center of the meridian axis of the Rhône Valley places the city at the path to the Alps.

France is well known for their gastronomy, and Drôme region harbors eight Michelin- starred chefs, including  Anne-Sophie Pic, the only woman in France to hold a three Michelin stars.  What a perfect area to start my gastronomic adventure in the Rhône.

Restaurant André in Valence by the Pic family

The Pic family is one of the most gastronomically renowned in France, particularly in the Drôme.  Generations of the family have presided over restaurants with the award-winning Michelin chef, Anne-Sophie being the current family place holder!  She is perhaps best known for winning three Michelin stars for her restaurant Maison Pic and is the fourth
female chef ever to earn three stars. She was named Best Female Chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2011.

Restaurant André serves traditional dishes with modern flair.  The inside decoration is pleasant, wooden and cozy. Full of details, the lamps on the tables, small benches, ceiling, etc.  The outside garden is perfect for a Summer drinks and dinner, the dishes were well executed and skillfully presented.

Restaurant André
 Menu  de famille
La soupe de poissons de roche  – fish soup



Le Parmentier de boeuf Angus – AKA  Cottage pie


Local Apricot Pavlova

Where to stay in Valence



Hotel de France is four stars modern and centrally located accommodation. It’s very convenient for sightseeing and local amenities.   Great selection at breakfast, supervised and secluded private car park, lift and free fully working wifi.

Mirmande and  Cliousclat

The Rhône is peppered with small and quaint villages. Mirmande is a small settlement located about 40m minutes from Valence and is one of the “Villages Botaniques de la Drôme”.




Whereas picturesque Cliousclat, 5 minutes down the road is known for pottery. In fact,  on arrival at this village in June, a two days pottery event,  the grand marché de poterie, was taking place with exquisite artifacts on show.

At the heart of the village, the hotel  La Treille Muscat in Cliousclat offers stunning views of the Rhone Valley.  It houses a restaurant by the same name, offering cuisine inspired many regional products.

view from my room at la Treille Muscat

The menu changes regularly according to the season, highlighting the quality and richness of local vegetables, fruit, poultry, lamb, olive oils, and many other produce in the Drome.  Expect Foie gras, escargots, lamb, pigeon, veal and many other local specialties. They serve delicious food and wine menu is extensive.
Restaurant de la Treille Muscat received a Bib Gourmand in 2011, a fork in the Michelin Guide, a Gault Millau Toque.
Menu to 20.00 € ( lunch) to 31.00 €

Foie Gras, strawberry chutney  black pepper from Nepal – exquisite dish | white asparagus and bavarois d’ail doux emulsion of mushrooms


Onglet and the smallest potatoes ever!


lamb, calisson the pomme (marvellous potato pie topped with goats cheese and thyme jus


Desserts  and digestives


It’s a well-known town that specialises in Nougat and a visit to the family-owned Nougat-Souberyan is a must. The Nougat Museum and fascinating tour of the factory, where the process of nougat, Calissons de Provence, and chocolate covered nuts can be viewed and best of all, sampled!

The term Nougat de Montélimar is exclusively retained by products carrying at least either 30% almonds or 28% blanched almonds and 2% of blanched pistachios and 25% of
sweetening. An application for IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) is under way.

Making sweets in Montelimar


calisson de provence


making nougat

Nougat is made by mixing honey, water and sugar before tipping the mixture into whipped egg whites, adding crushed pistachios and a touch of vanilla. The resulting mixture is laid out on marble tables before being cut into slabs.



Grignan is perhaps the prettiest village in France? It is a beautiful looking parish of the Drome. Grignan has been occupied since the Iron Age. It’s a gem of a place; it has a magnificent Renaissance castle and little cobbled streets where you can lose yourself, soak in the calm atmosphere of the area and scenic surroundings.



Le Clair de la Plume is the best in hospitality in Grignan. A Michelin-starred restaurant and a splendid hotel in what used to be a former 17th-century monastery and an 18th-century house. Beautifully and sympathetically refurbished, the rooms are luxurious, and the service is impeccable. The rooms are pure luxury and extremely well-appointed.  A meal at their restaurant is an unforgettable experience.

steak tartare


pea soup


Summer Truffle risotto – amazing


Paris Brest : choux pastry and a praline flavoured cream


Mille Feuille with a shot of digestive



Château de Crest

The summit of this town  is the imposing vestige of a castle – the Château de Crest –  one of the highest keeps in Europe (52 meters)
Regular market is held in Crest each morning of Tuesday & Saturday.
The Drome river cuts the town with it’s pure and crystalline blue waters. It is a very picturesque area and must be explore further – next time!

Near Crest,  Ladrôme is a lab that deals with organic aromatic and medicinal plants.  Located between Vercors and Provence, that part of the Drôme Valley has a microclimate with a sunny climate and therefore a varied flora.  Ideally positioned to transform the plants from their crops, extracting them the maximum active ingredients.
Their organic commitment also extends to the choice of materials used for packaging and communication materials ( recycled paper, vegetable inks …, etc )

Tain-L’Hermitage – wine and chocolate

Tain-L’Hermitage  is home to outstanding grand crus of Crozes-hermitage and heritage, both AOCs, appellation d’origine contrôlée  – is the French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for a particular wine and local products.  These are internationally renowned like some of the Coted du Rhone Villages wines.

Fabien Louis runs Des Terrasses du Rhone au Sommelier, a fun electric bike tour through the vineyards of the Rhone Valley and wine tasting with tapas and local farmers cheese at his establishment.


Just 15 minutes drive away from Fabien’s tour, is the Cite du Chocolat Valrhona. History, how to, tastings, workshops, school and shop all in one building.  Brilliant activity for chocolate lovers of all ages. The car park is right at the back of the building or across the road. Chocolate heaven!

Getting around the Drôme

It’s very easy to get around, and the villages mentioned above are quite close to each other, between  30-45 minutes drive maximum.
The Drome department,  its chefs, and suppliers take organic production very seriously, and they are committed to respecting the environment and supporting local farmers.

For more info and updates on the region:
Twitter: @LaDrômeTourisme
FB: La Drôme Tourisme

Previous: Planning a road trip to the Rhone
Next adventure: Southern France, Food & Wine adventure in the Ardèche

Disclosure: I was hosted by  Drôme Tourisme on this leg of the press trip. As  always, all views are my own.



  1. July 10, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    I love France, but never thought about visiting the Drome region – It's stunning. Great that all the picturesque are so close by too. Great pics x

  2. Jess | The Indigo Hours
    July 10, 2016 / 10:28 pm

    It looks like a beautiful area and I really love the look of that apricot pavlova! <3

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

  3. Angela Milnes
    July 10, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    Wow this looks so amazing and a place I'd just love to visit. Thanks for sharing. The pictures are fantastic and it ws lovely to read and see and learn about a place i've not been.

  4. Katy S
    July 11, 2016 / 5:00 am

    Wow it looks beautiful. All of the food looks delicious too!

  5. Emma Julia
    July 11, 2016 / 6:51 am

    What a delectable break!

  6. Pasta Bites
    July 11, 2016 / 9:46 am

    What stunning places you have visited, you are so lucky to discover them!

  7. ana de jesus
    July 11, 2016 / 2:01 pm

    I have been meaning to pay Southern France a visit as I have friends out there and your post is probably a sign that I need to stop putting it off.

  8. July 11, 2016 / 3:26 pm

    Such a beautiful area! Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and looking at your stunning photography. I feel inspired to explore more of France.

  9. July 11, 2016 / 8:27 pm

    Oh wow – this region looks absolutely incredible! The villages are simply stunning. What an amazing experience you have had. Kaz x

  10. Jessica Ayun
    July 11, 2016 / 11:58 pm

    Wonderful shots to capture the charm of Drome. The Restaurant André looks so elegant and the food sounds heavenly.

  11. Anonymous
    July 20, 2016 / 2:41 pm

    Muito top essa postagem

  12. elida
    February 7, 2018 / 10:00 pm

    Beautiful country.