As spring proudly settles over France, what if it were time to go for a long weekend of wine tourism in Provence? The region has a thousand year old wine history. From Nice to the Camargue, through the hilly and green hinterland, a multitude of wine experiences are offered, in the heart of vineyards that stretch across changing landscapes and alongside splendid historic cities. Enjoying a sunbathing experience in Provence means taking beautiful walks or bike rides in contact with a wonderful nature, discovering the heritage, participating in tastings, enjoying gastronomy and getting closer to contemporary artworks. Let's put down our suitcases at the Commanderie de Peyrassol, an exceptional wine estate in the Var.

The Commanderie de Peyrassol: an enchanting estate

The Commanderie de Peyrassol is a wine estate founded in the 13th century and located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Verdon River in the foothills of the Maures mountains. A splendid secular vineyard is protected by no less than 850 hectares of olive trees, oaks and scrubland. The place offers a visit of the domain and its cellars, a tour where the team reveals both the history of the vineyard and its specificities, then comments on the visit of the cellars and the tasting of 5 AOP Côtes de Provence wines. The Commanderie de Peyrassol produces elegant whites, silky reds and those that remain the historical specialty of the Provencal territory, rosé wines that are perfectly subtle, fresh and mineral.

The Commanderie de Peyrassol is more than a wine estate, it is also a place where one can settle down in a guest room and enjoy the terrace and the swimming pool, but also sit at the table of its restaurants to associate the wines with recipes prepared with products from the local vegetable garden. The pleasures of wine tourism and gastronomy meet those of art, and the place also houses one of the most beautiful collections of contemporary art in the open air in Europe. Thus, in the middle of the vineyards or on the edge of a wood, visitors discover major and sometimes monumental creations by internationally renowned artists such as Daniel Buren, Lee Ufan, Joana Vasconselos, Bertrand Lavier or Nikki de Saint Phalle. The Commanderie de Pareyssol also hosts temporary exhibitions of high quality in its new spaces, which makes it an important place for the promotion of contemporary art in the region

On the other hand, the Commanderie de Peyrassol being part of the commune of Flassans-sur-Issole, one should not miss the opportunity to stroll through this charming village during a stay on the domain. A village with a Provencal soul, you can admire beautiful monuments such as the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Constellation, the donkey bridge and the restored 16th century oil mill, as well as the 14th century Campdumy bridge. Flassans-sur-Issole overlooks a beautiful natural environment and offers breathtaking panoramas of the Maures massif, the Esterel and the Roquebrune rock.

On the road for walks in the middle of vineyards and in cities of character

In Provence and in the Var, the walks in the middle of the vineyards lead to the heart of a powerful and intoxicating nature. The Routes des Vins de Provence are to be followed by car and lead to stop in the heart of the vineyards to simply walk and contemplate the landscapes. In the Var, the Authentic Sainte-Baume Wine Route leads to the foot of wine growing areas facing the splendid Sainte-Baume massif, where an imposing limestone mass culminates at an altitude of 1,148 m.

In the center of the department, one is always surprised to see the green of the vineyards contrasting with the orange-red color of the earth. The Wine Route here is full of surprises and includes a visit to a small village, Sillans-la-Cascade, where stands a treasure of nature: a 40 m high waterfall that flows into translucent water. Like a prelude to the Gorges du Verdon located further north. You can also stop at Terra Rossa in Salernes and discover this house of ceramics which offers exhibitions of works and workshops.

Another option is to reach the coast between Le Lavandou and Hyères. The Route de Vins leads to the vineyards of the Côtes de Provence La Londe, where the vines enjoy ideal conditions to thrive, while revealing breathtaking views of the Grande Bleue. You can then take advantage of this to go and rest for a moment on beaches that look like a paradise on earth, such as the Estagnol beach, with its fine sand and translucent waters.

And what if we took advantage of a weekend of wine tourism in Provence to leave the car on the parking lot and get on a bike? In the Var, the Vigne à Vélo itinerary from Draguignan to Châteaudouble allows you to ride along the banks of the Nartuby river along the vineyards, before entering the low gorges of Châteaudouble, a town with a rich and remarkable heritage and perched vertiginously on the edge of a cliff

Provence and its food/wine pairing

There is nothing like a trip to discover the great wines of Provence to accompany the best local specialties. At the Commanderie de Peyrassol and at the Bistrot de Lou, you can open one of the estate's rosés at aperitif time to savor bold, salty and sweet verrines. Candied peppers, grilled potatoes, tuna terrines and other sardines reveal all their flavors that smell good the sun and the proximity of the sea. Still on the estate, in the heart of the vineyards, Chez Jeannette, you can enjoy a careful and inventive cuisine, which always honors the good local products. For example, you can eat a subtle codfish back with asparagus risotto and peas.

During a stroll on the roads of the Var, we also stop here and there on terraces to taste wines and accompany them for example with a local tapenade. During the tastings, one does not hesitate to ask questions about these Provencal dishes that combine local products and wine. For example, butternut risotto with porcini mushrooms can be prepared with a glass of Provence rosé. And to accompany anchoïade, another traditional Provencal specialty made with anchovies, capers, olive oil and garlic, there's nothing like a good white wine recommended by a local expert.

Useful contacts :

> Route des Vins de Provence - Chambre Régionale d'Agriculture Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur - Bât. Alpilles - 22, avenue Henri Pontier - 13626 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 1 - Tel : +33 (0) 4 94 50 54 84 - Site :

> Coeur du Var Tourist Office - DN7 - Boulevard Charles Gaudin - 83340 Le Luc-en-Provence - Tel: +33 (0) 4 89 26 03 80 - Website: https: //

> Flassans-sur-Issole Town Hall - Avenue du Général de Gaulle - 83340 Flassans-sur-Issole - Tel: +33 (0) 4 94 37 00 50 - Website: http: //

> Commanderie de Peyrassol - RN7 83340 Flassans-sur-Issole - Phone : +33 (0) 4 94 69 71 02 - Email : [email protected] - Site :