In Boulbon, every 1st of June at 7 in the evening, the village priest leads a procession, made up exclusively of men, from the Saint-Joseph church to the Saint Marcellin chapel. Each participant carries a bottle of their best wine. At the end of the church ceremony, they uncork their bottles while the priest chants prayers and solemnly blesses the wine. Then, they all raise a toast and drink a glassful before returning, the spirit cleansed, back to the village where the festivities continue. The precious brew is supposed to ward off fevers and illness until the following June.
That chapel, a gem of Romanesque architecture, is just one of the small treasures that await you in this charming village nestling at the foot of the Montagnette only 15 kilometres from Avignon.
To visit Boulbon, you can leave your car at the big square, the Place Gilles Leontin. Here, the market takes place every Monday morning, right next to the inevitable pétanque pitch beneath its line of sycamores. From there, the Rue Pissantour leads you to the Grand Rue, which crosses the village from south to north. This street is bordered by houses with beautiful façades, some with mullioned windows from the Renaissance or doors with sculpted pediments. Here and there, little lanes lead to small and flowering squares.
At the other end of the village, you pass through the Porte Loriol, a gate in the old fortifications, and arrive at the town hall and some shops.
Continuing your way towards the church and chapel, you will find yourself at the foot of the old fortified feudal castle of which only the 11th century keep still stands today.
From the Saint-Marcellin Chapel, a walking trail leads you to the Bonnet Mill, a windmill built in 1776. Entirely restored in 2002, its mechanism and sails used to grind flour in the traditional manner, on the days when the Mistral wind blew. The mill is open to the public on the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 2pm to 5pm. Groups can tour the mill by appointment with the association "Les Amis du Vieux Boulbon".
A beautiful panorama stretches out over the village and the plain all the way to Tarascon.
An orientation table was installed there by the pupils of the primary school in Boulbon.
Oh, and before you hit the road again, another curiosity reminds us that the Rhône River was not always tranquil river. An obelisk at the western end of the Place Gilles Leontin bears incisions that mark the heights reached by the flooding of the Rhône: the highest is at 2m30!
If you head west, direction Graveson, the small departmental route snakes through a pretty pine forest in the Monatagnette and passes in front of the entrance to the Saint-Michel de Frigolet Abbey.