A story of the land
These two neighbouring villages assume and maintain their reputations through the produce of their lands. They are also ideally situated near Villeneuve-Lès-Avignon, Nîmes and Avignon.
The towns of Lirac et Tavel abound in unpretentious elements of their heritage, southern treasures such as splendid fountains and 19th century washhouses. In addition, Lirac can boast of a natural site called Sainte Baume.
Its history is quite amazing. It takes place in the middle of the 17th century when a shepherd, Joseph Queyranne, discovered in a cave where he had taken refuge during a storm a statuette of the Virgin Mary. Joseph, who suffered from epilepsy, saw his illness disappear and attributed that miracle to Mary. He decide that he would live in the isolated spot. Following this revelation, many people came to ask the Virgin Mary for her benevolence.
A hermitage was created in 1712 and the chapel of Consolation was built next to it. The 15th century sculpture of the Virgin Mary today resides in the parish church.
The wash-House of Tavel
Garden in Tavel
Walk through the vegetable gardens of Tavel
Vegetable gardens in Tavel
Less strange but just as pleasant and pleasurable is the promenade around the gardens of Tavel. They are surrounded by low, dry stone walls and irrigated by the channels that border the cobblestone lanes.
Stone accounts for the second activity and wealth of Tavel and this since a century ago. It comes from a vein of very hard limestone, a cream-coloured rock called a cold stone. Stonecutters value it for the making of sinks, columns and other sculptures. Only three quarriers exploit this limestone deposit.
But beyond all that, the reputations of Tavel and Lirac are connected to the AOC Wines produced on their territory, which stretches all the way to the Rhône, and in particular to the Rosé of Tavel, the “premier rosé wine of France”. The vineyards date from Antiquity and in the 17th century the notion of quality arose leading to the limitation of planting and the fixing of the grape harvest dates to guarantee the fruit's maturity. These changes gave the the wines their popularity and make for their original character.
Contrary to the wines of Tavel, Lirac covers several appellations and stretches over 4 communes (its own, Saint Laurent des Arbres, St Génies de Comolas and Roquemaure):
Cru Lirac, AOC, Côtes-du-Rhône, the communes.
Its wines come in the three colours of white, red and rosé.
Also to see in Tavel
the Saint Férréol chapel, the washhouse, the fountains, the Jardinets quarter, the church and the "temple".
The nearby “Languedocienne” motorway” opens up an even wider field for visiting the neighbouring regions: PACA, Rhône-Alpes.
Some possible excursions: the Roman city of Orange, the gorges of the Ardèche, the Cévennes, the beaches of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer or visiting the Pont du Gard nearby and swimming in the Gardon River.