Suze la Rousse is a village in the Drôme Provençale, situated in the region of Tricastin between the southwestern portion of the Drôme department and the northwestern Vaucluse.
Suze la Rousse is known for its famous medieval château, a military fortress remarkable in Provence for its architecture. You will also discover the village's main wealth comprised of 1600 hectares of numerous AOC grape varieties cultivated in surroundings of scrubland, lavender, truffle fields and sun.
The old village boasts many archaeological sites and the people show great willingness to bring out the town's heritage. Don't miss a tour of the Wine University housed right inside the château.
The town of Suze la Rousse, situated at the southernmost end of the Drôme, has a population of 2029 as of 2015. The people of Suze enjoy a Mediterranean-type climate: hot, sometimes stormy summers and icy winters due to the northern wind.
Spring and autumn are quite mild, but you must expect a bit of rain in autumn.
Laid out on the side of the hill called the “garenne” (rabbit warren), the living environment is very pleasurable in all seasons. Residents and tourists can enjoy the natural riches in which the village abounds.
Built in the 12th century on a rocky promontory, the Château of Suze la Rousse is listed as a historic monument. Three big Provençal families owned this gem – the counts of Orange, then the lords of Les Baux for six centuries and finally the Marchioness of Bryas who, upon her death, bequeathed the château to an association which auctioned it off in 1963. The château was then acquired by the General Council.
Over the centuries, its geographic position dominating the surrounding areas guaranteed its owners completely tranquility in the heat of a 23-hectare park called the Garenne, a reference to the pleasures of hunting in the time of the seigneurs. Moreover, it provides views that allow you to discover and admire a rich Mediterranean vegetation made up of such trees and plants as the parasol pine, downy oak, laurustinus, the Montpellier maple, holm oak…
The houses in the village were built at the foot of the château's ramparts.
The château's architecture is extraordinary; despite its imposing and dominating form, it is a harmonious mix of feudal fortress and lordly manor of the Renaissance.
Today, the château has become a castle-museum that you can visit throughout the year.
It offers a tour devoted to history and theme tours on the world of grapevines and wine.
In an exceptional state of conservation, the château still has the moats dug out in the 13th century, jeu de paume courts (tennis) dating from 1564, a chapel and a surrounding wall fortified with crenellations and machicolations. The château's interior is just as spectacular with its Italian-style courtyard with arches, listed as one of the most beautiful in France, and a 16th century monumental fireplace that holds pride of place in the formal reception room.
You can also visit the extraordinary Wine University founded in 1978 and endowed with a laboratory. You can take part in a lecture, a themed wine tasting or a wine course in an out of the ordinary setting. An ampelographical park created in 1989 and made up 9 gardens invites amateurs and professionals to discover and observe the different grape varieties.
Today, the people of Suze la Rousse pamper their village, the old houses are restored and their true merit revealed, amenities have been created, cobblestone pavements. The old church has regained its splendour thanks to the renovation work undertaken by the mayor's office.
In the region around Suze la Rousse
The Château de Rochegude,
The Aubagnans Chapel,
The Saint Denis Chapel (to the south),
The Great Fountain