Situated south of Valence, Montélimar is a welcoming town in the Drôme provençale. A mythical stopover on the Route Nationale 7, the town is renowned for its nougat, of which it is the undisputed capital.
Rich of its historical past, Montélimar has a beautiful built heritage represented by its flagship monument: the castle of Adhémar. Built on top of a hill, it dominates the town and offers a magnificent panorama of the surrounding countryside. A former medieval palace, its southern Romanesque architecture dates back to the 12th century. Beautiful vestiges of its past remain today, such as a fortified enclosure surmounted by a parapet walk, a seigneurial dwelling, a chapel and a keep. At the end of the 16th century, it became a bastioned citadel and then a prison until 1926. Today, it is a contemporary art centre that houses temporary exhibitions. At the foot of the castle, a wooded park allows you to fully enjoy its splendour and take a pleasant walk.
Continue your visit to Montélimar by strolling through the pedestrian streets of its historic and commercial centre. Some old private mansions are still present, such as the Renaissance-style house of Diane de Poitiers, dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. But also the 17th century Hôtel du Puy-Montbrun and the 18th century Hôtel de Chabrillan. The ashlar Saint-Martin gate is one of the last vestiges of the ramparts. Rebuilt in the 18th century, the Sainte-Croix collegiate church has preserved its 16th century bell tower and choir. Around the church, take advantage of the shopping streets and squares dotted with terraces to soak up the lively atmosphere of the town!
Another emblematic place of Montélimar is the Provençal alleys, planted with plane trees and lined with cafés, which border a pleasant public garden. Popular with children, this vast park with century-old trees is home to a small farm, a large pond with ducks, a playground and a wooden horse riding school.
Culture buffs should not miss the Saint-Martin Museum of Contemporary Art, which hosts an annual summer exhibition of works by great names in contemporary art.
In addition, your visit to Montélimar is an opportunity to return to childhood. Start with the Palais des Bonbons et du Nougat, a fun and interactive space for young and old. Then, head for the Miniature Museum. Located in a former chapel, this place dedicated to miniature art houses a beautiful collection of dolls' houses. And of course, don't forget to take a gourmet break at one of the many nougat makers in the town!
When you think of Montélimar, you immediately think of nougat. However, the town has many other attractions that make it a must-see. Nicknamed the Gates of Provence, the town is situated on the promontories of Géry and Narbonne, from where it dominates the plain of the Rhône valley. History tells us that the place has been occupied since the Neolithic period. The town then crossed the ages being essentially turned towards agriculture. Many peasant revolts ended in bloodshed until the abolition of the nobility. The war did not spare the town with the battle of Montélimar in August 1944. Today prosperous, Montélimar opens its doors and reveals all its mysteries.
The town has a dozen listed historic buildings. Your stroll through the past begins with the Hôtel du Puy-Montbrun. You can then stroll along the Galerie d'arcades. Unless you prefer to go to the Hôtel de Chabrillan or the Sainte-Croix collegiate church. The Domaine de Serre-de-Par and the Gallo-Roman thermal complex are just as remarkable as the Narbonne tower or the Porte Saint-Martin. The house of Diane de Poitiers will not leave you unmoved. Finally, the castle of the Adhemar or Popes is composed of a medieval ensemble including an 11th century chapel and a 12th century dwelling. Today, the Contemporary Centre has taken up residence here and you can admire numerous exhibitions within its walls dating back several centuries. Among the other vestiges of the past, you can discover the Protestant temple and the Notre-Dame-de-la-Rose chapel. Although these buildings are not listed, they nevertheless retain a significant cultural attraction due to the richness of their construction.
There is no shortage of museums in Montélimar. The Palais des Bonbons et du Nougat is the town's main tourist site with more than 130,000 visitors per year. It takes you back to the magical world of childhood and memories with its dedicated museums: sweets, toys, the N7 era, dolls, schools of yesteryear... but also its traditional nougat factory with its unmissable shop!
The Cabinet des Sciences Naturelles (Natural Science Cabinet) located in the Carmes chapel will take you back into the history of Montélimar. The Musée de la Ville/Musée des Miniatures offers permanent and temporary exhibitions. You will have the opportunity to discover collections on different themes.
For a moment of relaxation, the Montélimar aquatic base invites you in July and August to jump into the water. A picnic area is at your disposal as well as a petanque, basketball and football field. Lovers of angling will be able to throw their corks into the fishy waters and fill their bowls with fresh fish. However, please remember to bring your fishing licence with you. Hiking is also on the programme for your stay, with two circuits proposed from Montélimar.
Also to be discovered
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Camping "Les Truffières
252 Impasse Les Truffières
07700 Saint Marcel d'Ardèche, France
Latitude : 44.3443°N
Created in 1961, Les Truffières Campsite is managed by Valerie and Stéphane Soulier, and offers open-air hotel services, a pub, a gastronomic restaurant, mobile home and camper van rental, caravan and tent pitches all year round, heated sanitary facilities...