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Vallabrègues is situated in area famous since Roman times for its strategic location. Access to Vallabrègues, population 1,380, is by way of a sinuous road leading into and out of the village and because of this escargot-like placement, it has remained preserved and authentic over the decades despite the tourists who flock to the surrounding villages and towns.
Absolutely any direction from Vallabrègues, north, south, east or west, will take you to a fabulous destination (some of the best listed below). But you may not even want to leave the village once you've been here! Vallabrègues' charm lies not only in the fact that it is off the beaten path but also because its mixture of the Gardois and Provençal cultures.
Vallabrègues used to be an island in the Rhone river and evolved, due to natural and man-made intervention, into being absorbed onto the right bank of the Rhone. Land on the right bank of the Rhone belongs to the Provence region whereas land situated on the left bank belongs to the Gard. There are distinct differences and even rivalry between the two cultures and Vallabrègues has the sole and unique stature of possessing both. Vallabrègues prides itself on the fact that it is the only village in the Gard department which is located on Provencal soil. This split identity plays itself out on the faces and in the accents of its inhabitants, in its orchards and horse grazed fields, in the sun-bleached and wind-brittled facades and streets but most of all, through the Vallabrègues lifestyle and fierce devotion to preserving their unique identity by way of clubs and festivals throughout the year; bullfights in the local arena, running of the bulls and Carmargue cowboys in the streets, Provençal costumed parades and festivals, the annual basket arts and crafts fair, petanque competitions under the shady tree lined squares of the village, concerts, markets and the list goes on...
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Though Vallabrègues may cast its spell on you, don't miss the opportunity to visit some of the following preeminent tourist destinations (time is calculated by car but buses and trains will also get you there):
• 10 minutes away is Tarascon with its gorgeous medieval castle and view from the rooftop overlooking the Rhone river and on the opposing banks, Tarascon's twin castle in Beaucaire. Before crossing the bridge over to Beaucaire, don't miss Tarascon's Soluleiado museum, the brand that made Provence print fabric and decor world famous. Boats docked along the picturesque canal of Beaucaire navigate the Canal du Rhone and the Canal du Midi from the waterways of the Carmargue to Sete.
• 20 minutes north to Avignon: Palais des Papes, home to 14th C. Popes, the Pont d'Avignon, the world reknown Theatre Festival of Avignon, UNESCO World Heritage ramparts that surround the town and the TGV train station (the super-fast train that'll make daytrips to numerous places possible at lightening speed).
• 25 minutes south to Arles: the antique museum with Cesar's bust, recently brought up from the bottom of the Rhone river, plus Roman temples, theaters and amphitheaters with the most authentic gladiator reenactments in France!
• 30 minutes west to Nimes: a completely intact Roman temple from the 4th Century BC, a perfectly preserved Roman amphitheater (and more gladiators), numerous museums, music venues, shopping, sports and the list goes on...
• 30 minutes west to the Pont du Gard aqueduct. With its three tiers of receding arches, it is the highest Roman bridge-aqueduct in the world. The Pont du Gard, a masterpiece of engineering and NOT TO BE MISSED.
• 30 minutes east to Saint Remy de Provence (local products at the popular foodie market on Wednesdays, chic shops, cobblestone streets, some of the best preserved Roman ruins in the world and home/museum of Nostradamus and Vincent van Gogh's mental asylum). Further up the road is Les Baux de Provence (the official classification as "one of the most beautiful villages in France", is not an understatement. Unbelievably breathtaking).
• 40 minutes to the north you enter Cote de Rhone wine country (Gigondas, Beaume de Venise...) or nearby, Provence’s most famous lavender fields (just like the postcards).
• 1 hour south to the beaches of the Mediterranean (either La Grau de Roi in the Languedoc or Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (gypsy music and the black virgin) in the Carmargue (wild horses and tamed ones for horseback rides on the beach, pink flamingos, an amazing bird sanctuary, shops and great seafood).
• 1h15 drive southwest to Montpellier and 1h15 drive southeast to Marseille (and the Marseille International Airport). Even faster by train.
• The TGV in nearby Avignon can take you to Paris of Barcelona in just 3 hours.