France: Where is Marsanne?

Jul 14th, 1998, 04:09 PM
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France: Where is Marsanne?

We are visiting friends (in August)in a village called Marsanne, in Southern France. It apparently is too small to be on the map of France that I have, or it is known by some other name, and Marsanne is the "translation". It is near a town called Montilimar. I would appreciate it if anyone has info on the area, if you could tell me of any interesting things to see and do. Our friends will have some ideas, I am sure, but actually they only recently bought the house and are spending time there to renovate the house, to live in full time only after they retire. For now, it is a "summer house". Thanks for any help you can give!
Jul 14th, 1998, 04:34 PM
wes fowler
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You've got the spelling right! Marsanne appears to be about 19 km north northeast of Montelimar. What's in the area? A green Michelin guide should answer your question. Valence, like Montelimar on the banks of the Rhone river lies to the north; Avignon to the south. Montelimar appears equidistant between the two. I'll let those more familiar with the Valentinois region of southern France address attractions.
Jul 15th, 1998, 01:27 PM
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ATT: Wes Fowler Thank you for the info. At least now I have a starting point. PKL
Jul 22nd, 1998, 12:10 AM
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Sorry, dunno where it is but it's a damn fine Rhone wine. --Aj
Jul 23rd, 1998, 04:52 AM
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I located Marsanne on a Michelin map of Provence after Wes pointed out it was NE of Montélimar. It's not far from the A7 autoroute so you can easily travel to many places. I passed through this area last year on my way from Paris to Provence. Took the autoroute as far as Valence and then the N7 (2 lane road) from Valence to Aix-en-Provence. I stayed overnight in Valence as it was the end fo the the day and I didn't feel up to driving any farther. It doesn't have much to offer the tourist so I would suggest not going there unless your firends think differently.

There are great sights to the south of Marsanne at Orange, Avignon, et. al. Looking at a map, these two towns seem to be within an hour's drive and are well worth the trip.

Provence is Roman France and Orange has a Roman theatre, temple, and triumphal arch. Avignon was a papal seat during the 14th century and the Pope's Palace is magnificent. The Roman theatre in Orange is still used for concerts and operas. A few years ago a friend attended an opera there.

If you have time to go a little farther I recommend Aix-en-Provence (1 hour from Avignon on the secondary road - N7; less on the autoroute). August is festival time in Aix with lots of concerts (for (0)4-42-17-34-34; fax: (0)4-42-96-12-61). It's the birthplace of Cézanne and a university town. There's a large medieval area (pedestrian only) with many squares, shops, cafés, and interesting architecture. The fruit and flower markets on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday(?) are beautiful with flowers in one main square and produce in another. And the wide Cours Mirabeau with plane trees on either side of the street is lovely to stroll down or stop for refreshment in the cool shade.

In between Avignon and Aix are St-Rémy and Les-Baux-de-Provence. St-Rémy is a large town with more Roman ruins just outside the town (Glanum). They're still excavating the site. It's the birthplace of Nostradamus (there's a small plaque above the doorway of his house). The asylum where Van Gogh stayed and painted is here too. Beyond this, it's a pretty town to walk through and enjoy outdoor cafés. There's also an interesting museum devoted to regional costumes, agriculature, etc. housed in an historic hotel.

Les Baux is located on top of a bauxite plateau (hence the name Les Baux - for bauxite). It was a seat of courtly love in the 13th century. Most of the original village is gone but the panorama from the top is great and the new or "living" village is charming. Go early in the day to avoid parking too far away and coping with a hot uphill climb to the town - there's no shade as little vegetation grows in bauxite.

Wherever you go keep in mind that August 15 is a Catholic holy day and the holiday will probably include the following Monday to make a long weekend. This, coupled with August as a traditional French holiday month, means plenty of tourists so reserve hotels, restaurants early. If you need more information please email me.

Bon voyage

Jul 31st, 1998, 09:18 PM
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Adrienne: Thanks very much for your information. I am taking it with me and will incorporate some of it in to my stay there. I would have thanked you sooner, but my modem was fried (by lightening) last week and I just got it replaced today. I am by no means a "net junkie", but this past week was truly less enjoyable than it would have otherwise been. Thanks again for your help! PKL
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