Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Reportage photo OENOJAZZ @pelut.charlene 79 - In the south of France, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the Pays d'Orange Provence is an ideal place to stay and discover the beauty and richness of Provence's heritage and culture.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape, recognized as a Remarkable Taste Site in 2006 and France's 1st AOC since 1936, is also a charming village of 2,100 inhabitants situated on a rocky hillside. Summer residence of the Avignon popes, Châteauneuf-du-Pape still preserves the remains of its château des papes.

Thanks to its location along the Rhône River, its architectural heritage bears witness to its history as a fortified village and holiday resort. It is also a typically Provencal village, inviting you to enjoy the good life and discover its gourmet terroir.

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Remarkable taste site

The "Site Remarquable du Goût" is a French tourist and gastronomic recognition awarded to communes, localities or traditional agri-food establishments.

BOUACHON - THE WINE PAVILION - CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE
Castles and estates

With 3,128 ha in production and 320 winery owners in the 5 communes of the Pays d'Orange en Provence, discover the region's Châteaux and estates. Visits, tastings, activities, stores, workshops, local produce...

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Contact the Châteauneuf-du-Pape Tourist Office

La grande Fontaine

chateauneuf9 50 Pays Orange Provence - In the south of France, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the Pays d'Orange Provence is the ideal place to stay and discover the beauty and richness of Provence's heritage and culture.Like any typical Provencal village, Châteauneuf-du-Pape has a main watering place, the Grande Fontaine, where men and animals used to come to quench their thirst and washerwomen to meet around the washhouse (1744) that stood next to it until 1977, when it was demolished.

The spring that feeds this fountain is located several kilometers away, on the outskirts of the village, in a place called Grand Pierre. The Grande Fontaine de Châteauneuf-du-Pape is first mentioned in a document dating from 1635, but its construction certainly goes back further. It is one of the so-called "prestige" fountains with an important decorative role. Embellished with sculptures and ornaments, it is ideally situated in the Place du Portail (the town's former main entrance) for all to see.

Over the centuries, the Grande Fontaine has sometimes stopped flowing. Residents were then forced to fetch water for daily tasks from the "Souspiron" fountain (200 meters below) or, in certain years, from the Rhône. With the landing in Provence, the occupying forces retreated.

A Miraculous Fountain  

Every year in August, Châteauneuf-du-Pape dons its festive finery and plunges back into its glorious medieval past. It is said that the Grande Fontaine, as the Sovereign Pontiff passes by, starts spitting out the good wine from our vines. Popular fantasy or legend, there's no legend without a grain of truth. To find out for yourself, join us on the first weekend of August for the Fête médiévale de la Véraison

The Great Portal and the fortifications

Portail des Arènes © akta 1 Pays Orange Provence - In the south of France, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the Pays d'Orange Provence is an ideal place to stay and discover the beauty and richness of Provence's heritage and culture.In the 11th century, the Viscounts Béranger built the present-day church, a defense tower and ramparts at the top of the hill to draw the villagers under their protection and thus benefit from royalties.

By 1344, the village had grown to two thousand inhabitants. A second ring of ramparts was then built, the course of which is still visible today (Rue Commandant Lemaître and Rue de la République) and protected the town until the mid-19th century. Over the centuries, these walls were damaged and eventually demolished as the village expanded.

The bottom of Rue Joseph Ducos is the site of the old fortified gateway, the main entrance to the town. Known as the "Porte d'Avignon" or "Grand Portail", it was equipped with a drawbridge in the Middle Ages. Renovated over the centuries, it was destroyed in 1842.

La Chapelle Saint-Théodorit

Chapelle St Theodorit exterieur © akta 5 Pays Orange Provence - In the south of France, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the Pays d'Orange Provence is an ideal place to stay and discover the beauty and richness of Provence's heritage and culture.This little chapel is undoubtedly the oldest monument in the village, as attested by the burials found in the cemetery that surrounds the building at the time. Built in the 11th century, it marks the center of the first village. It is dedicated to Saint Theodorit, priest of Antioch, martyred by the Romans and patron saint of the village until 1893.

This Romanesque-style chapel features a single round-vaulted nave, a semicircular apse and lintelled windows. Renovation work carried out in 1984-1985 restored the deteriorating monument and uncovered several remains of frescoes from different periods. The main part of these frescoes depicts the apostles. These remains, strongly influenced by Byzantine art, date from the 12th century and are unique in the region. A mystical soul naturally emanates from this old sanctuary, witness to centuries of village history.

The restaurants

Slider img 3 - In the south of France, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the Pays d'Orange Provence is an ideal place to stay and discover the beauty and richness of Provence's heritage and culture.Discover its traditional and gourmet restaurantsWith a choice of magnificent views over the surrounding vineyards or creative cuisine using local, seasonal ingredients and, of course, excellent local wine selections.

The Town Hall

chateauneuf du pape mars 2022 orange tourisme 2 Chateauneufdupape Tourisme - In the south of France, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the Pays d'Orange Provence is an ideal place to stay and discover the beauty and richness of Provence's heritage and culture.Under the Ancien Régime, the town's administration was organized around three consuls, elected for one year by all heads of household.
Since 1764, this mansion has housed the "Maison Commune et Consulaire", and to this day, the Hôtel de Ville of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Seat of the municipal administration, it was also at this time the place where the archives were preciously kept, in which were recorded the acknowledgements of rights and privileges obtained throughout the centuries by the inhabitants.

 
The oldest parchment dates from 1157, a copy of a 10th-century manuscript.

 
The first floor of the Hôtel de Ville was used as a schoolhouse until 1850, and collective memory has it that it was also used as a prison for a time...

Rue de l'église, also known as "Rompe cul" street

Village © Julien Audigier 4 Pays Orange Provence - In the south of France, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the Pays d'Orange Provence is an ideal place to stay and discover the beauty and richness of Provence's heritage and culture.Opposite you, steep and craggy, Rue de l'Eglise, which hasn't always been so named. The village elders still call it "Rompe Cul" street, from the Provençal "Roumpo qiéu" meaning "Break ass".
Although difficult to climb, be even more careful on the way down!

It's said in Châteauneuf-du-Pape that there have been so many falls over the centuries, that you can still hear the screams and curses of the victims on this street. So, if you're reading this, be warned!

Church of Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption

Eglise interieur © akta 7 Pays Orange Provence - In the south of France, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the Pays d'Orange Provence is an ideal place to stay and discover the beauty and richness of Provence's heritage and culture.The community's original church was built in the 11th century at the same time as
the city's first rampart. Romanesque in style and small in size (18 meters long by 5.40 meters wide), it consisted of a single nave and was located inside the fortified enclosure. Completely altered over the centuries, only part of today's chancel remains of this primitive church.

In 1321, Pope John XXII commissioned the construction of a side chapel dedicated to Saint Martin. In 1551, another chapel was built, dedicated to Saint Anne. At the time, both chapels were attached to the rampart. At the south-east corner of the church stood a defensive tower, whose loopholes are still visible today. This tower, which now supports the present-day bell tower, belonged to the community, which for centuries kept its archives there and installed a clock there in the 16th century.

The parish church underwent two periods of major modification. Between 1783 and 1784, "threatening ruin", the bishop ordered work to be carried out, enlarging the nave and demolishing the steeple for lack of funds. Between 1853 and 1859, to make up for the lack of space, "a small nave to the north and another to the south of the existing one" were built, considerably increasing the church's surface area.

The chapels of Sainte Anne and Saint Martin were sacrificed for the expansion. The bell tower was rebuilt on the site of the former defense tower. Dedicated to Notre-Dame in 1321, then to Saint Théodorit in 1504, it is now dedicated to Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption.

The landmark

P 15187 la borne territoriale - In the south of France, in the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the Pays d'Orange Provence is the ideal place to stay and discover the beauty and richness of Provence's heritage and culture.This landmark, found in 1980 at a place called Montbuisson, marked the boundary between Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the principality of Orange. 

In its original location, the north-west face marked with a horn faces Orange. The south-east face faces Châteauneuf. The horn was the coat of arms of the principality of Orange. On the other side, the Latin cross certainly symbolized Pontifical power. 

THE PAPAL CASTLE

It was Pope John XXII who chose to build a residence at "Châteauneuf Calcernier", now Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which was both a holiday resort and, above all, a defense post. 

Located to the north of the papal city, the site borders the principality of Orange. Its strategic position, high up and on the banks of the Rhône, enabled it to control the access route from the north. Construction of the château began in 1317, a year after the election of Jean XXII, and was completed in 1333, a year before his death. The village was also fortified and a new, larger enclosure built. Evidence of this work can be found as early as 1316, a year before the castle was built. 

Pope Clement VII spent the most time at the Château. Other towns, such as Sorgues and Malaucène, were also secondary residences of the Popes, but very few architectural features from this period remain.

 

The castle after the Popes

After the Papacy left for Rome in the early 15th century, the will and resources to maintain the château were lacking. The bishops and archbishops of Avignon, who were responsible for the castle, relinquished it and it fell into disrepair. However, during the Wars of Religion, the castle's strategic location enabled it to return to service.
In the 17th century, despite its dilapidation, the site was still occupied, and restoration and repairs were undertaken. Numerous prix-faits bear witness to this work and, to a lesser extent, provide information on the château's state of preservation and the nature of the work undertaken.
In 1798, at the end of the French Revolution, the château and its grounds were sold at auction to a certain J.B. Establet, acting on behalf of some thirty of his fellow citizens. A year later, he sold it back to his sponsors in equal shares.

The D-Day landings in Provence led to the retreat of the occupying forces.
The château garrison, which had been storing explosives and ammunition, blew it up before leaving on August 20, 1944, destroying the entire northern part of the château. Only the south side of the keep and the cellar remained intact. The west facade, although already
in ruins, withstood the blast and its windows still show the castle's three-storey layout. 700 years have passed since its construction, and despite the ravages of war and time, the sun-drenched remains of the Pontifical Castle still stand proudly atop the hill, crowning the village.

During the Second World War, the Germans occupied the site and
transformed the keep (115 m above sea level) into an arms depot and anti-aircraft observation post. Following the Provence landings, threatened by the arrival of Allied troops on August 20, 1944, German troops blew up the keep, destroying the entire northern part of the château. Only the south side of the keep and the cellar remained intact. The west facade, though already in ruins, survived the blast, and its windows still show the castle's three-storey layout.

In 1892, the château was classified as a historical monument.

In 1960, the town council decided to build a reception hall in the Pontifical Cellar. Work was carried out, and the room was restored to its former splendor for ceremonies such as those organized by the Echansonnerie des Papes.

In 2013, waterproofing work was carried out by the municipality. This work will be followed by the interior refurbishment and accessibility of the Pontifical Cellar.

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