Sablet, Provence, France
Situated in an area between the pre-alps and the Mediterranean Sea, many people traveled through the area over the centuries; but its history probably started in the 9th century when, to save the village from the invading Sarrasins, the first fortifications were built.
Sablet is famous for its book fair “Journée du Livre de Sablet” celebrated in the center of the village the 3rd weekend of every July. Well known authors and literary enthusiasts from all over come to the village for book readings and signings for this fête which spreads to many of the Sablet wineries where special events are held with music and other entertainment.
In the main village square, there is Café des Sports; a good place to watch the world go by, gossip with the locals or read the paper while you enjoy your morning coffee.
The attached Cornucopia restaurant offers large salads and a moderately priced 3-course menu at lunch. The La Come Di next door churns out the pizzas.
There is also a casual family restaurant right next door to the Café in the main village square called Au Chat Qui Miaule. There is indoor dining and a large terrace for outdoor dining.
Within 2 to 3 minutes walking distance from the house, you can find most everything you will require during your stay in the village; two boulangeries (bakeries), boucherie (butcher), a well-stocked mini mart, a florist, a pharmacy, a tabac/presse (where you can buy local and Parisian daily newspapers such as the Le Monde, Figaro, La Provence and the International New York Times), 2 hair salons, a bibliothèque (library), bank with atm machine and post office.
Sablet is known for its production of Côtes du Rhône Villages wine. The vineyards were first cultivated by the Counts of Toulouse to whom the area then belonged. During the 14th century, the vineyards became papal possessions when the papacy moved to Avignon. Sablet was awarded the classification Côtes du Rhône Villages Sablet in 1974.
In 1867 after most of the vineyards of France were ravaged by Phylloxera, local resident François-Frédéric Leydier invented a device that enabled American root stock to be grafted onto French vines, thus thwarting the epidemic. Ironically, Sablet is one of the few places in France that did not require Phylloxera resistant root stock.
A wonderful fish monger comes to the village and sets up a stall every Friday morning in the main village square. You can find an amazing assortment of fresh fish and seafood from the Mediterranean Sea and from off the coast of Brittany. He will be happy to tell you the best way to cook each one.
A goat farmer brings his freshly made goat cheese to the village and sets up a stand on Friday morning alongside the fish stall in the main village square. You can get perfect disks of freshly made goat cheese for your chèvre (goat cheese) chaud (warm) salad.
In case of medical or dental emergencies, there is a small health center with a physician and dentist on duty.
Just past Place de la Liberation you will find the Tourist Office or “Syndicat d’Initiative” where you can find all the information you will need about the village and about touring the area. The tourist office is also the showcase for the local independent wine-makers who have made the village famous; you can taste and buy their wines there.
In Sablet, you will find charming and picturesque shaded streets adorned with flowers, passageways with exposed beams, fountains and stone village houses lined along the narrow streets which curl up in concentric circles to the Romanesque church of St. Nazaire (12th century). The bell tower of the church of St. Nazaire is the highest point in the village.
The city walls and towers were probably started in the 14th century and completed in 1500. It has recently been restored by the Association des Compagnons des Barrys; it remains one of the most beautiful reminders of historic times in Sablet.
Within a few minutes’ drive, there are many other restaurants from simple establishments serving locally produced seasonal dishes along with traditional Provençal dishes to those serving more refined fare such as Coteaux and Fourchettes in Cairanne, L'Oustalet in Gigondas, and Campagne, Vignes & Gourmandises in Saint Cecile les Vignes.
Vacation House For Rent