Our Vacation Rental Homes in Sablet, Provence

Sablet Village, Vaucluse, Provence, France
Maison des Pelerins and La Baume des Pelerins, or "les Pelerins" as we affectionately refer to our dream come true, of owning our own homes in Provence, are located in the heart of the Vaucluse. We thoroughly enjoy hearing from our guests to "les Pelerins" that they feel they are spending time in their own home in Provence. To be a part of village life, Sablet is the perfect place. "Les Pelerins" dates back to the time when the Popes administered the Catholic Church from Avignon, with a Papal Vice-Legat having a residence right here in Sablet. Our neighbor's home was the Vice-Legat's residence. Ours was one of the buildings that housed visitors and pilgrims and was connected to it, as we can see from the internal portals, and the front door of Maison des Pelerins. Hence the name - Pelerins is French for pilgrims. I hope this Blog will help you get to know Provence and live your Provencal Dream.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Le Vendange Provençal or The Wine Harvest in Provence

Looking across the vineyards busy with harvesters, our hostess pointed and said, “le vendange.”
That was on a beautiful autumn day in Provence during the vendange of 2001,
well before we purchased our home in Sablet – Maison des Pelerins.
We were staying at a Chambres d’hotes in Pernes-les-Fontaines. 
Our hostess suggested that we would have some of the freshly picked grapes
at dinner that night. 
That sounded great – but I wasn’t expecting anything like the grapes we ate. 
They were the sweetest, juiciest grapes that I had ever eaten –
 to quote Diane Lane in the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun,  “they even tasted purple”!

Sablet - Provence - Vineyards surround the small village of Sablet
Fast forward:  All through the summer we watch the bunches of grapes hanging on the vines.
Progressing from  small, tight, green clumps to deep purple, plump grapes that seem to overload their stems. 
In French, “une grape” is a bunch of grapes, the individual grapes are “les raisins”. 
As the season progresses, the vintners check the fruit,
trim the vines to make sure that the fruit are getting all the nutrients they need
for a bountiful harvest, and hope it doesn’t rain at the wrong time! 
The anticipation builds and builds until the announcement of the date on which
 “le vendange commence” (the wine harvest begins)!

Provence - Two streams of grapes so dark purple that they are hard to distinguish from the dark metal of the large mechanical picker as they pour into the truck that will take them back to be crushed and turned into delicious Cote du Rhone wine. 
That date sets in motion the arrival of the vineyard workers, usually towards the end of August. 
They come from many different places – whole families
who have worked in the area in years past.
During our first late August in Sablet, we noticed the vacant vllage houses 
suddenly being occupied, by families moving in, complete with everything they needed
 to live for the duration of the vendange.

Sablet - Provence - La Gravillas Cave Cooperative - One of the long line of tractors - just unloaded a trailer full of grapes to be crushed, sugar measured and seperated from stems and seeds.  Then off to get the fermentation started in large vats.

Then the signs on the side of the road saying, “Attention!  Vendange en cours”
What are they talking about?           It’s a warning......
that the roads of Provence will be crowded with slow tractors and smaller grape transporters
on their way to and from the vineyards and the Domaine or Cave Cooperative
to unload and then go back for the next load of sun warmed, sweet, sticky grapes.
The pace of traffic on all the roads in the area slows down to accommodate these vehicles.

Provence - near Orange Sud - Even on a very warm Autumn day, grape pickers working in one of the Cote du Rhone fields are ready to have fun when a camera is near.

In the fields, the grape pickers – their hands stained purple and sticky from grape juice,
are hard at work, but always good natured and never too busy
to have fun with passers by who wish to take pictures.
Lining up at the Cave Cooperative you see load after load of grapes come in,
unload, get their receipt for the load, and check on the sugar content before heading back to the fields.
This happens daily and continues until all the grapes have been picked
and it’s time to trim the vines and let them rest over the winter,
in preparation for next year's crop.   As the fall progresses,
 the clippings will be burned in bonfires right in the vineyards all around the area
- signalling the beginning of the winter season. Then the  cycle will start again.
All of this is happening right about now in Sablet.  I hope you enjoy some of the pictures of the 2009 Vendange – here’s to a great  2010 vintage!

2011 Update

I heard a few days ago that the Vendange has already begun in Provence - early this year, but the grapes are ready!
Here's to a great vintage! 


  1. What a dream lifestyle you have. I love this blog. I came by via the blog catalogue.

  2. Wordsmith - Thanks so much for your kind words - Provence and especially Sablet have a way of making one relax. It's nice to have such great subject matter to write about!