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DEPARTMENT OF THE DROME : 26

Blason_Drome The Drôme department is part of Rhône Alpes. Its name comes from the river that flows through it.

History/Geography
The department was created during the French revolution from part of the Dauphiné region.
The department is very big and has a great variety of landscapes. People often tend to forget that it is a neighbour to the Hautes-Alpes and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and therefore has its own share of mountains with its highest summit at 2 456m.

The department is geographically cut into areas:
-la Drôme of the hills, which is in the north of the region and very green, it very much resembles the Monts du Lyonnais in the Rhône department
-la plaine de Valence to the west of the cul du Loup
-le Vercors to the east
-la vallée de la Drôme at the foot of the Vercors
-la Drôme provençale to the south

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Grignan et son château – (Drôme Provençale) - © RAT/P. Fournier
Climate
The department has a continental climate with a Mediterranean influence to the north of the Drôme river.
Between Livron and Montélimar the climate is Mediterranean with a continental influence.
The climate is Mediterranean to the south of Montélimar.
To the east, where the mountains start, the climate is harsher.

There are 2 main winds: le Mistral (north wind) that dries the air
Le Marin (south wind) that brings gentle but humid air from the Mediterranean.
These winds can be violent, particularly in the Rhône valley.

The region has plenty of rain, 850 to 950mm in the valleys. The rainfalls are quite evenly spreads throughout the year.
It can also snow, more particularly in the Drôme valley though not on a regular basis.

With the Ardèche and the Vaucluse the Drôme department has the most electrical storms. The storms in autumn can be violent, as they can be during the summer months.

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Buis-les-Baronnies (Drôme Provençale) - © RAT/JL. Rigaux
What to do and see
puce Nature:
The Valdaine is a plain, between the Rhône and Vercors where there are many small villages perched on the slopes. The farmhouses here are lovely and the orchards rich in variety… it certainly smells like the south starts here.

Le jardin des arômes is a garden with over 200 varieties of aromatic plants.

puce Activities:
Valrhona chocolate factory is the place to go if you love chocolate, and who doesn’t?.
Musée de l’insolite, has a collection of very unusual objects.
Musée provençal des Arts et Traditions Populaires, with everyday objects used during the 19th and 20th centuries.
La ferme aux crocodiles with its 500 crocodiles is worth a look.
Musée de l’Olivier traces the history around the olive since roman times.
La maison de la Truffe will share with you some of the secrets of the truffle or « the black diamond » as it is often called.
Le musée du livre et de la Typographie is dedicated to the history of books and printing techniques.

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Drôme Provençale – © RAT/P. Blanc
puce Sightseeing:
Romans is the former shoemaking capital of France. It is still possible to buy brand shoes at a discount. The villages in this area are very picturesque. The abbey dates back to the 10th century and the town was built around it. It was once the only place where it was possible to cross the Isère, south of Grenoble.

The visit of the chateau de Crussol, near Valence, gives one the opportunity of admiring the view as it is possible to encompass Tain-l’Hermitage, Tournon, Valence, Romans and Soyons.

Montélimar, further south, is the nougat capital. It is often said that this is where the south begins. The architecture here is much admired as buildings dating from the 12th century nestle alongside those dating from the 17th century.

Mirmande has been well restored and is today the heart of the artistic life in the Drôme.
Cliousclat, just north, is classed as one of the most beautiful villages of France and is today know for its pottery.

La Grade-Adhémar has a well preserved architectural heritage with buildings dating back to the 12th century.
Nyons, in the Drôme provençale, is known as “la capitale de l’olive”. Olives were introduced in the region over 2 000 years ago by the Romans.

Le château de Grignan is one of the biggest renaissance château in southeast France.
The village of Rousset-les-Vignes is classed as a historical monument.

The department has much to offer and buying a property here will certainly enable you to make the most of the region.

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