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The home of Nougat

If, like ex-President Jaques Chirac once confessed, you're addicted to nougat then Montelimar might just be your version of heaven. It's a friendly market town home to just over 30,000 sweet-toothed inhabitants. The town's economic success, as well as its worldwide notoriety, began in the 16th Century when almond trees were brought over from Asia. A local, Oliver de Serres realised that its produce could be combined with honey from Provence and the Alps to create a delightful, chewy mixture, which is still synonymous with Montélimar today.

The genuine article

In much the same way that Champagne monitors its sparkling wines, strict tests are carried out to ensure that all nougat that carries the town's name is of the highest quality. If it isn't 28% peeled almonds, 16% honey and 2% pistachio nuts then you're going to have to start again. To find out what makes up the other 54% you'll have to tour one of their factories although they are not that keen to give away too many secrets.

A place to relax

The ever-lively old town, which can be entered through any of its four ancient gates, is a great place to take a stroll. You can browse a wide range of interesting shops or simply take time to admire the glorious architecture and colourful façades that loom over the semi-pedestrianised streets. You'll also find some great places to eat out as Montélimar's culinary specialities extend much further than dessert. Make sure you try their locally produced truffles, picodon and Lavender honey. The Côtes du Rhône and Tricastin wines are most popular.

The Parisian life

To the west of the town centre you'll discover the Allées Provençales with its Parisian styled wide boulevards lined with shaded cafés. This is the place to find the best boutiques as well as pick up some local produce.

The best views

Just to the east of the town you'll find the 12th Century chateau that was considerably enlarged two centuries later on the orders of the Pope. From 1790 to 1929 it was put to use as a prison. Now tourists are free to wander around and, for much of the year, enjoy the artwork on display. The highlight is the Narbonne Tower on the north side. It's well worth climbing the colossal staircase to appreciate the fine panoramic views from the top.

Less is more

Montélimar has its own Musée de la Miniature, which is proving a big hit with visitors. Everything shown is one twelfth of its original size and made from the same materials. Each time you come you can be assured of seeing something new as the collections are on a continuous rotation.

How to get there

There are a number of ways of getting to Montélimar. Lyon, Marseille and Nîmes all have regular flights to and from the UK. Alternatively you could arrive in Lyon or Nîmes on the TGV and hire a car from there.

Montelimar property prices

The Rhône Alps are the third biggest tourist destination in France and prices in the area are above national average, although well below that of Paris. You should find, however, that the area around Montélimar is much more affordable than the rest of the region to the north.

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Montélimar AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Montélimar?

Located in the south-west of the Drôme department in the Rhône Alps.

Montélimar Property Map


Rhône-Alpes Guide

Rhône-Alpes Property Map


Drôme Guide

  Drôme Map

Population: 30,000

Access: Nearest airports and TGV stations are to be found in Lyon and Nîmes.

Economy: The town's number one export is still nougat, along with truffles, picodon, Lavender honey, Côtes du Rhône and Tricastin wines.

Interesting fact: The recipe of the town's delicious nougat is still a closely kept secret.

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