Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux

Festivals for all seasons

St Paul Trois Chateaux hosts festivals all year round and some have an international audience.

In January, the youth book fair attracts young readers form the whole south-east of France and is considered one of the major events in France for children books.

In April, the Guitar Biennale invites the biggest names of the instrument in its classical form. For each edition, a composer is asked to produce a work, adding to the event’s worldwide reputation.

In May, the town turns into a Polynesian community with crafts and food from the islands and traditional tattooists.

Jazz stars in the summer with two festivals, Soul Jazz in July, paying homage to soul music and funk, and one of the rare events in Europe dedicated to theses styles. In August, Parfum de Jazz, with gigs in several cities in Drome, is more versatile.

The October film festival bravely defends innovative and independent cinema. Selected films must deal with the theme “people and cultures” while a competition of short films is also organised.  

Where are the three castles  ?

Dungeon and moat lovers will be disappointed – there are no castles in St Paul Trois Chateaux. The name of the city and of the region comes from the Gaul tribe of the Tricastini. Only later, local historians wrongly concluded that the name might derive from the Latin Tricastinorum, meaning three castles. 

Polynesian festival - © Jérémie JardinSaint-Paul Soul Jazz - © Cathy Cooper
One previous stage
Drome department  (26)
Population: 8,940 (Tricastins, Tricastines)Specialities : black truffle of Tricastin, coteaux du Tricastin wines, olive, picodon, lavender.
Celebrities : Payan brothers (French Revolutionaries), Patrice Leconte (director)
Sport : Rando des collines (mountain-bike), Saint-Paul–Trois-Châteaux triathlon.
Economy : Tricastin nuclear site (6,000 jobs), coating.
Festivals : Truffle festival, Film fesrtival, Children bookfair. 

Timeline

  • 4th to 1st century BC

    The tow is the capital of the Gaul tribe of the Tricastini.
  • 4th century

    Civitas Tricastinorum becomes a bishop see.
  • 12th century

    Construction of the cathedral, a masterpiece of Provencal Romanesque art.
  • 16th century

    The Reformation gains grounds and several mansions are built in town, like the Hotel de Castellane, now housing the town hall.
  • 1685

    Construction of a new hospital.
  • 17th century

    Construction of the Hotel de Castellane which is now the Town Hall.
  • 1974

    Construction of the Tricastin nuclear plant.
  • 1980

    Opening of the Tircastin nuclear plant.
The cathedral - © Aurore Alcalay
One previous stage
Drome department  (26)
Population: 8,940 (Tricastins, Tricastines)Specialities : black truffle of Tricastin, coteaux du Tricastin wines, olive, picodon, lavender.
Celebrities : Payan brothers (French Revolutionaries), Patrice Leconte (director)
Sport : Rando des collines (mountain-bike), Saint-Paul–Trois-Châteaux triathlon.
Economy : Tricastin nuclear site (6,000 jobs), coating.
Festivals : Truffle festival, Film fesrtival, Children bookfair. 

Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux and cycling

The stages which set off from Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux are generally followed by intense and decisive confrontations. This was the case in 2009, when the Paris-Nice peloton set off to conquer the Montagne de Lure, where Alberto Contador proved to be outstanding. The following year, during the Critérium du Dauphiné, the riders left the town heading for Risoul, where the stage, which was won by Nicolas Vogondy, was also favourable to the young French riders Romain Sicard (2nd), Pierre Rolland (6 th) and Rémi Pauriol (9 th). During the 2011 Tour, the Norwegian riders were inspired by this start in Drôme, as Thor Hushovd finished first ahead of his fellow countryman Edvald Boasson Hagen, a unique double success.

Nicolas Vogondy won a Dauphine stage in Risoul starting from St Paul Trois Chateaux in 2010 - © Presse SportsNorwegian double Hushovd - Boasson Hagen on the finish line of the Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux - Gap stage in the 2011 Tour - © Presse Sports
One previous stage
Drome department  (26)
Population: 8,940 (Tricastins, Tricastines)Specialities : black truffle of Tricastin, coteaux du Tricastin wines, olive, picodon, lavender.
Celebrities : Payan brothers (French Revolutionaries), Patrice Leconte (director)
Sport : Rando des collines (mountain-bike), Saint-Paul–Trois-Châteaux triathlon.
Economy : Tricastin nuclear site (6,000 jobs), coating.
Festivals : Truffle festival, Film fesrtival, Children bookfair. 

What to see

Notre-Dame de Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux cathedral

The cathedral was placed on the first list of Monuments Historiques by Prosper Merimee in 1841. The 24 metres-high vaulted nave is impressive. The 18th century organ is another masterpiece. It was made in 1704 by Avignon’s Charles Boisselin. The strange bas-relief on the pillar of the pulpit is another must-see.

Hotel de Castellane

The old 16th century mansion bears the name of the Catsellanne family, powerful landowners in town. Two of the town’s bishops in the 18th century were members of the family. Bought by the municipality in the late 19th century, it now houses the town hall.

In Pierrelatte  

The crocodile farm is private 8,000 m2 zoo in which live some 350 different species of reptiles, maintly crocodiles, and tortues. The farm, beyond its tourist appeal, is also iused for scientific purposes. 

L’Espan square - © Cathy cooperNotre-Dame gate - © Aurore Alcalay
One previous stage
Drome department  (26)
Population: 8,940 (Tricastins, Tricastines)Specialities : black truffle of Tricastin, coteaux du Tricastin wines, olive, picodon, lavender.
Celebrities : Payan brothers (French Revolutionaries), Patrice Leconte (director)
Sport : Rando des collines (mountain-bike), Saint-Paul–Trois-Châteaux triathlon.
Economy : Tricastin nuclear site (6,000 jobs), coating.
Festivals : Truffle festival, Film fesrtival, Children bookfair. 

Mayday Lily

The French tradition of offering a lily of the valley on Mayday was born in St Paul Trois Chateaux, in the mansion known today as Hotel de l’Esplan. In the 16th century, the house belonged to the knights Girard of Maisonforte. In 1564, the Queen Mother Catherine of Medici was returning to Paris from consulting fortune-teller Nostradamus and she stopped in St Paul. She discovered lilies, a flower she did not know, and the knight Girard offered her a bunch for her garden. Present that day, future King Charles IX thought it a good idea to offer the flowers to the ladies of the court saying: “May these flowers bring you luck and so be it every year.”

At the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom on the 1st of May to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a symbol of springtime. The government permits individuals and workers' organisations to sell them free of tax. It is also traditional for the lady receiving the spray of lily of valley to give a kiss in return. Now, people may present loved ones with bunches of lily of the valley or dog rose flowers

The tradition of the Mayday Lily was born in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux
One previous stage
Drome department  (26)
Population: 8,940 (Tricastins, Tricastines)Specialities : black truffle of Tricastin, coteaux du Tricastin wines, olive, picodon, lavender.
Celebrities : Payan brothers (French Revolutionaries), Patrice Leconte (director)
Sport : Rando des collines (mountain-bike), Saint-Paul–Trois-Châteaux triathlon.
Economy : Tricastin nuclear site (6,000 jobs), coating.
Festivals : Truffle festival, Film fesrtival, Children bookfair. 
video14/07/2012 

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