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Chef-lieu of a canton in Drôme (26)

Stage town for the 5th time

Population: 9,500 (Tricastins, Tricastines)

Specialities: Tricastin black truffle. AOC Grignan-les-Adhémar wines, Eyguebelle syrups, olive oil, lavender.

Personalities: Brothers Joseph-François and Claude-François de Payan (revolutionaries), Genton du Barsac (local scholar and collector, 19th century), Patrice Lecomte (film director, owns a house in the canton), David Mollicone (Michelin-starred chef).

Sport: 32 associations (3,000 members), including Rubgy Club Tricastin (Fédérale 2), Triathlon Tricastin, Cercle nautique Tricastin, Masque de fer Tricastin, Galop Tricastin.

Events: Trail des truffières, Foulée Tricastine, Ronde de la truffe gran fondo, Triathlon Tricastin Olympic distance (May), Rando des collines mountain-bike (March).

Culture: Children's Book Festival (January), Truffle Omelette Festival (February), Polynesian Festival (June), St Paul Soul Jazz (July), Musicales in Tricastin (July), Parfum de Jazz Festival (August), Film Festival (feature films on the theme of peoples and cultures & short film night, October), Primeur Wines Festival (November).

Economy: Tricastin nuclear site (largest concentration of nuclear industry companies in France). EDF, CEA, Areva NC (including Eurodif, FBFC, Comurhex), Floor coverings (Gerflor, French leader). Tourism.

Motto: Heart and ambition

Labels: Tour de France Bike Town / Terre de Jeux / Remarkable Taste Site / Station Verte / Station Handisports / Marchés de France / Ville fleurie 3 / Ville où il fait bon vivre. 

Website and social networkswww.ville-saintpaultroischateaux.fr / www.drome-sud-provence.com / www.dromeprovencale.fr / https://ccdsp.fr   


SAINT-PAUL-TROIS-CHÂTEAUX AND CYCLING

Over the last fifteen years or so, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux has served as a relay for the Tour de France in the Rhône Valley on four occasions, each time for stage starts.  In 2011, the peloton headed for Gap, where Thor Hushovd won ahead of his compatriot Edvald Boasson-Hagen to secure Norway's first one-two finish in the Tour. The following year, the race stopped here again, heading for Cap d'Agde, where André Greipel showed off his speed.  In 2018, the riders set off for a stage that ended in Mende with Omar Fraile's victory. And in 2021, Nils Politt won in Nîmes.  The town has also hosted two Paris-Nice starts: in 2009, when Alberto Contador launched his bid for victory on Montagne de Lure, and in 2016, when Alexey Lutsenko won in Salon-de-Provence. The Critérium du Dauphiné also spent a day there in 1998 for a time trial won by Chris Boardman ahead of Gilles Maignan.


SIGHTS

  • Former Notre-Dame cathedral

Construction: 12th century.

Style: Romanesque.

History: Notre-Dame cathedral was begun in the middle of the 12th century from the choir and completed around 1220. It remained a cathedral until the French Revolution.

Characteristics: the nave, with its barrel vault and double-ribbed ceiling, is a magnificent 24-metres high. The bay before the transept has a false triforium on the first floor; the niches, framed by pilasters and colonnettes, are topped by a very fine frieze. There is also a fine early 18th-century organ case dating from 1704, made by Charles Boisselin of Avignon, and a curious bas-relief on the pulpit pillar. The main apse, vaulted into a cul-de-sac, is decorated with a good copy of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. The decoration consists of five classic Provençal Romanesque arcades with fluted or twisted columns topped with capitals.

Listed as: historical monument since 1841.  

  • Tricastin Archaeology Museum

Founded in 1986, the Tricastin Archaeology Museum houses some superb collections certified by Direction des Musées de France. Here you can discover the largest mosaic in Europe, measuring 108 m², as well as a 15th-century Hebraic Holy Ark. There is also an annual exhibition entitled "Vivre et mourir en Tricastin, de la Préhistoire au Moyen Âge" ("Living and dying in Tricastin, from prehistory to the Middle Ages").  

  • House of Truffles and Tricastin

Situated in the heart of the old town, next to the cathedral, the Maison de la truffe et du Tricastin is an ideal tourist and educational venue. A modern museography, objects, photos, showcases and drawings allow visitors to discover the fascinating world of the black truffle.

  • Hôtel de Castellane 

Construction: 16th century.

History: this former mansion, a 16th-century building, bears the name of the Castellane family, powerful landowners in the town. Two of the great bishops of St Paul-Trois-Châteaux in the 18th century came from this family. Bought by the town at the end of the 19th century, the building is now the headquarters of the town hall.

Characteristics: on the façade, the masterly balcony of the council chamber, the coat of arms of the town and a female figure above the door, probably symbolising the Republic. Listed as: historical monument since 1939.  

  • Notre-Dame Gate and ramparts

Construction: 14th century.

Style: medieval.

Features: Dating back to the 12th century, the medieval ramparts are very well preserved, particularly in the north of the town where the harsh climate did little to encourage the construction of openings. Several gates, which have retained their defensive aspect, are still in place: Porte Notre-Dame, Porte des Grandes Fontaines and Porte Fanjoux.

Listed as: Historical Monument since 1926.


DRINK:

  • Wines of Grignan-les-Adhémar

Hampered by the notoriety of the nuclear power station of the same name, but also by the small size of their vineyards, the former Coteaux du Tricastin have obtained an exceptional decision from the INAO to rename their appellation Grignan-les-Adhémar from the 2010 harvest. The decision was backed up by a new set of specifications with yields limited to 45 hl/ha, increased Syrah and Viognier grape varieties (minimum 30 pc per vineyard), a ban on total weed control, leading to better tillage of the soil, and an incentive to develop organic farming. Red wines account for more than 70 pc of production and express their own personality within the Rhône Valley through a successful marriage of six red grape varieties: Syrah and Grenache, backed up by Carignan, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Marselan. Their wines are lively, with a nose that exudes spices (cinnamon, pepper, vanilla), red and black fruit as well as hints of liquorice and garrigue. It takes a few years for the truffle aromas to develop, no doubt due to the fact that the vines were planted on former truffle oak land.

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