The village of Nyons, or NIOM in Provence is a town of 7000 people, situated south of the Drome department. We went there by chance, because the place had the reputation of being a "little Nice" with sun all year long. Not disappointed, it is a gorgeous old village with a nice Roman bridge and a couple of interesting churches. The only bad thing is that it was far from the freeway and to get to the A7 which goes from Avignon to Valence one had to return by the same route. The town is constructed next to the river Eygues, surrounded by mountains, which gives it its nice climate. The 19th century people constructed summer homes in the region. It is a village that has existed since Celtic times and Romans' developing. Niomes is mentioned as first in the tenth century But everything comes from the XIII century, thanks to the presence of the Popes and the Catholic church headquarters in Avignon. Businessmen arrive from Italy, and a Jewish community. Today iit s a quiet place that deserves a day visit.
The Roman bridge under which the river Eygues passes was opened in 1409 by the Bishop of Vaison, the people to whom Nyons was bound by his parish. The bridge allowed the inhabitants spend the medieval old town across the river to travel or cultivate the land. There was a guard system on each side and had to pay a toll to pass. The toll tower is no longer in the center of the bridge. The removed in the nineteenth century. In the limbs were also two chapels, San Sebastian and San Sixth. Construction on the bridge began in 1340 to make this arc of 43 meters long and 18 meters high. Although the Eygues river is very strong and has taken other bridges in its strong currents, it hasn't yet been able to take this 14th century bridge. This bridge has been a historical monument since 1925 and it's even on some of the city's stamps!
It's really nice to be able to take a walk through the historic center of Nyons. The medieval streets are well preserved, and the people are adorable. This village grew mostly in late thirteenth century when the Popes were installed in Avignon, an hour of Nyons. You can see the famous Roman bridge, the feudal castle, and even the old 16th century castle. Then there Santiado door, where there was a big 15 meter high tower that was sold at auction to a kid who later destroyed it. What a pity! Alongside the religious buildings is where you'll find Randonne, which is a tower overlooking the city, is a small chapel with a statue of the Virgin. Then go down to the old monastery of Saint - Césaire, a place that existed from the ninth century and was the owner of Nyons Medieval to 1317 before moving their rights to the Popes of Avignon. St. Vincent's Church is also worth a visit, is a seventeenth century building with a large collection of artwork that was recovered from a convent.
We went to Nyons the day of the Corso, a large carnival in the city. They had installed a few stalls everywhere to throw an all night party. There were food stalls with, churros, fried burgers and other things that kids normally love to eat during carnivals. There was a fair with rides and ferris wheels, the house of horrors and booths where you win a stuffed animal that's too huge for any room. The party begins in the late afternoon after the parade. Since the city isn't very big we thought the parade would last about 30 minutes, but cars passed for nearly 4 hours. It's a very happy and pretty party with all the flowers they use and people decorates their cars in a different theme each year.
The specialty of Nyons is olive oil. It is a designation of origin, and Nyons is special because it is the most northerly place to grow olives. It enjoys an exceptional climate. The olive tree they have is rustic and withstands temperatures of minus 10 degrees. The oil is more expensive than Spanish and Italian oils, but also very good, and this cooperative is dedicated to promoting olive-based products. For example soaps, but also by weight olives, black or green, farming oil ... At the entrance is a bar where you can sample the wines and oils, being served in a glass! They say that this is more apparent oil taste and it is also very good for health. Nyons produces wines "Cotes du Rhone". This cooperative system also enables farmers to get a better price for their products. We got a honey with walnuts which was delightful, and chestnut-based products, typical of the Ardeche region.
The Provencal Drome, the southern third of the Drome department, headed by Valence. It is a series of landscapes and towns that make you think that you're in Provence, lavender fields, climate and culture similar to that of Provence. The towns of interest are Grignan, a city famous for its medieval center and castle, where the Marquise de Sevigne lived. Then you Adhemar castle, the castle of Aulan. You can stay in a country hotel pretty cheap and be totally in the countryside, leaving a day of visits to these villages, the day after an oil mill and a wine cellar, mixed culture with gastronomy and generally good weather. As for the religious buildings of the monastery have Trappe D'Aiguebelle, where Trappist monks produce alcohol, and fruit syrup. The most beautiful natural places are Donzere Gorge or Eygues gorges.
The Flower Corso that can be found in Nyons is a holiday that is celebrated during Holy Week (Semana Santa), and it's probably what brings so many visitors to this city. Thousands of people come from two in the afternoon to watch the parade and stay for the after party. I was really surprised that the party was on the Sunday after Good Friday because overall, all of the carnival type parties are before Holy Thursday. The carts are pulled by tractors and there are animals, mythological characters, princesses, trucks, adults and children. Some people walk there just to listen to the orchestra's music. Previously, cars were sent to Nice to serve the great city carnival next year. This demonstrates the high quality of the cars, as the Nice Carnival is one of the most beautiful in France.
The Randonne Tower is the point of interest that dominates the medieval town of Nyons, in the southern department of Drome. It's from the thirteenth century, and is the city's emblem. It also tells Bon Secours Chapel, and is in the top of the Strong neighborhood. In 1862, a priest from this city bought the old tower and it became a chapel. The first Mass was held there in 1864, and more than 15,000 people come to its inauguration, including the Bishop of Valence. Today you can still see the three-tiered pyramid that's decorated with statues. There's a very large statue of the Virgin, which is about three and a half meters high. The monument, including Randonne tower, 24 meters high and is visible from far away. The name comes from Randonne of Montaubant, the person who originally built the tower in 1280. This included the entire county of Nyons on their land. The place is a historical monument.
This district of the old part of Nyons was built around the late thirteenth century near the Petits Grands Forts and Forts streets. At this time, the Popes in Avignon had just moved to neighboring town, and Nyons, in route from Rome to Avignon, grew very quickly.
The Forts neighborhood still retains a medieval feel. There is a large hill overlooking the neighborhood, with two towers. Randonne tower is now used as a chapel it was purchased by a priest during the eighteenth century, and the tower Dauphine, which is private property. The neighborhood was surrounded by defene walls and had a few doors of entry. You can still see the Portail Corcosson next to the the feudal castle, with the arms of the family that reigned in Nyons. The castle was built in the fourteenth century, but today there are only two towers left and some ruins. Nyons is a small town and this journey will take two or three hours, but there are many other small downs nearby to visit as well.
The square of Dr. Bourdongle - but residents call it Des Arcades square, because of the arches. This site is a historical monument, and was the place of markets and fairs in the medieval town of Nyons. Built around the 14 century, when the city began rapidly expanding & needed a place for trade. Nyons was a crossroads and traders came from Italy, south of France, and the capital of the Popes, Avignon. The square is framed by arches, and the southeastern part is the home of the Tour family, whose members were governors of the city. On the north side is the door of Santiago, one of the few remaining medieval gates in the city. A house next door was the courthouse from the 14 century. Then it was king's house. The square was recently renovated with great respect for its historical value.
The church of San Vicente de Nyons is located inside the medieval town center of the city. It is a very important and historic monument, which was first mentioned in the tenth century, but the building has been rebuilt several times, and what you see now dates back to the seventeenth century.
The religious wars damaged the old building and the church had no choice but to to re-build it. Inside, you can admire various valuable works of art from the first half of the seventeenth century, and from a convent of cloister monks. Two paintings are inspired by Caravaggio, representing the scene from the Adoration of the Shepherds. There is a also a painting by Guillaume Perrier, called the Two families of Christ.
Other works displayed there were inspired from the neighboring Venetian school. The altar of the chapel of San José are an artist of Rouen, called Jouvenet, who was a cloister monk was also very famous for his fine work. Here, you will find more than 15 works of art that are registered as historic. The church is open until five in the afternoon, and every Sunday morning there is a religious service.