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Our October featured region is the Drôme in the gloriously scenic Rhône-Alps just north of Provence. Many visitors prefer the southern  Drôme to Provence, enjoying its laid back atmosphere, pretty villages, mountain scenery and sense of history, and it’s in the south that most of our holiday lets can be found.

This is a land of rivers - the Drôme, Aigues and Rhône all run through the department. They make for some breathtaking scenery and every view is enhanced by the dramatic backdrop of the Alps, ever changing with the seasons. There’s plenty of potential here for year-round holidays when you can enjoy sightseeing, exploring history and countryside, hiking, cycling, golf and gastronomy, as well as a growing interest in ecotourism and organic food.

Among the top ten places to discover are the town of Montélimar, capital of nougat, where you can visit nougat factories, enjoy a coffee in the “Allées Provençales” and see the contemporary art museum. Nyons is famous for its olive groves, Mirmande for being home to potters and a fortified village of exceptional beauty, the whole Drôme area is celebrated for its castles and there’s even a crocodile farm with 350 of the toothy reptiles and, last but not least, a shoe museum to visit.

Drôme wines are of a high quality, including the sparkling Die wine, and lovers of good food will want to indulge in a visit to Pic in Valence, run by Anne-Sophie Pic, the only woman in France to have won three Michelin stars in recent times. Simple yet charming Bistrots de Pays offer hearty food at excellent value all over the region.

The nearest airport is Grenoble, which has budget flights during both winter and summer, and Lyons-St Exupery is also accessible. The TGV train from Paris to Valence takes just over 2 hours and by road it’s around 580 km from Paris.

Our holiday lets in the Drôme range from mountain chalet apartments to charming country gîtes and gorgeous period houses and villas with pools. In the colour-washed village of Saillans, for instance, you’ll find both La Source, a villa for 10 people, and La Maison Rose, a period property that sleeps 12. Both have loads of character, their own swimming pool and stunning views across to woodland and the Alps and both are close to all the shops and Sunday market of this pretty village shown in the photo.

Browse our guide to Drôme and find more places to stay