Situated in the Drôme Provençale near the Baronnies Provençales Regional Nature Park, Nyons is a tourist town known for its terroir and nature. At 42km west of campsite Les Hauts de Rosans, it is one of the essentials of any stay in the Southern Alps.
A short history of Nyons
Although archaeological evidence points to the presence of inhabitants in the area more than 5000 years ago, it was not until 972 that the town first appeared in written form. Passing from lord to lord for several centuries, Nyons became the property of the dolphin in 1349. The Pope's presence in Avignon in the 14th century led to exceptional growth. The city grows until the Wars of Religion. After the Edict of Nantes in 1598, Nyons became a safe place for Protestants. But in 1622 Louis XIII decides to bring down the fortifications of the region. The citadel of Nyons is destroyed in 1633, making it an open city. Only the walls are preserved.
At the end of the 17th century the region is invaded by the Piedmontese. The legend of the "Joan of Arc dauphinoise" dates back to this period. Daughter of Pierre de la Tour de la Charce, born in Nyons in 1645, she was already a camp master at the age of 15. Her bravery motivated the troops and prevented the Piedmontese enemy from advancing. The mausoleum of Philis de la Charce has since been located in the church of St-Vincent in Nyons.
Today Nyons is a small town of just under 7000 inhabitants, where tourism has played an important role in the local economy since the 19th century.
What to visit in Nyons?
On arriving in Nyons, start with a walk around the town to see the Romanesque bridge which recently celebrated its 600th anniversary, the Randonne tower built in 1280 and the church of Saint-Vincent. You will also come across the Place des Arcades, the Jardin des Arômes and see the old oil mills near the bridge.
To discover the local crafts, you should visit the Scourtinerie, the last place where the scourtin was made, a traditional doormat, the Bleu Provence distillery and the olive tree museum on the premises of Vignolis, the Nyonsais cooperative.
If you are there on a Thursday morning, don't miss the superb Nyons market, one of the most remarkable in the region, known since the Middle Ages. There you can discover all the regional specialities.
Hikers will appreciate the surroundings. Several circuits around the town offer beautiful views and allow you to discover the local flora, such as the Barjavel circuit, named after the famous writer born in Nyons. Thrill-seekers will be able to make a diversion to the Barons Perchés, an acrobatic park with 7 courses made up of monkey bridges, zip lines and suspended passages for young and old.
And if you have children, take a trip to the Nyonsoleïado water park, the ideal place to cool off on hot days.
La Tanche, the black olive of Nyons
La Tanche is the name given to the black olive of Nyons, cultivated only in the region. This unique variety is known for its strong taste and fine wrinkles. It is the most produced olive in France and has had a PDO since 1997. It can be prepared in 3 ways: by brining, by the technique of the pricked olive and by natural maturation. If the Tanche is an olive to be tasted as is, a sweet and fragrant olive oil is also extracted from it. You can learn more about the Tanche and its history at the Musée de l'Olivier and by following the sentier des Oliviers.