Saoû in the Drôme Provençale: lovely village surrounded by rugged rocks and lavender fields.

Saoû is a small village in the Drôme. It is known for its beautiful location at the foot of the Trois Becs rock massif and for the many sporting activities you can do here. In this blog you will find out everything about Saoû.Hiking around Saou, Drome region, France 4

The French village of Saoû in the Drôme Provençale

It could hardly be more romantic: the French Saoû in the Drôme Provençale is an old and typically French village. A small river (la Vèbre) flows through the center and age-old bridges take you through narrow streets. Ivy covers the old facades only interspersed with weathered blue shutters and doors. An open field in the village is covered with purple lavender in the summer. And everywhere you look, freakishly high rocks tower above the roofs! On the edge of the village is “Le Roc”, a kind of strange round rock that is spectacular to see. Behind it begins the Trois Becs rock massif. White limestone is surrounded by green coniferous forests of the “Fôret de Saoû”, the forest of Saoû. This large forest is perfect for cooling off during a walk.

All in all, Saoû is a nice, varied place, perfect for a nice hike in the woods followed by lunch and a relaxing walk along the old facades.

Just north of the Drôme lies Burgundy. Read all about southern Burgundy here with cities such as Cluny and Macon!

Drôme Provençale or Drôme Valley

Saoû is a nice trip if you are in the Valence or Montelimar area and would like to be closer to the mountains. It is located on the eastern edge of the Drôme Valley, a kind of bowl-shaped valley surrounded by mountains. This area is also called the Drôme Provençale, or the gateway to Provence. Here too you will find lavender fields stretching to the horizon and beautiful old villages. But it is much quieter here than in southern Provence. In addition, it is a shorter drive from the Netherlands. So plus plus plus!

Map of Saoû in the Drôme

‎Drome Region France

What is there to do in Saou?

Even though the village is tiny, there is more than enough to do. We recommend that you spend at least one day in the area.

Enjoy the village of Saoû itself

In Saoû itself, in addition to a beautiful square with restaurants, Notre Dame and the old boys’ school, you will also find a large number of artists. It seems as if this small village is like a magnet for artists who make ceramics, sculpt or paint here. Definitely nice to walk into a few studios. You can even walk the “route past the artists of Saoû” here. Click here for an overview of all studios.

Restaurant tip in Saoû: we had a bite to eat at restaurant l’Oiseau sur sa Branche. It has a cute terrace with lots of shade on the square, French through and through. In addition to wine, they also serve homemade lemonade and the dishes on the menu are just that little bit more special. I enjoyed an eggplant dish here and Ries had the lamb dish in bread crust. Very tasty! Nice service and child-friendly (high chair, changing mat, etc.).

Market of Saoû & goat cheese festival

You are in the Drôme Provençale, an area known for its great markets. And in Saoû you will also find a market twice a week (from April to October). Every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and every Wednesday evening from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The small square of Saoû is then full of stalls of local farmers selling their fruits and vegetables, cheeses and soap.

If you are in the Drôme during the third weekend of July, you can visit the Fête du Picodon, the goat cheese festival. Picodon is a tasty local goat’s cheese that has become so famous that it got its own festival. What should you imagine about that? Well, a concert, acrobats, a circus, lots of food with goat cheese and a large market.

Hike to the Trois Becs

The three beaks, because that means “Trois Becs”, are three mountain peaks that indeed look a bit like beaks. It is quite a challenge to reach them via a walk with quite some elevation gain. There are several variants of hiking to the Trois Becs. Here are two options:

1. Trois Becs – 9 km hike

This hike is 9 km, but with a lot of elevation gain. You start from Col de la Chaudière (parking at the Siarra car park) and then walk via the yellow signs first to the first beak, Le Veyou, then to the second, Le Signal and finally to the third and last beak La Rouche Corbe. Read the detailed route description here.

2. Trois Becs – 19 km hike

This much longer hike first takes you via the Fôret de Saoû before you climb the three beaks. You start this route at the L’Auberge des Dauphines museum and end there. Keep in mind that you have to hike for a long time and that there are no water points along the way. Read the detailed route description here.

Another beautiful hike that departs from Saoû itself is La Roche Colombe. This challenging circular route of almost 10 kilometers leads to a number of beautiful viewpoints. Click here for more information.

Hiking around Saou, Drome region, France 3

Not far from the Drôme is the Vaucluse with the famous Mont Ventoux! Read all about hiking to Mont Ventoux in our blog!

Hiking in Foret de Saoû

Is it way too hot for a tough hike or are you traveling with children like us? Then consider taking a shorter walk through the Fôret de Saoû. This beautiful forest, surrounded by the peaks of the Trois Becs massif, has three nice and not too long walks.

  1. Entre Roc et Estang: circuit of 5.5 km, departs from the center and goes around “Le Roc”
  2. Les Anciennes Fermes; circuit of 4 km along the ruins of the old farm.
  3. Sur les Traces de Huguenots: 4 km return route past L’Auberge des Dauphines museum

You often walk sheltered in the shade of the trees and without too much height difference. The routes are clearly indicated with yellow signs. We walked the route “Les Anciennes Fermes” ourselves with Floris in the back carrier. A really beautiful route where we even encountered a wild boar!

Cool off on the beach on the Roubion river just outside Saoû

From Saoû, the Vèbre river turns into the Roubion, a slightly larger river that eventually merges with the Rhône in Montelimar. Do you feel like cooling off after a long hike? Then the riverbed of the Roubion is the place to be. Just outside Saoû, once you have gone through the small tunnel through the rocks, there are a few parking spaces and you can already see the water running in the distance. Park your car here and walk towards the water. In the summer it is not high and you can enjoy a nice dip here. There are even small waterfalls and rock pools to cool off in.

There is a good chance that you will only see some local people here, it is not a well-known place. It is called Roubion beach by locals. There are of course no facilities, so bring your own towel for the rocks.

Visit one of the other beautiful villages in the area

There are a number of nice other villages not far from Saoû. For example, visit medieval Soyans where you will see the ruins of a castle on top of the hill. Or go to Autichamp which is built against a small hill. And of course Crest with its large viewing tower should not be missed. The village of Mirmande is a little further away, but is known as one of the most beautiful villages in France.

If you are looking for larger cities, be sure to visit Montélimar or Valence!

Practical information about Saoû: parking and hotels in Saoû

Near the center you will find two large parking lots where you can park for free. There is a bakery and a small supermarket in Saoû. It is also possible to follow yoga or have a massage in the small village.

Fine hotels & campsites in Saou and the surrounding area

There are a few hotels and several gites in Saoû. We thought Gite de charme du Saint Thierry looked the nicest. Here you will find an overview of the different hotels and gites in Saoû and the surrounding area. There are also campsites in the area such as La Briance in the village and Camping La Graville a little outside the village.

We stayed for a week in a chalet at beautiful Camping Les Bastets, half an hour from Saoû. Highly recommended because of the infinity pool overlooking the lavender fields!

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