Even in the world of fine wines, Châteauneuf-du-Pape retains a special cachet. It's arguably the best-known of the Rhône appellations, prized by oenophiles the world over. It's mostly based on grenache grapes, with dashes of syrah and mourvèdre sometimes added to the mix. Needless to say, there are numerous vineyards around town offering opportunities to taste.
As its name hints, the hilltop château after which the wine is named was originally built as a summer residence for Avignon's popes, but it's little more than a ruin now – plundered for stone after the Revolution, and bombed by Germany in WWII for good measure. Even so, the wrap-around views of the surrounding Rhône valley are epic, stretching all the way to Mont Ventoux.