Cavaillon’s melons / LoRa Photography

2015© LoRa Photography

Cavaillon likes to think of itself as the world capital of melons. Its speciality is the Charentais: the small, round one with blue-green striped rind, deep orange flesh and an irresistible perfume.

Legend has it that they were introduced to the area from Italy in the 14th century by the popes, who lived in nearby Avignon, although their fame spread only along with the expansion of the French railways 500 years later.

One of the Cavaillon melon’s first, biggest and most famous fans was the prolific novelist Alexandre Dumas.

Locals offer this tip for spotting a ripe Charentais melon – count the stripes. They should be a deep blueish-green colour and there should be ten of them. If there are nine or eleven stripes, the melon could be tasteless or past its best.