Apologies for the poor picture quality, but this photo was snapped out of the window of a moving bus between Avignon and Pont du Gard, after I'd done a double take to confirm that I'd really seen what I thought I saw ...
Grape growing is clearly big business in Provence - and it is home to many prestigious vineyards such as the world famous Chateauneuf du Pape - but growing vines on roundabouts is probably taking it to the limit!
And whilst I applaud the use of all available land for agricultural production, I can't say that I would personally be queueing up to sample grapes that come complete with enhanced fuel additives - the sort of 'je ne sais quoi' that I think most of us would happily forego!
A Sunday outdoor market, 23 km from Avignon, and worth the trip. The merchandise varies from wonderful Napoleonic chachkes to severly decrepit Hermes scarves, yet the prices are high for both types. The vendors are interesting characters, engage them in conversation about their wares. For the highly priced decrepit wares, the vendors will tell you the price includes the status of owning the item. Down the street from the outdoor market, there's a kiosk of antique shops, Antiques - Le Quai de la Gare, where the vendors are friendly, pleasant, and interesting. Some carry artisan crafted chatchkes made from bits and pieces of antiques, one carries a small selection of authentic Vintage couture clothing and accessories in good condition, many carry antique furniture and household goods. In town, there's an outdoor cafe, Cafe de France, with good coffee, of course.
We only stayed 2 nights in Avignon and thought about hiring a private chauffeur to tour us around the region .
Our hotel recommended Marlene BOYER from EXPERIENCE PROVENCE (www.experience-provence.eu) and we had the best time with her. She really went out of her way to show us the most typical sites. We even visited a goat cheese farm during milking time and saw some adorable baby goats. The kids still rave about that day.
Marlene has a great personality ! We really got the most of our stay thanks to her and went to places that are not on all the guide books.
Our hotel Le Prieuré was very nice and quiet. Located in Villeneuve de Avignon (across the river). great restaurant as well !
B&B "Mas du Clos de l'Escarrat " located in Provence
Charles and Andree hosted us as their friends.
If ever more sumptuous décor and glitzy bathrooms have started to pall, try a return to simplicity. This 17th-century stone farmhouse is pleasingly quiet and unassuming all among the vines, gazing on distant mountains. The gîtes – two apartments and two small studios – are basic but very pleasant, decorated in soft yellow tones. Provençal fabrics and some unexpected features – a marble table, a beautiful pottery bowl – add arresting touches.
We've been extremely satisfied with the "wine route tour" that Charles organized for us : wonderful landscapes, divine wines, excellent dinner and very nice apartment at "Le Mas". In the morning : breakfast with toooooo much croissants and French baguette...
If you wish to understand the wine cultural and social impact on French "art de vivre" take this tour ! Charles has chosen a selection of wineries where professional oenologists will explain you the art of wine making. And while he drives your car without drinking a drop of wine (as it is admitted, sometimes he tastes and spits), you can fully enjoy the pleasure of tasting without taking any risk on the road.And Charles and Andree B&B is so near Chateauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Beaumes de Venise that you'll be able to taste a wide variety of "crus".
The world's best preserved THEATRE OF ANTIQUITY is located in Orange. The Roman theatre of Orange, constructed at the beginning of the Christian era, owes its reputation to the exceptional conservation of its backdrop wall.
Life in the city revolved around it. The acoustics and structure of the building allowed an audience of 9000 to attend its plays.
We didn't tour this location (only so much time in the day), but snapped this photo using my high-powered zoom lens. This fortress was built in the Middle Ages to provide shelter and protection for the St. Andre village and abbey.
In the Gorges we enjoyed biking the Route des Cretes in a wildlife scenery of rocks and the gorges itself. Although very hard, it´s really beautifull. We also would have liked to canoe in the gorges but it was not allowed due to heavy winds. Tough luck.
Going towards the Gorges du Verdon, we first stopped at this artificial lake (only there since1974). Due to its beautifull surrounding and its clear blue water, it is uncompared. You´ll think yourself in the caribian. However, be carefull swimming as there is heavy winds.
This midieval city is certainly worthwile visiting. Beyond roman settlements, ruins and an abbey you´ll find as well a midieval castle on a midieval hill. On top, the city has a lot of tourist attractions.
Visit Le Pays de Grignan !
The Pays de Grignan includes 14 villages, each with beautiful landscape, rich history and splendid countryside.
Visit Orange, a nice, small town in the Avignon area.
Orange has a well-preserved Roman theater (statue of Augustus)that is used for operas and concerts during the summer festival.
Avignon is also the capital of the Cotes du Rhone wines. Visit the Côtes du Rhône wine villages ! There are great vintages : Châteauneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Lirac, Tavel ...
Very different from everything you'll see in Provence. A bit too tourstic for my taste (souvenir shop and fortune teller), but very beautifull with a bohemian feeling. Go on sunday, you'll catch the fiesta, the meeting at the church Ste-Maries and maybe a corrida. But on monday and friday, you'll catch the market. Learn about the mythic creation of the city by 3 Maries (the city is called Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer, or holly Mary of the sea) and the action of the sea on the land.
Deep and magnificent caves more than 40 km long. Set-up so it's easy to access (there is quite a few steps though!), the visit is breath taking. You'll walk the corridor of these cave, feeling the heat outside disapear as you go deeper. It's never humid or cold though. And you'll have the suprise of a very well planned sound and light show. Outside, you can rent a kayak and sail on the river who melted the moutain...!
Orange has a well-preserved Roman Theatre, with a prominant statue of Augustus. Each year the theatre welcomes tens of thousands of visitors to its summer season.