I love this vacation. It was so nice to not worry about airport workers rifling through my bags, or going over the weight limit, or bringing too many liquids. After 25 € in tolls and 3 hours of driving, we arrived in Provence. Everyday we get up and go to a new place, return to the house in the afternoon to go swimming, and then have a typical French dinner that lasts 4 hours and has 5 courses. There are so many interesting places in Vaucluse, all within a 30-40 minute drive. Here’s where we’ve been so far:
Avignon: Le Palais de Papes and le pont St. Bénezet (pont d’Avignon)
In 1309, the French-born Pope decided to move to Avignon and build a huge palace. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is also the world’s largest Gothic structure. It costs 12,50 € to get in, so we just wandered around the gardens instead. The pont d’Avignon is famous because of the cute song “Sur le pont d’Avignon, on y danse, on y danse…” Most people don’t realize the bridge doesn’t actually traverse the Rhône today. You can go on it for 4 € but the view isn’t so great since a highway runs under it.
Beautiful clear water! The source is at the bottom of a cliff that you can literally climb into (after jumping the fence, which everyone did, even the tour guides). And it was free!
We left Fontaine and took la route touristique through Gordes to get to Roussillon. Both of these villages are considered some of the most beautiful in all of France. The red and orange color of the soil here isn’t unique to only France though – it’s found in Africa, Asia and the US too. For only 2 € you can walk through the cliffs and get your shoes completely covered in the rust-colored sand.
Antique capital of France, L’Isle is known for its canals around the centre ville. Similar to Annecy, it’s also called a small Venice. We walked through the market (Thursday and Sunday mornings), and had lunch at La Gueulardière, a restaurant/hotel owned by friends of David. They have a large collection of vintage memorabilia related to school and France and I probably took 30 photos of pictures hanging on the walls. The old maps of France, showing the former provinces, were my favorite.
This Roman theater was built over 2,000 years ago and is still used today for plays and concerts. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it is one of three Roman theaters with the back wall still standing (the others are in Turkey and Syria). I was a little disappointed at the amount of lights, speakers and other modern objects that were everywhere inside the theater but the admission fee of 7,70 € also includes the museum across the street and an audio guide for the theater.