Day 6 - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - Drive from Avignon to Aix-en-Provence; Visit Hilltop Gordes and the Ochre Mines at Roussillon
Today we packed up our bags and had them out by our door before 7:30. We left at 8:25, five minutes early; ahhhh, the joys of a small group!
All of the stores were closed this morning and the city was still. The May 1st holiday was celebrated in France by giving small bouquets of Lillie’s-of-the-valley. We saw many vendors with little tables on the street selling the delicate flowers.
With all of the rain from the past few days we saw water standing in the fields as we drove out of town. The rivers were flooding and flowing over their banks.
We drove northwest for forty-five minutes before coming to the small village of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Even though it was pouring rain most of us got out of the bus and walked about 15 minutes up to the famous spring.
The cave we were supposed to see was totally underwater. The water wheels were practically spinning. Some tour members stopped for coffee but we went to see Pétrarque’s home. We left at 10:30 and continued on to Gordes.
The lilacs were blooming and the wisteria vines were climbing on the walls and trellises. In just a short time we came to the hilltop city of Gordes. We got there at 11:00 and the stores and cafes were not open.
It was too early to eat so we walked around the small village with Jean-Sébastien. We found a small creperie and shared a salad and a three cheese crepe.
We still had time before our scheduled departure time of 12:45 - enough time for a few more back alleys and unique photos. Just as we finished our lunch at 12:15 the sun came out.
The collective attitude of our group brightened! We looked down in the valley and for the first time we could really appreciate Provence. We had to leave at 1:00 but Jean-Sébastien agreed to go back to the overlook one more time for pictures of Gordes in the sunshine.
Our next adventure was to walk the 50 minute trail at the Ochre Mines of Roussillon. Ochre has been mined here for centuries. No longer mined, the red rock formations are a draw for tourists from all over the world.
We arrived at the hotel in Aix at 6:05. The rooms are small but clean and we never spend much time in the room anyway! We got settled in and Jean-Sébastien and the desk clerk helped us to find another chair so we could both work on the journal.
Dinner was in town, as we are a quite a way out of the city center Gianni came to pick us up with the bus. He let us out on the main boulevard so we could walk to O Zen Le Passage. It was a buffet with sushi, sea food, salads, and desserts to die for! The best meal we have had in Provence…
After dinner we took a stroll through the town. Remembering that today was a holiday, we saw that the street cafés and restaurants were very crowded. The city is known for its fountains – beautiful as we saw the city at night.
Gianni picked us up on the main street again and we were home by 9:30 working on the journal and over 500 photos from the day.
We walked 9.6 miles today – another good day on our Walking Tour of Provence.
Accommodations: Escale Oceania - - - Meal: B & D - - Rating: B
I'm so glad you finally got some sunshine to see Provence. I love the many hilltop towns, especially with colorful flowers in window boxes, etc. The rock formations are lovely. It is impressive all the walking you get in with all the rain. You should go home slim and healthy! We took a tour to La Gomera, a smaller island west of Tenerife. We had some rain there which was very unusual. The north and interior of the island (mountains) were so green. The laurel forests had moss growing on all the trunks and was so different from the dry climate of the rest of the island. Looking forward to more of your journal.
Still with you, finally found the knack of zooming in on the map..went back and looked down on the Eiffel Tower.
Lovely red rock formations, just like home, except ours are covered in snow today.
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I watched the Tour De France go thru Fontaine-de-Vaucluse several years ago; Love your trip. We've spent a good deal of time there, and want to go back.
Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.
The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.
Last night we found out that our departure flight back to...