Let’s jet back to France, friends! On Tuesday, it was time to say au revoir to Paris and hop on the TGV to the countryside. We spent just two days in Provence, but we packed a lot in (and it still felt relaxed!). Get ready, peeps, because this will be the most photo-heavy post in the series.
Pont du Gard:
Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct near Remoulins. It was built in the 1st century!! It’s the highest of all the Roman aqueduct bridges and apparently one of the best preserved. Reading more about this wonder gave me such an appreciation for the precision and skill required to build it so long ago — it’s pretty amazing, when you think about it. We spent about an hour here, walking across the bridge and sitting down by the water. (We wished we had our bathing suits on so we could have gone swimming – lots of people did!)
Nîmes is a city in the Languedoc-Roussillon region with a history stretching back to the Roman Empire. We paid for admission to the Nîmes Arena, which came with an audio guide. The guide was definitely informative, though shocking at times — to this day, there is still actual bull fighting in the arena, which made me a bit uncomfortable. After finishing up at the Arena we wandered the town for a bit. It was kind of mind-bending to be reminded over and over again how much history there is around every corner, not just at the official landmarks. (For example, the Roman temple below was built in 19 BC, and it was just hanging out next to random modern buildings!)
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a tiny town on the Sorgue River. When John planned a trip to France for some of our friends last year, he sent them here, and it was one of their favorite stops on the whole trip, so we knew we had to go, too! We had lunch right next to the river (there are tons of cafes back to back – I can’t remember the name of the one we chose!) and gelato while strolling and poking into a few of the antique shops.
Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is feels almost like what I imagine a Gypsy encampment would, but with more permanent structures. The main attraction is the source of the Sorgue River, the biggest spring in France (the fifth largest in the world). We were surprised by how much colder the air felt down next to the pool!
Gordes is a tiny town perched on the side of a mountain. We’re not really sure how people live or work there, because it’s basically a maze of ridiculously narrow streets. Maybe it’s just retirees, who simply enjoy the beautiful view? For a tourist, I think the only attraction is to stroll around and get lost, which we did — and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Not too many photos from our time in Aix, but we had a delicious lunch at O Bagel. We also wandered around the Aix Cathedral and popped into Le Petit Souk, a home goods, party supplies, and kids store from which I wanted to buy everything.
Le Domaine de la Rose:
Finally, I need to tell you about our accommodations! We stayed at an inn in Orgon, Le Domaine de la Rose. It was our biggest splurge of the trip, but definitely worth it. Everyone who’s been to Provence seems to have a favorite place to stay — we got several effusive recommendations when planning — and I know we’ll be doing the same when friends ask us in the future! The grounds were so beautiful, our dinner at the on-site restaurant was perfection, and the kitchen garden was out of a dream. Highly, highly recommended.
If you’ve been to Provence, what towns and sites were your favorites? I’d love to hear!
Up next: Cassis by the sea!