Three days in Provence

One of my college roommates is visiting us, and one of his priorities was to see Provence. A  very good priority, don’t you think? And as I’d never been down there, we were happy to take in a new part of France.

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Lavender! It’s all over Provence.

So last Friday we took the morning TGV (the fast train) to Avignon, rented a car and toured around, taking in a number of the towns: St. Remy, Les Baux, Gordes, Sur la Sourge, and Roussillon. We stopped in at the twelfth century Sénanque Abbey and visited a Roman bridge, that at 2,002 years old, made the abbey seem like a recent establishment.

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The Sénanque Abbey

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The Pont Julien, built without mortar.

There’s no shortage of villages to tour in Provence, but we only saw a handful of them–which means we’ll have to get back there someday.

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Gordes. Not a bad view.

We spent our first night at the Château de la Gabelle, now a hotel and restaurant near Ferrassières.

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It was pretty cool to stay at an old château. So peaceful and quiet compared to Paris!

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At the château.

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When in Provence, try pastis.

We ended our next day of touring in Arles and toured the Roman sites there (an amphitheater, theater, and forum) and saw where Van Gogh had done some painting.

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The amphitheater at night.

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A shell feature in the stone at the amphitheater that Carolyn noticed.

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Arles is pretty close to Spain. So how about some paella?

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A lovely evening spot we passed. Sadly, we’d already eaten!

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We finished our time in Arles cheering the French football team to victory over the Irish. Good times!

Three short days in Provence were hardly enough. I can see why Peter Mayle spent a year there…

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