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Oppède-le-Vieux and Ménerbes - two very picturesque villages

Saturday, September 6, 2014


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Oppède-le-Vieux from the parking lot

Oppède-le-Vieux from the parking lot

A more relaxed day . . . we drove northeast past Cavaillon to Oppède-le-Vieux and found the parking lot. They have footprint facilities there but very clean and well lit. We walked up the stroller path to the village so I wouldn’t have to stumble up all the steps which would have been shorter. Cataracts will be removed when we get home next month and I should then be able to bound up and down steps again when I can see where I'm going.

Eglise Notre-Dame d'Alidon

Eglise Notre-Dame d'Alidon

Arrived at centre ville and started the cobblestone hike up to the church. I was a sweaty mess when we arrived and there were two large tour groups ahead of us. We worked our way in between the groups and the church is a treasure. Outside we clambered up the rocks for spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and perched villages in the distance.
View of Mt. Ventoux from Eglise Notre Dame d'Alidon

View of Mt. Ventoux from Eglise Notre Dame d'Alidon



Oppède-le-Vieux

Oppède-le-Vieux

Walked/stumbled back down chased by a tour group so I took a right turn to escape them. They followed. Sigh . . . We let them pass and explored the tiny village a little before returning to the parking lot.

Street scene in Ménerbes

Street scene in Ménerbes

Retrieved the car and drove to nearby Ménerbes where we followed signs to parking. Walked into town and started checking restaurants. We finally decided on La Galoubet on the main street and settled on their lovely shaded patio. The girls got a goat cheese tart that looked scrumptious and they both loved. Ed & I got the 16 euro menu of porc confit which came with barley and a salad. It was fork tender and delicious. Jean got profiterolles and the rest of us got seriously dark chocolate ice cream. The coffee was also excellent. Really nice lunch! [Le Galoubet, 104 rue Marcellin Poncet, Ménerbes 84560; +33 (0)4 9072-3608; fax: +33 (0)4 9072-5238; https://www.facebook.com/legaloubet; maeva452@aol.com]

L’Eglise St Luc,  Ménerbes

L’Eglise St Luc, Ménerbes

We walked all over Ménerbes finding towers, campaniles and viewpoints. It’s a very picturesque town. The church was, unfortunately, locked so we didn’t get in.

Wedding in Mollégès

Wedding in Mollégès

We let our GPS get us home through the ever-confusing Cavaillon and it didn’t work perfectly but we’ve spent enough time there that we figured it out. We stopped at Utile for supplies and there was a wedding at the Hotel de Ville where we parked. That was exciting. We had front-row seats at our parking place. I took lots of pictures. Then we went home to put groceries away.

Antique French car in Eygalières

Antique French car in Eygalières

Rested and checked e-mail, then headed to Eygalières for church. We arrived early so walked through the very cute town. Went back up to church and it was much nicer than Mollégès. [Weekend Mass - Saturday 6:00 PM at Eglise Saint Lawrence, Republique St., Eygalieres, France 13810; 0+33 (0)4 9092-1051 or +33 (0)4 9095-9649; http://upsaintremy.free.fr/ and the Church is St. Laurent in Eygalieres]

Home to dinner on our patio and Ma’Demoiselle, the gite cat joined us. Lovely day . . .

Posted by Beausoleil 15:27 Archived in France Comments (0)

The Camargue and Aigues-Mortes on Jean's birthday

Saturday, September 7, 2014


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The Camargue

The Camargue

Up early and had a baguette breakfast before Jean opened her birthday presents. We packed up and headed out to the Camargue, her birthday request. No problems getting there. We zipped around Arles on a bypass and directly down to the Camargue. At the Parc Ornothologique we parked, paid and entered. Like everything else it is much changed and more touristed but we had a grand time following the paths and taking pictures of flamingoes, herons, egrets, storks, ducks and the little ragondins that I love and are an introduced pest. [Ragondin is French for coypu. A coypu may be mistaken for a muskrat, another widely dispersed, semiaquatic rodent that occupies the same wetland habitats. The muskrat, however, is smaller and more tolerant of cold climates, and has a laterally flattened tail it uses to assist in swimming, whereas the tail of a coypu is round. It can also be mistaken for a small beaver, as beavers and coypus have very similar anatomies. However, beavers' tails are flat and paddle-like, as opposed to the round, rat-like tails of coypus.] It was great fun and a good day for it. We covered stations 1 - 10 and checked out the restaurant next door. The menu was pretty expensive and not very appealing so we got in the car with the idea of eating in Stes. Maries-de-la-Mer since it was already one o’clock.
Ragondin in the Camargue

Ragondin in the Camargue


The Camargue

The Camargue


Flamants or flamingoes in The Camargue

Flamants or flamingoes in The Camargue

As we approached the town which seems to have doubled in size mostly with caravans/camping cars, we hit deadlocked traffic . . . a hint of what was to come. Saintes was overrun with tourists and every parking spot was full. We crawled back out of town at two kilometers per hour and headed to Aigues-Mortes hoping for better luck there.

Aigues-Mortes

Aigues-Mortes

Lovely drive to Aigues-Mortes and we didn’t get our usual free parking but did find a place in a convenient pay lot and entered the walled town. We checked menus on the way to the Place St. Louis and didn’t find anything we liked that was still open. Tried Les Capucins in the Place St. Louis where we’d eaten before and after being told rather brusquely that we had to sit outside, sat at a table in the sun that wasn’t completely cleared yet. As we waited, a woman came over and said, “Don’t eat here. It’s horrible.” Not sure who she was or why it was horrible, we balanced our treatment so far and followed her advice. We continued around the very busy square and found another menu we liked and were told it was too late to be served but to try the brasserie on the corner. We continued on and found a menu at Le Citadel that we liked and a very cheerful waiter cleared a table for us. We had a kir royale to celebrate Jean’s birthday and ordered the 19.90 euro menu. Peg & I had a green salad with chicken; Jean & Ed got the caprese. For a main Jean got the tartare; Peg got paela; Ed got the poached cod and I got the daube de taureau. For dessert Ed got nougat ice cream and the rest of us the fondant au chocolat that was really an excellent chocolat moelleaux and tasted great. Red wine and coffee completed the excellent meal and kudos to our wonderful waiter. It was a fun birthday lunch.

Place St. Louis in Aigues-Mortes

Place St. Louis in Aigues-Mortes

It was also very late so we walked to the Tower of Constance but they were getting ready to close so we headed for the shops instead. The girls got gifts for friends and fellow workers and I window shopped. We checked out a couple galleries and headed for the car. In the car, we did a circuit of the walled town so Peg could see the salt mountains. There are now boardwalks through the surrounding wetlands that look like a fun future trip.

Tower of Constance in Aigues-Mortes

Tower of Constance in Aigues-Mortes

Started home and were fine until we reached the D570 where we ran into a traffic backup. We managed the left turn and got into the long line of cars barely moving toward Arles. Finally escaped traffic on the D570n north to Avignon. We turned at our 99 and made it home but the hour trip took 2.5 hours on the return. Too many fellow tourists in France this year!

Posted by Beausoleil 14:18 Archived in France Comments (0)

Aix-en-Provence

Monday, September 8, 2014


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Aix-en-Provence market at Place Richelme

Aix-en-Provence market at Place Richelme

Baguette breakfast. We can’t find our favorite cereal here. We headed off to Aix-en-Provence today. It is far enough that we drove to Plan d’Orgon and took the A7 to the A8 to Aix which cost four euros but speeded up the process. Took exit 29 and had the usual adventure finding parking in a large busy city. We missed the first lot and ended up at Parking Carnot which was good because we were just steps from the Musée Granet . . . which unfortunately was closed on Monday. Sigh . . . We visited the church of St. Jean de Malta next door instead. [Musée Granet, Place Saint-Jean de Malte, 13080 Aix-en-Provence, France, tel: +33 (0)4 4252-8833]

The mossy fountain on Cours Mirabeau

The mossy fountain on Cours Mirabeau

We walked into town looking for Cours Mirabeau and Ed asked a local delivery man who sent us off in the correct direction. It was only a couple blocks. We walked to the huge fountain at the end and then up the other side checking restaurant menus. None suited so we headed into Old Town snapping photos on the way and visiting shops and galleries.

Fontaine de la Rotonde

Fontaine de la Rotonde

We finally decided on Le Coquet [+33 (0)4 4223-4621; 2 Forum des Cardeurs; http://www.thefork.com/restaurant/le-coquet/19952] and while the food was very good, the service was beyond bad. One couple actually got up and walked out. We toughed it out but getting everything was a hassle involving two incompetent waiters who couldn’t seem to communicate with each other. Perhaps an ongoing personal feud . . . ? Strange.

Aix-en-Provence street market at Place Richelme

Aix-en-Provence street market at Place Richelme


For the record, Jean got the salad Berger and Peg the salad Ferme. Ed & I got the 16 euro menu with salad Berger, ballotine of saumon (salmon stuffed with shredded carrots in a curry sauce) on a bed of rice and Ed got the crème caramel and Jean & and I the fondant au chocolat (really a moelleaux). Nothing arrived when it should. There were salads and main courses served together; my main arrived after everyone else was completely finished. Getting dessert was a major chore and my coffee arrived before Jean & Peg’s. They weren’t terribly busy, just not keeping track. Food was good but I’d never go there again. The two waiters seemed to be trying to cause each other trouble. I'm sure there's an interesting story there but it didn't do lunch any good.

Small fountain at Place de la Rotonde

Small fountain at Place de la Rotonde

We gratefully left the restaurant and headed in the direction of Cathédrale St. Sauveur stopping at several shops on the way. Peg and Jean got gifts for friends and I got a lovely pillow cover for our family room. We entered Cathédrale St. Sauveur and took lots of shots that probably won’t turn out since it was very dark inside. The very odd modern gold altar is still there. [Cathédrale St. Sauveur, 34 Place des Martyrs de la Résistance, 13100 Aix en Provence; tel: +33 (0)4 4223-4565; mobile: +33 0(6) 5038-1366; secretariat@cathedrale-aix.net ; http://www.cathedrale-aix.net/]

Organ at Cathédrale St. Sauveur

Organ at Cathédrale St. Sauveur

Exited the church to note a big black cloud above us. We tried to follow one of Ed’s Provence Walks cards but never did see our first turn so ended up stopping at Paul’s for bread and Monoprix for cereal. Even Monoprix didn’t have our Nestle Fit! It must not be popular in Provence.

Retrieved the car, wiggled out of the very tight parking place and drove home where we stopped at Utile for wine, orange juice and Perrier. For some reason our credit card wouldn’t work so we had to waste cash. The card has always worked there before . . . We drove home and transferred photos and got our little picnic ready but as we started to eat, the black cloud turned into a thunder storm so we moved into the kitchen. It was lovely to see the rain. Wish we could send some home to our poor drought-ridden California.

Tomorrow is Jean & Peg’s last day. So sad . . .

Posted by Beausoleil 16:36 Archived in France Comments (0)

Saint-Remy-de-Provence and Les-Baux-de-Provence

Tuesday, September 9 - the girls' last day


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Foggy morning

Foggy morning

Up to a very foggy morning. I was surprised after the thunderstorm last night. That usually clears the air. We had planned Les Baux de Provence for this morning but the fog changed our minds. Instead we drove to St. Remy-de-Provence for in-town sightseeing and will hope for glorious views from Les Baux this afternoon.

Collégiale St. Martin at Saint-Remy-de-Provence

Collégiale St. Martin at Saint-Remy-de-Provence

We got the last parking place at Place de la Republique and walked over to explore a very dark Collégiale St. Martin and then head into Old Town. We found the rather elusive birthplace of Nostradamus and then started through the shops. Jean got some pottery and a soap and towel set and Peg got scarves which sent Jean back in to get a scarf. I managed to resist since I know we'll be back later.

Nostradamus Fountain in Saint-Remy-de-Provence

Nostradamus Fountain in Saint-Remy-de-Provence


Un Ete A Saint Remy De Provence - creperie and glacier

Un Ete A Saint Remy De Provence - creperie and glacier

We covered the entire Old Town and started checking menus. Nothing appealed so we went outside the gates to Place de la Republique where we found a very nice menu at Le Brasserie du Commerce. Jean and Peg got salads and Ed & I got the menu with salad, a wonderful curried chicken on rice and a “coulant chocolat” (moelleaux au chocolat) for dessert. Jean and Peg got a cherubin which was a marvelous ice cream sundae. Our waiter was wonderful, a complete contrast from yesterday in Aix. We left a larger tip than was sensible. We ate outside but the inside was very elegant. Nice restaurant! [La Brasserie du Commerce, 22 Place de la Republique, tel: +33 (0)4 9092-0995; e-mail: brasseriesaintremy@orange.fr]

Les-Baux-de-Provence

Les-Baux-de-Provence

We found our way out of the parking lot . . . no small feat . . . and headed south toward Les Baux, passing Glanum on the way. The sun had burned off the fog so Les Baux was glorious . . . and covered with tourists. Because of the heat, Ed took a chance and drove to the top parking lot. Someone pulled out as we pulled in so we got a place. Hooray! Ed went in search of the ticket machine and a Belgian gentleman who was leaving sold us his 5 euro all-day ticket for half price. Not only was it a bargain, the closest ticket machine was broken so it saved Ed a hot hike to the next machine.

Chapel at Les-Baux-de-Provence

Chapel at Les-Baux-de-Provence

We headed into town and it was much changed from the very cold windy November day eight years ago when Ed & I last visited. All the shops were open; there were new shops and restaurants and lots of fellow tourists and their dogs. We shopped our way up to the château, paid and started exploring. It was beautiful but hot and we took loads of photos. You could see forever. The views are out of this world. You never want to leave.

Les-Baux-de-Provence - view from the chateau

Les-Baux-de-Provence - view from the chateau

Sweaty and hot, we exited looking for water and found ourselves at the Hostellerie de la Reine Jeanne patio where we ordered four Perriers. By crazy coincidence, la Reine Jeanne was the very same restaurant where we ate (inside) eight years ago. It was the only restaurant open in the entire town on that day. Then, the Mistral was blowing and it was cold. We people watched and finally Jean and Peg walked across the street to a cute clothing shop and Peg got a pretty blouse she’d looked at earlier. Good choice. [Hostellerie de la Reine Jeanne, 13520 Les Baux de Provence, tel: +33 (0)4 9054-3206; fax: +33 (0)4 9054-3233; e-mail: marc.braglia@wanadoo.fr ; http://www.la-reinejeanne.com/]

Château at Les-Baux-de-Provence

Château at Les-Baux-de-Provence

We retrieved the car and drove back through St. Remy to our gite where the girls packed for their trip home tomorrow and Ed did the laundry. We tried hanging it out but it started to thunder and a few drops of rain fell so we brought it back inside and will try hanging it tomorrow when we get back from the Nice airport.

Posted by Beausoleil 15:04 Archived in France Comments (0)

Taking the Girls to the Nice Airport - Bye!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


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Driving past Cagnes-sur-Mer

Driving past Cagnes-sur-Mer

Up very early today because we had to leave at 4:30 AM to take Jean & Peg to the Nice airport for their flight home. It was a dark, quiet two-hour drive on the A7 and A8. We parked and took them in,. They got boarding passes and we all went upstairs (Terminal 1) to Paul’s for breakfast. Must admit Paul's in Paris has more ambience. Flight time neared so we walked them to Security, bade them farewell and retrieved the car for a more busy drive back to our gite. I must say, driving on the AutoRoute is much more pleasant at 4:30 in the morning than later in the day. We had traffic on the way back to Mollégès.
Traffic on the A8 near Nice

Traffic on the A8 near Nice


Windmill seen from the A8 driving from Nice

Windmill seen from the A8 driving from Nice


Notre Dame de Beauregard in Orgon

Notre Dame de Beauregard in Orgon

Château in Mollégès

Château in Mollégès

Rested under the grape arbor on our patio after hanging the laundry and then drove into town for lunch at Bistro Chez Ju. We got the daily special, an excellent salad, very mild chicken curry with very wet rice and more salad greens and finished with a mango sorbet. It was fine and well served but nothing special. Usually a daily special is the best thing that day, but in this case, probably not. They haven't quite mastered the art of curry yet. It was so mild it was nearly tasteless. They are lovely people though so we'll try again with something French. (Later in the trip we would deeply appreciate Chez Ju.) [Bistro Chez Ju, Le Cours, 13940 Mollégès, +33 (0)4 3261-9882]

Église Saint Vincent in Saint-Andiol

Église Saint Vincent in Saint-Andiol

Utile is closed on Wednesday so we drove to St. Andiol in search of a supermarché. We had fun walking around the very cute town but couldn’t find the market. Back in the car we just drove and finally came to Cabannes where we found an Intermarché that was still closed for lunch so we parked and waited with everyone else for the three o’clock opening. When it opened, we got our supplies and headed home for the night. We’re tired!

Ancient Fountain in Mollégès

Ancient Fountain in Mollégès

Did some reading, put away dry laundry, had a mini-picnic and turned in early . . . very early.

Posted by Beausoleil 14:00 Archived in France Comments (0)

Noves on market day, Verquiérès and Les Paluds des Noves

Thursday, September 11, 2016


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Noves street market

Noves street market

Jean texted when they arrived in San Francisco. She e-mailed from home when she arrived around eight o’clock PM her time. We’re assuming Peg made it but haven’t heard yet. We slept until 7:30 this morning and it felt good.

Noves street market

Noves street market


Porte d’Agel entrance to Noves Old Town

Porte d’Agel entrance to Noves Old Town

We had a leisurely breakfast and then looked at nearby places to visit and decided on Noves. We took the D74, a very narrow rural road, and saw lots of farmland on the way. Arrived in Noves to discover a market, a real one with everything, not just food. It was small but fun. Walked through the market and continued toward some impressive crenelations to discover Porte d’Agel. We walked through the ancient gate and a lady stopped us to explain (in French) the ruins were Roman. They may have had a Roman stone or two left but they were built in the 14th century and attached to 10th century ramparts, but the lady was very proud of them so we enjoyed her pride. We followed signs up to the Esplanade du Château where there is a wonderful overlook of the entire town and beyond with a table of orientation so you know what you are seeing. Really nice.

View from the Esplanade du Château in Noves

View from the Esplanade du Château in Noves

We walked back down and wandered the streets of the Old Town snapping photos and looking for the large church we had seen from the Esplanade. At a cross street an older gentleman stopped us and asked (in French) if we had seen the Esplanade and we assured him we had. We asked directions to the church and as it turned out, we were headed in the right direction so we thanked him and continued to Eglise St. Baudile, a very sturdy old 12th century church. Eglise St. Baudile, Noves

Eglise St. Baudile, Noves

Eglise St. Baudile in Noves, France

Eglise St. Baudile in Noves, France



Mas du Capoun in Mollégès

Mas du Capoun in Mollégès

We left the church looking for a restaurant and found only pizzerias and bars so stopped in the tourist office to ask a recommendation. The tourist office lady was very nice but her recommendations were all out in the country and we knew we’d get lost so we decided to return to Mas du Capoun in Mollégès. The D74 was narrow and slow so we found the N7 to St. Andiol and returned that way. Not as picturesque but much faster and, on the whole, a very pretty drive. We parked at the church and walked to the restaurant since they have limited parking. We got a table for two and the place was packed . . . many Belgian guests from language and license plates. We ordered the 18 euro lunch special and both got the tomato carpaccio that was red, green and yellow tomatoes with shrimp and shaved fennel. The main course was roast pork in a rosemary gravy accompanied by a long pasta roll stuffed with mushrooms and spinach. Ed got a custard dessert with a fig crumble topping and I got a chocolate (dark!) ile flottant. With a nice house wine and coffee, it was perfect. [Mas de Capoun, 27 ave. de Palups, 13940 Mollégès; tel +33 (0)4 9026-0712; fax +33 (0)4 9026-0817; www.masducapoun.fr; e-mail lemasducapoun@orange.fr]

Bell tower of the church in Verquiérès

Bell tower of the church in Verquiérès

We drove to Verquiérès in the afternoon and there wasn’t much there except a locked church and neat, pretty village. We took some pictures and moved on to Les Paluds des Noves, another tiny, neat village with a little canal running through it and lots of children just getting off the school bus.

Mural in Saint Andiol, France

Mural in Saint Andiol, France

Drove home via St. Andiol and did some laundry and swept off the patio. Autumn leaves are starting to fall.

Posted by Beausoleil 15:13 Archived in France Tagged villages markets street noves verquiérès Comments (0)

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

Friday, September 12, 2014


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Caisse d'Epargne from the Esplanade Robert Vasse, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Caisse d'Epargne from the Esplanade Robert Vasse, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Our adventure du jour was L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and the trip was amazingly easy. We managed to get on the bypass around Cavaillon and drove straight to L’Isle and somehow managed to drive directly to free parking on Chemin de Névon. We parked and walked to Pont Gambetta and I started taking pictures. It was early and not much was open so we walked along Quai Jean Jaurès enjoying the antics of ducks in the river and all the beautiful flowers. We looked at the few menus that were out and then started looking for the tourist office. We finally found and followed signs which led us into centre ville where we found the tourist office in an ancient granary next to the closed church swathed for construction. They are repairing the tower.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue



Water wheel on the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Walk

Water wheel on the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Walk

Water wheel in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Water wheel in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

The tourist office gave us a walking map so we set off looking for water wheels and found the #9 on the first walk and then numbers 10, 11 and 12 on the second walk, then #13 as we drove through town much later in the day. Between walks 1 and 2, we checked the church around 10:00 when it was supposed to open but there was a funeral so we decided to wait. We looked in the courtyard of the Centre d’Art Campredon but it had a weird, messy modern sculpture in the courtyard so we left. At some point we stopped for coffee and rested our feet.

Le Bassin in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Le Bassin in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

At noon we checked a restaurant recommended by the tourist office but didn’t care for their menu so walked back to Le Bassin to check restaurants there. We had noticed one with three different trout offerings and managed to find it again. We settled into a table for two right on Le Bassin at Le Bellevue Brasserie. It was the perfect place on the perfect day and we had a very nice waiter. We both got trout. Ed got trout amandine and I got the trout Bellevue with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We both opted for vegetables instead of the ubiquitous frites. This turned out to be a good choice because we got a wedge of very fresh tomato, excellent haricots verts and our favorite Potatoes Dauphinois. Our trout was cooked to perfection. We each got a whole fish which was a bit much but it was so good, we ate all of it. Ed got a chocolate liégeois for dessert and I got profiterolles in a really dark chocolate sauce. It was a wonderful lunch with a wonderful view. [Le Bellevue Brasserie, 1 Quai Jean Jaurès, 84800 L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue; tel: +33 (0)4 9038-0363; http://www.le-bellevue.com/;

Notre-Dame-des-Anges Collegiate Church

Notre-Dame-des-Anges Collegiate Church

Busy square in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Busy square in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

We walked back to the Notre-Dame-des-Anges Collegiate church and it was open and a big surprise. It was over-the-top ornate Baroque with gold everywhere . . . not my style. Further, photos were not allowed. I did shoot a couple through the front door as I stood outside but was not particularly tempted inside by all the glitz. I'm a gothic or neo-gothic lover and barring that, Romanesque.

Shops by St. Mary and St. Veran Church in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

Shops by St. Mary and St. Veran Church in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

We walked back to parking and got the car and drove on to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse where a very nice French gentleman motioned us into a free parking place he was just leaving. We had a little map so set off into town. Our first stop, after a Provençal fabric store was the very simple and lovely St. Mary et St. Veran Church. There were two unusual columns you had to notice because they had Corinthian capitals and I discovered they dated to 6 BC . . . amazing! The actual church was built in the 11th century on the ruins of a pagan temple.

St. Mary and St. Veran Church in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

St. Mary and St. Veran Church in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

We walked into town and continued along the Sorgue River. I took pictures of the Petrarch Column and we walked on. We stopped in the Vallis Clausa Paper Mill and bought three copies of “In Flander’s Fields.” My maternal grandfather who was sent to France in World War I loved the poem so the copies will go to our three children in his memory. They are on beautiful hand-made paper with flower petals. We continued on out of town and up the rocky path that leads to the spring that is the source of the Sorgue River. We passed fishermen and plenty of fellow tourists. Beginning of the Sorgue River above Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

Beginning of the Sorgue River above Fontaine-de-Vaucluse



Ruined Château de Philippe de Cabassolle

Ruined Château de Philippe de Cabassolle

Walked back to the village and managed to find Petrarch’s House entirely by accident. I got distant shots of the château as we walked back to the car. Amazingly we got back home with minimal trouble and stopped at the boulangerie and Utile on the way. I got a window cleaner for the car and cleaned the windows. Hope it helps! It was a good day.

Posted by Beausoleil 15:59 Archived in France Tagged villages water_wheels l’isle-sur-la-sorgue fontaine-de-vaucluse petrarch Comments (0)

Saint-Remy-de-Provence and a Disaster

Saturday, September 13, 2014


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#18 La nuit étoilée

#18 La nuit étoilée

Saturday and tourist mania so we decided to stay close to home. Ed washed sheets and towels and we left for St. Remy-de-Provence to do the Van Gogh walk. Drove into town and parked at the tourist office where we got a map for the walk. We started at #18 and did the walk backwards since we had a parking place. We found all but #14 and I had read that it was stolen or at least was gone. You walk fairly quiet back streets for most of it and at one point are on a narrow gravel foot path along the wall of St.-Paul-de-Mausole. Even if you weren't interested in Van Gogh, it would be a beautiful walk.
La Route au cyprès, #10 on the Van Gogh Walk

La Route au cyprès, #10 on the Van Gogh Walk


Cloître Saint Paul, the church and monastery

Cloître Saint Paul, the church and monastery


Saint Paul de Mausole Monastery and garden

Saint Paul de Mausole Monastery and garden

Saint Paul de Mausole Monastery Cloisters

Saint Paul de Mausole Monastery Cloisters


Saint Paul de Mausole Monastery Cloisters

Saint Paul de Mausole Monastery Cloisters


We continued along the wall to the front entrance of the asylum St.-Paul-de-Mausole to be greeted by many parked tour buses. The last time we visited, there were only about three other people. We searched out Van Gogh Walk plaques #5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 then crossed the road to photograph Les Antiques, the Mausoleum of the Julii (30 BC) and the Arc de Triomphe (20 AD), which had been cleaned and fenced and touristed up since our last visit. The monastery St. Paul de Mausole is named for the Mausoleum of the Julii; hence, Mausole.

Les Oliviers, #3 on the Van Gogh Walk in Saint-Remy-de-Provence

Les Oliviers, #3 on the Van Gogh Walk in Saint-Remy-de-Provence

We cut back across the field to St. Paul de Mausole, where Van Gogh spent a year of his life, and discovered it has been touristed up too. The entry walls have large reproductions of Van Gogh paintings and so does the garden. We paid and entered going first to the church with interesting modern stained glass windows providing a real contrast to the spare old Romanesque church. We walked around to the cloister and out to the garden that we enjoyed with a bus load of older British tourists. After the gift shop, we walked upstairs to the Van Gogh room, a reconstruction, and back through gift shop and cloister to exit.

Mausoleum of the Julii (30 BC) at Glanum

Mausoleum of the Julii (30 BC) at Glanum

Arc de Triomphe (20 AD) at Glanum

Arc de Triomphe (20 AD) at Glanum

Decided to walk back via the D5 and were delighted to discover a lovely paved sidewalk nearly all the way to the tourist office. After that it was typical on-again off-again French sidewalks. We decided to eat at du Commerce again so continued downtown. As we attempted to enter, I tripped over the protruding point of the eating platform and fell on my face none too gracefully. After ascertaining nothing was broken, I allowed myself to be helped up and hobbled to a table on the evil platform. The waiter took our order and I went to the ladies room to assess the damage, one badly scraped knee and a slightly (I hope) sprained ankle. I put a bandage on the knee and hobbled back to the table where we had a lovely lunch. I was facing the street and at one point swore I saw Edie and Ray walk past. Then later saw them return and she had on a deep pink wide-brimmed hat. I couldn’t walk, wasn’t going to yell and wasn’t completely sure it was them so the moment passed. Later discovered it was indeed them . . . about six thousand miles from home.

Jardin de l'Hospice Saint Paul

Jardin de l'Hospice Saint Paul

Van Gogh statue, Jardin de l'Hospice St. Paul

Van Gogh statue, Jardin de l'Hospice St. Paul


We finished lunch and had to walk back to the car . . . a slow painful process. Ed joked it was only a few blocks but took two hours. In the car I grabbed my water bottle and took a couple aspirin and we drove home where I crawled upstairs to bed. I really need to learn to watch where I'm going instead of looking at everything around me. It's all so interesting though . . . The aspirin didn’t help and I needed more band aids so I sent Ed on an errand of mercy to the local pharmacy. He returned with Efferalgan and bandages but I can’t take the Efferalgan until 7:00 when the aspirin wears off. We decided to skip church tonight and go tomorrow in hopes I’ll feel better. Fingers crossed . . .

Posted by Beausoleil 14:39 Archived in France Tagged villages van_gogh glanum saint-remy-de-provence Comments (0)

A lost day . . .

Sunday, September 14, 2014


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Bell tower of Eglise St. Peter in Mollégès

Bell tower of Eglise St. Peter in Mollégès

Getting off my feet helped. Took the Efferalgan last night and went to bed early. Slept nearly 12 hours. Took the medicine once more during the night and again when I woke up this morning. We could hear Sunday morning hunters starting at daybreak. I managed to get dressed and struggled downstairs for breakfast and we read until time for church. Ed dropped me at the church door and then parked the car. We had the very long-winded priest again. Afterwards, very nice little old man stopped to chat with us about a local pilgrimage . . . at least we think that’s what he said. After church he wished us bonnes vacances.

Eglise St. Peter in Mollégès

Eglise St. Peter in Mollégès

We're always astounded when we see the mural behind the altar in the church here in Mollégès. Somehow the odd tropical setting and the lavender background seem so out of place in the old village church. Someone must think it looks good because they keep it in pristine condition.

Greater downtown Mollégès

Greater downtown Mollégès

After church, we drove to Gare Mollégès looking for a restaurant and it didn’t look good so we drove back to town and Ed went to the local teen sandwich shop and asked for two ham and cheese sandwiches with mustard. He asked about ice cream and was told they had Magnum classic or with almonds so he asked for classic. When we got home to eat it, we had one ham and mustard sandwich and one cheese only sandwich so I divided up the ingredients to make ham and cheese. Then Ed got the ice creams out of the freezer and we had one classic and one almond. Strange little café . . . Needless to say, we did not return.

Our gite near Mollégès

Our gite near Mollégès

I spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping and my knee feels pretty good but the ankle will take time.

Posted by Beausoleil 14:31 Archived in France Comments (0)

Maillane and Abbaye St.-Michel-de-Frigolet

Monday, September 15,2014


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Slept ‘til 7:30 with no trouble. After breakfast I looked up sprained ankles and was happy to learn Paracetamol (Efferalgan) is the recommended treatment and I have been taking the proper dose. It also suggested ice packs and gave exercises. Ed put together an ice pack and put it on my elevated ankle and it seems to help. We discussed what to do and decided to try the itinerary we had planned for yesterday. The ankle is so swollen I still can’t get into my shoes but my Birkenstocks are fine. Noting the sky and weather report, we took our trusty umbrellas and were very glad later.

Eglise Sainte Agathe in Maillane

Eglise Sainte Agathe in Maillane

At Saint-Remy-de-Provence we found the D5 toward Graveson on the way to our goal of Maillane, birthplace of Frédéric Mistral. We wandered a bit looking for parking and were stopped at one point by a funeral procession on foot in the rain. It passed and we parked and walked to the church beautifully scented with incense from the funeral. After exploring, we exited the church to the aromas from the boulangerie next door and were reminded it was lunch time. We walked around looking for a restaurant and had no luck so got in the car and drove on to Graveson where we immediately found La Chalet des Arénas with parking. The terrace was very wet in places, but people were sitting in the dry part so we joined them. We both opted for the chicken supreme which arrived with noodles and very little sauce and a few lettuce leaves in lieu of a vegetable. It tasted fine but certainly nothing out of the ordinary. We did get a very nice dark chocolate mousse for dessert and our waitress was a gem. [La Chalet des Arénes, Chez Laurent & Jean Marc, 13 blvd. Général de Gaulle 13690 Graveson; +33 (0)4 9095-7102; +33 (0)4 2310-0091 mobile; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lechaletdesarenes.graveson?fref=ts]
Restaurant des Arenas in Graveson

Restaurant des Arenas in Graveson



Eglise St. Michel at Abbaye St.-Michel-de-Frigolet

Eglise St. Michel at Abbaye St.-Michel-de-Frigolet

After lunch we wound our way through olive groves to the Abbaye Saint-Michel-de-Frigolet not expecting much since we’d never heard of it but the sun had come out and the countryside was gorgeous. We climbed into the Alpilles and as we rounded a bend, saw two spires. This was followed by a long stone wall interrupted by at least six round machicolated towers. We parked in a large lot opposite the entrance and entered the Abbey grounds through an impressive gate. You first see a small church (Eglise St. Michel), very spare, Romanesque and lovely with extraordinary modern stained glass windows. We explored it then continued along the road to the much larger Basilica of St. Michael (Basilique Saint-Michel-de-Frigolet). After the very plain smaller church, the basilica is a shock. Every square inch is painted in bright colors and ornate designs. I have read that originally the gothic churches were brightly painted and this must be what they looked like. You can’t take it all in but go through in a state of awe. I looked it up on the internet and found next to no information. It was built in the late 1800s so is neo-gothic. Even their own web site doesn’t hint at what you’ll see. Truly, it was thrilling. The only odd note was a very baroque gold “Sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces” that didn’t match anything else in the church but it’s the only thing I could find in abbey photos. Strange . . . [Saint-Michel de Frigolet Abbey, 13150 Tarascon, France, tel: +33 (0)4 9095-7007, fax: +33 (0)04 9090-7923; e-mail: abbaye@frigolet.com; http://www.frigolet.com/]
Grounds at Abbaye St.-Michel-de-Frigolet

Grounds at Abbaye St.-Michel-de-Frigolet


Exterior and main aisle of the Basilique Saint-Michel-de-Frigolet

Exterior and main aisle of the Basilique Saint-Michel-de-Frigolet


Interior Basilique St. Michel-de-Frigolet

Interior Basilique St. Michel-de-Frigolet


Basilique St.-Michel-de-Frigolet

Basilique St.-Michel-de-Frigolet


Basilique St.-Michel-de-Frigolet

Basilique St.-Michel-de-Frigolet



Grounds of Abbaye St.-Michel-de-Frigolet with the Basilique towers in the distance

Grounds of Abbaye St.-Michel-de-Frigolet with the Basilique towers in the distance

We pulled ourselves away and visited a very spare gift shop consisting mostly of food items. There is no information in English. We walked to the top of the hill and back snapping pictures, and then got in the car for the trip home. As we passed Saint-Remy-de-Provence, it started to rain. We stopped in Mollégès where Ed braved the rain to get our evening baguette. By the time we got home, the heavens had opened; it was pouring and we had a half inch of water in our driveway. We sat in the car until it abated a little and made a wet dash for the house.

Quite an exciting evening of thunder and lightning! Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Posted by Beausoleil 11:14 Archived in France Tagged saint-michel-de-frigolet maillane neo-gothic_churches Comments (0)

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