Vacation in Europe in
the Summer of 2021
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Pont du Gard Near
the Town of Nimes
The Pont du Gard Roman
bridge supported an aqueduct. It keep a steady river of water
flowing cross-country to Nimes. The water dropped only one inch
for every 350 feet. This is part of a 30-mile long channel that
flowed for 400 years. You can still see the original stones and
a thin layer of mortar that waterproofed the channel. The arch
is the largest the Romans ever built - 80 feet across. The
bridge has no mortar - just stacked stones. Taking advantage of
the round arch the Romans invented, it's made strong by gravity.
The nearby museum shows how the aqueduct was built.
Amphitheater of Nimes - It is still being used.
Temple Maison Carree
It is a well-preserved
testament to Nimes as a regional capital of the Roman Empire.
Cours Mirabeau remains the
place for people watching.
Aix is often referred to
as the city of a thousand fountains. Among the most notable are
the 17th-century Fontaine des Quatre Dauphins (Fountain of the
Four Dolphins) in the Quartier Mazarin, designed by Jean-Claude
Rambot, and three of the fountains down the central Cours
At the top, a 19th-century fountain depicts the ''good
king'' René holding the Muscat grapes that he introduced to
Provence in the 15th century; halfway down is a natural hot
water fountain, covered in moss, dating back to the Romans; and
at the bottom at la Rotonde, the hub of modern Aix, stands a
monumental fountain from 1860 beneath three giant statues
representing art, justice and agriculture. In the older part of
Aix, there are also fountains of note in the Place d'Albertas
and the Place des Trois-Ormeaux.
Ansouis, a village of
Luberon sheltered from the Mistral, is full of tiny streets
dotted with boutiques and artists' workshops. As you walk about,
you can admire the village square shaded by the indigenous plane
trees or take in the local atmosphere at the terrace of the
There is a beautiful medieval (12th, century) castle which can
be visited even though privately owned.
Inside the castle of Ansouis is a magnificent collection of 17th
and 18th century. furniture as well as splendid tapestries.
The exterior gardens and terraces add grace and charm to the
setting as a whole.
Les Baux de
The village of Baux-de-Provence,
perched on a rocky outcrop, has an incredibly rich architectural
heritage. Its citadel dominates natural sites of extraordinary
Exceptional scenery to revive the testimonies of the
past, perpetuate traditions, shelter the art of men who settled
there, host events of prestige. These places full of history
offer many other temptations. The tradition of well-being is
more than ever present thanks to its gourmet restaurants and
charming hotels with distinguished guests.
The appellation of Baux-de-Provence is a symbol of quality: the wines, born from
rock and sun, are warm, its olive oil is fiery and fruity. In
the heart of the Alpilles Regional Nature Park, Classified
Resort, the one of the most beautiful villages in France, the
Baux-de-Provence are unique because a little more magical and a
little more illustrious.
The very essence that makes the
charm and the perfume so special of the Provencal villages is
there: the small squares, the shaded terraces, the narrow
streets and their shops.
Listed as ''one of the
most beautiful villages in France'', Lourmarin nestles in the
middle of vineyards, olive groves and almond trees.
A very animated village in the summer due to its numerous cafe
terraces, restaurants and boutiques, Lourmarin attracts many
There is a 15th and 16th century, castle that has peculiar stairs to
see and magnificent apartments to admire. (only the Renaissance
part of the castle is open to the public).
In the village you will notice the typical Mediterranean
architecture in its winding narrow streets, lovely old restored
houses, and well shaded public squares where you can immerse
yourself in the gentile Provencal ambience.
The inhabitants will want to remind you that Albert Camus,
winner of the Nobel Literature Prize, lived and wrote here. In
fact he was buried in the Lourmarin cemetery. In such esthetic
surroundings and so lively an atmosphere, it is really the place
to be in the Luberon in the summer months.
The citadel was rebuilt
after the Wars of religion (and again in the 19th century) and
sits impressively on a rock overlooking the west whilst the
church Notre Dame des Graces also dates from the 16th century.
There is a small castle (the Castelet) that has been built on
the ruins of an old fortress, an impressive bell tower and an
18th century chapel, St Blaise. Two arched fortified gates, the
Porte St Sauveur and Porte Notre Dame were used as entrances to
the village until the 18th century.
Famous artists including Picasso have lived in Menerbes, and
this arty tradition continues today as you will see through the
number of art galleries strewn through the village.
In the middle of Menerbes in a beautifully restored Renaissance
house, is the House of Wine & Truffles. It runs workshops on
wine tasting and on wines from Provence and also one on
discovering black truffles. There is also a shop if you just
want to buy. Of course, the area also has it's share of
vineyards if you prefer to visit them directly.
On the road out to Bonnieux you will find the corkscrew museum,
where you can view over 1000 examples of this clever little
instrument. And on the road to Lacoste, there is the Dolmen
Pichone, a Neolithic tomb made using dry stone technique. The
Abbey of Saint-Hilaire is a Carmelite convent building from the
12th & 13th centuries, where you can pay a small fee to explore
chapel, cloisters, terraces and caves.
Avignon is a commune in
south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left
bank of the Rhône river. Of the 90,194 inhabitants of the city
(as of 2011), about 12,000 live in the ancient town centre
enclosed by its medieval ramparts.
Between 1309 and 1377, during the Avignon Papacy, seven
successive popes resided in Avignon and in 1348 Pope Clement VI
bought the town from Joanna I of Naples. Papal control persisted
until 1791 when, during the French Revolution, it became part of
France. The town is now the capital of the Vaucluse department
and one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts.
The historic centre, which includes the Palais des Papes, the
cathedral, and the Pont d'Avignon, became a UNESCO World
Heritage Site in 1995. The medieval monuments and the annual
Festival d'Avignon have helped to make the town a major centre
Roussillon is a village
in the picturesque Luberon region of France about 15 kilometers
north-west of Apt and in lovely countryside next to the Monts de
Vaucluse. It is listed as one of the 'most beautiful villages of
France', and is the most visited village in the Luberon except
Gordes, a few kilometers to the west. Any visit to Luberon
should allow time to visit the village.
Roussillon has been inhabited since Neolithic times, then later
by the Romans who also left their traces. The village is also
well known for being home to Samuel Beckett during the Second
Start your visit to Roussillon by strolling along the streets
that climb up through the village, and making numerous detours
along the alleys to see the small squares hidden in the village.
You quickly reach the main square in Roussillon, a bustling
centre of shops and cafes with the Mairie to one side.
Roussillon has many beautiful houses, mostly constructed about
300 years ago...and also has its fair share of tourism related
gift shops and galleries etc, like many of the 'most beautiful
villages of France' in the popular Luberon region.
The principal pleasure comes from simply exploring the narrow
streets of the village and you will find yourself taking
hundreds of photographs of beautiful architectural details -
many of the houses in Roussillon are in various shades of
orange, pink and red, making it quite unique among villages in
the region as well as very photogenic .
The town of Gordes is
also included in this prestigious list for good reason. It is a
village perched on a hill and everyone who visits Gordes no
doubt has a photo of the town as they approach it: where Route
de Cavaillon (D15) and Chemin de Gaumaud meet. Photos are taken
from this vantage point. (A map is shown at the end of the
post). Yes it is, without a doubt, one of the most picturesque
towns you’ll see anywhere in Provence, with cobblestone streets,
and stunning views of the Luberon valley.
Being such a picturesque location, it is not surprising that
Gordes has attracted many artists including Marc Chagall and
Victor Vasarely. The 11th century medieval Château de Gordes in
the centre of town continues to have art exhibits like the one I
attended in 1978 where Vasarely had a major display. Vasarely
was the grandfather of optical illusion art. The exhibit
remained there until 1996 and was eventually moved to
There is nothing more pleasant than getting lost in Gordes.
There are winding streets and numerous paths that take you up
and down the hilltop town. You will be presented with lovely
views of the valley and there are spots with benches if you
decide you want to have a picnic.
I never get sick of walking through the town. There are so many
homes built into the hillside and it is not filled to capacity
with shops, which makes the visit less hectic. Towns like St.
Paul de Vence can be crazy busy due to the all the tourists
going in and out of the endless shops. It’s not like that in
Gordes. Yes, it can get crowded, but not in the same
Below is a video by Rick Steve