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.

The Amphitheater of Nimes - It is still being used.

The Ancient Temple Maison Carree

It is a well-preserved testament to Nimes as a regional capital of the Roman Empire.

Nimes Gardens


Aix-en-Provence

Cours Mirabeau remains the place for people watching.

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

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 Mirabeau.

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

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 cafe.

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.

Ansouis

Ansouis

Ansouis


Les Baux de Provence

The village of Baux-de-Provence, perched on a rocky outcrop, has an incredibly rich architectural heritage. Its citadel dominates natural sites of extraordinary beauty.

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.


Lourmarin

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 visitors.

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.

Lourmarin

Lourmarin

Lourmarin


Menerbes

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.

Menerbes

Menerbes


Avignon

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 for tourism

Avignon

Avignon

Avignon


Roussillon

Roussillon

Roussillon

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 World War.

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 .


Gordes

Gordes

Gordes

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 Aix-en-Provence.

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 claustrophobic way.


                          

 

Below is a video by Rick Steve about Provence

https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/video/tv-show/provence-legendary-light-wind-and-wine