We are almost done our touring of Provence. One word to explain it is, simply Beautiful! The people are lovely, and we continue to get many compliments on the kids french. They are amazed that they have the opportunity to be in french school. It has really confirmed my decision to put my children in french immersion. What an amazing gift they have that I am watching them use. To hear a France, French person say that they speak really well makes me feel proud, as I had heard that they can be critical of Canadian french.
What a tour we have done so far. I will first list all of the places we have visited so far, not listing places visited more than once due to getting lost and having to retrace our steps multiple times. May I say that round a bouts….love them and @#@&%&*&%&% them.
Pont du Gard, Remoulins, L’Isle Sur la Sorgue ( pronounced, Lees sir la Sorg), Les Baux, St.Remy, Gordes, Rousillon, Joucas, Coustellet, Fontaine-de-Vaclause. Phew!!!
It is nothing that I thought it would be, yet much, much more. What a gift we are living!
Day 6: We left Carcassone, and managed to find our way to Pont du Gard uneventfully. I was expecting to see a big Roman bridge but I had no idea the immensity of it, and the swimming, canoeing, and kayaking activities on the river in every direction. I also did not understand its history, which is also equally impressive. We spent time there walking around and Noah and Kalyna swam. I welcomed being splashed while I waded in the river- the temperature was only 39`c. After checking out the museum to learn more about what aqueducts are, and why and how it was built, we hit the road in our lovely air conditioned car.
I now have to explain to you my comment about round a bouts. You see, they are great if you missed your turn/exit because you can just keep going around until you find the right one. But if you do not know which one you need to take, you are hooped. We were looking for the hwy # or the
Rd name, which was on our Google directions. What we needed to be looking for is the name of the closest town you are driving towards-not to be confused with your final destination. After our 3rd try, we stopped to ask for help, and this is when we caught onto needing to know this important piece of information for EVERY round a bout, to which there were 100’s, which also broke up the speed Kim could get to in our speedy diesel. Long story, short, we made it convinced once again that we could not play the Amazing race together and stay married…
Day 7: After some much needed sleep, we got up and found a Pattiserie right around the corner from our hotel- croissants, pain au chocolate, espresso…mmmm…We were already off to a late start when the keys got locked in our rental car, the mechanic came to our rescue, but charged us €145 to be our hero,and after deciding where we should go with the rest of our hot day, we headed off to St. Remy to find what the big deal was about with Joel Durand and his chocolate. I would like to say that I bought presents for some of you from Joel’s store, but I must be honest that they will most likely not make it home to Canada by August 12th….
I also lucked out that there was a small market happening in St. Remy that day, so we got a glimpse of some of the local produce and products.
Next stop was Les Baux, which is a medieval town up on a hill, surrounded by stone hills, which reminded us of being in Drumheller, AB, and Righting on Stone Park, AB, minus the castles… It was Amazing, and we were lucky to have gotten there later in the afternoon as the crowds had dispersed, so that we could negotiate the narrow streets with all of the dog caca everywhere. May I say right now, that the French need lesson in picking up dog poo. We stayed long enough to have a nice dinner overlooking the most impressive view available in Les Baux. One of the reasons we chose that restaurant, and also that there was a chef hamburger on the daily specials and the kids were having a craving. I giggle as I type hamburger, because when the server brought one of them to our table, she announced, “Your Hamburger.” with such a thick french accent it made it sound exotic (and also how Steve Martin said hamburger in the Pink Panther).
Day 8: We attempted to get up early so that we could beat the heat and the crowds. We drove towards Gordes (Kim calls it Gordos). Another town that I was thankful to being able to see. A town also up on a hill, which a narrow, and windy road leads to. The highlight for Jordan was that we saw red Ferrrari.
Once again, more Amazing views of this town from above and below, and also of the Provencal countryside.
Next town, Rousillon and its red buildings from the Ochre. It was baffling to us, how close each town was, yet with such differences, and in this case, the color of the dirt, which was the color of shale. This made the buildings here distinct compared to the other towns we visited.
The highlight for the kids was that I sat in some orange Ochre while we were eating our lunch on a ledge watching traffic. The back of my dress of course turned orange and even Kim’s hand when we tried to wipe it off….
Joucas, was a very small artsy town that loves its sculptures with stone and wood. We tried and tried unsuccessfully to find its fountain, which turned out to be nothing fancy, but a place to fill up your watering can. Still the journey up the windy cobblestone paths was adventuresome.
Last stop, Coustellet to visit the Lavender Museum. We are in Provence for lavender harvest, so we have not yet seen it all in bloom in the fields but in every market, store, and many restaurants. The smell is everywhere….mmmmm… I LOVE lavender! The museum was a quick visit for Kalyna and I while the boys waited for us outside in the shade. We saw how it is harvested, and the differences in the different lavender plants.
Because we left the hotel by 8:40 in the morning, we were back at the hotel by 3pm so that there was lots of time to hit the pool. Yeah!
Day 9: Our last full day in Provence was one to be a relaxing one. At dinner the night before we decided as a family that we didn’t want to travel very far the next day as planned. Basically we were burning out, and we were all sound asleep shortly after 10pm on day 8.
After gently trying to wake the kids up at 8:30 am, we decided to head off to explore on our own, and let the kids sleep. It was Sunday, and it was market day in L’Isle Sur la Sorgue- music to my ears! There was miles of vendors selling a variety of goods from produce and meat to jewellery, clothing and antiques, and everything in between. You will never guess what I bought- my 1st pair of shoes!!! I had to break the seal sometime.
We walked up and down the many streets and main canal browsing the many vendors, and purchased some yummy things for a nice picnic lunch with the kids. The produce is not cheap, but it is soooo good and fresh!
Finally tonight, we went for supper, and found a great creperie, to which we all tried something new, and ended our meal with some extravagant ice cream desserts.
Tomorrow will take us to Ville France sur Mer, which is right next to Nice- on the Mediterranean.
Enjoy the many pictures!
Love to all!
Trina, Kim, Jordan, Kalyna, and Noah