Monday, March 16, 2009

L'ISLE SUR LA SORGUE...Provence France

Saturday, March 14, 2009 Travel to L’Isle sur la Sorgue

By 8:30 am we’d eaten our breakfast in our room, packed and arrived at the train station for our trip to Avignon, only a twenty minute train ride. We picked up our little blue Fiat Panda that will take us around Provence for the next nine days. It’s a stick shift, and has a very small hatchback and four doors

We zipped out of the lot and headed east to see the great Roman Aqueduct: Pont du Gard located just outside the town of Remoulins, northwest of Nimes. I was amazed at how easily we eased in and out of the round-abouts; the routes were well marked with the names of towns and we really could have survived nicely without the maps. The aqueduct was a symbol of the greatness of Rome that stretched for thirty miles, dropping one inch every three hundred fifty feet and supplied the city of Nimes, one of ancients Europe’s largest cities with water. The Pont du Gard spans a canyon on a massive bridge; one of the most remarkable surviving Roman ruins anywhere according to the guide book.

Drove back towards Avignon circling south of the city as we continued eastward towards of the town of L’Isle Sur La Sorgue, a quaint little town in the center of provence that will be our home for the next nine nights. We’re staying in the Hotel les Nevons; a little two star that Jim and I have stayed at before. I was as amazed as Mary when I was able to drive directly to the hotel without checking the maps; partially instinct and good signage that I was able to read as I drove. It’s located at the center of town making it easy to walk everywhere. We have two market days here: Sunday and Thursday. We’ll enjoy the market tomorrow after church and then enjoy a site nearby as we’re both ready for a mini break.

The best news of the day is that we’ve found out that since we have our computers with us they are providing FREE WI-FI! Wow! Totally unexpected, I asked about the Internet service but never received an answer so we “assumed” that we would not have any. Wrong! And it’s a good service except we do have to go down to the lobby area to use it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009 Market Day

We woke early after an early evening last night, played cards and read our novels. This morning we dug our fancy clothes out and dressed for breakfast and church; we left the blue jeans in the closet for today! Mary even insisted on earrings and lipstick! We enjoyed a wonderful petit dejeuner in the breakfast room of the hotel that is decorated in the bright yellows and oranges of Provence. At eight and a half euros each, that’s a treat; coffee, juice, cereal, yogurt, and all kinds of breads and jams, even homemade preserves.

We checked our emails from home after breakfast before heading out to enjoy the Sunday Market; then it was over to the church for the 10:30 am service. On the way we enjoyed a slow stroll through the huge market that was in full swing; in Provence every town has a market day and I’Isle Sur La Sorgue has two: Thursday and the big one on Sunday. Vendors go from town to town with their wares. This market is famous for the antiques that don’t appear in any other towns as their stores are based in this town.

We found “twin” purses that are perfect for our trip…the ones we have been using are just too small. It’s easy to spend money walking around the various tables, so it was good that we had to get to church. The church is located in the center of the City Center and is a twelfth century building with a rich interior decoration of an eighteenth century gold baroque choir in the sanctuary; one of the most beautiful examples of baroque art in Provence. The Mass last for an hour and a half due to the singing; but it was so wonderful no one, less of all us, seemed to mind. The choir was all behind the large altar and we could only see a few of them during the mass but what a magnificent sound. At the end of Mass they all came out and grouped on the Altar for one final song. Truly amazing!

After Mass we again walked the Market and only purchased some food for lunch before going back to the hotel for our afternoon trip. We headed out to see Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. This is the source of all the water that flows down the Sorgue River; it comes from an underground cavern that, according to the information, is so deep they’ve never gone to the bottom of it. It is located about twelve miles from town and then we had a half hour walk up the path to reach the basin from whence the water flowed. On our walk back to the car we stopped and enjoyed an apple and some cheese that we’d brought with us as we watched the torrid water flowing down from the source over random rapids that are used for kayak racing in the summers.

Back at the hotel we noted that the market was over and they were rapidly cleaning up as we gathered our laundry and headed for the Laverie to do two loads of laundry. This project took just over an hour and we were off for the hotel and computer time.

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