Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FONTAINE-DE-VAUCLUSE…in the sunshine!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Today is the actual “Labor Day” and the government offices were closed along with many of the stores.  We started our day about 8 am with breakfast at a local bakery called Fromentori.  The pastry was wonderful but the coffee definitely left us looking for a new place for tomorrow….it was black only and only a small amount in thin plastic cups…we were amazed the cups didn’t melt!   But the sun was shining and we were ready for a nice day of exploring.

Off on our day’s adventure by 9 am our first stop was to visit the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.  We had a short hike up the trail to the pool of unknown depth that is the source of the water in the Sorgue River.  The pool at the base of the cliff is very clear and still…yet a rapidly running river emerges from this pool and flows down rapids that will be full of kayaks in the warmer months.  The paper mill that is located on the trail was closed due to the holiday but it was still one of the best things we did today.  This is the same river that flows through and around our village where we are staying.

From there we drove to the hill town of Menerbes; best known as the home of the author of the book “A Year In Provence”.  We walked the town and looked out over the valley…stretching our imagination about just where the famous farmhouse is located.

Then we drove to another hill called Lacoste; known for the chateau of the Marquis de Sade that was purchased and partially rebuilt as the home of the fashion designer Pierre Cardin.  There is also an art school there and they have many modern art pieces scattered about the village.  We ended up eating our picnic lunch at the chateau.

The first town after lunch was Bonnieux and then we drove through the center of Apt before reaching the red earth in Roussillon; all hill villages in the Luberon.  Finally made a stop to visit the village of Gordes before driving a short ways to the Villages of the Bories.  These are beehive shaped homes built in several different counties in Europe from rocks without mortar to hold them together.  

Then it was back in the car for the drive to Venesque…another hill town we’ve stayed in during our visits to Provence; with a stop to see the Abbey Notre-Dame de Senanque.  This abbey is known for the lavender fields that surround the abbey; unfortunately for us they will not flower until July. 

We talked about going about 30 miles to see the area that we missed yesterday because of the rain but decided to try to do that on another day.  It was 5:30 pm when we arrived back at the hotel.  Just enough time to relax before dinner at seven.  We ate a wonderful meal on the balcony of the Les Terrasses du Bassin Restaurant overlooking the Sorgue River.  A lovely way to end a perfect day. 

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