PONT DU GARD
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
We’ve set 8 am as our meeting time for breakfast each morning and today we tried a new place; the Boulangerie around the corner from the hotel. Wonderful pastry and the hot chocolate was the best…..but, my black coffee was only a small cup even though she said it was double the French version. But, I must admit it was strong so maybe it was enough!
By 9 am we were on the road for today’s journey. We headed west around the city walls of Avignon…great photo shots. Then we continued west to the Pont du Gard; the massive aqueduct that was built by the Romans nineteen years before the birth of Christ to supply water to the Roman City of Nimes. Nimes was one of the largest cities in Ancient Europe and still exists today. We’ve plans to visit there next week.
It is truly amazing and Jim was thrilled to see it again. When we first saw it you could not walk across the lower level…now you can. I’d made the walk in 2009 so stayed below to take photos of them crossing the wide expanse. We had one little blip as we tried to leave the parking lot. First of all the charge for parking was 18 Euros…which we thought was excessive….and then they required a credit card. The only card we have with a chip in it is our American Express so we finally had to park and send Jim in to the office with his MasterCharge. After several attempts they were finally able to pay the bill….cash was not an option. When we questioned the amount they said that was for the parking and also the entry fee into the park. So 4.50 Euro each was not a bad amount for what we’d seen and done. We’ve paid more than double that for many entry fees.
Our next stop that Linda had discovered for us was off the beaten path outside the city of Fontvieille; It is the remains of the Barbegal Roman Aquaduct that is several blocks long and is still very much a ruin. It supplied the city of Arles with water and ran a mill complex. We were able to walk the length until it ended on a bluff overlooking a valley of farm land.
Nearby in the town of Fontevieille we explored the Moulin (windmill) that is fully restored. We stayed in the park and enjoyed our lunch that we’d purchased this morning at the store before leaving town.
Setting Daisy for Las Baux,we headed off again towards the northeast until we arrived at one of the biggest tourists gatherings we saw today. The old chateau and village have been restored and is a draw for the large tourist buses that roam Provence and belch out multi-lingual visitors by the hundreds. We paid our parking fees and did the walk to the top of the village; snapping photos as we walked. It was interesting but there were far too many people to really enjoy the village. The Grimaldi Family, rulers of Monaco, hold the title to the village since 1642; but the village is entirely French.
Daisy then took us to St. Remy and Glanum for some ancient monuments where we stopped for a couple of photos and then headed for the hill town of Eygallieres where we parked our car and walked to the crest for the views and wonderful old buildings; many still in ruins.
Arrived back at the hotel about 5 pm and after a short visit we walked to the grocery store for our lunch supplies for tomorrow. On the way back we stopped at a bar and enjoyed cold beer while sitting at tables on the sidewalk and watching the people. Our waitress was a “saucy” girl with fairly good English who took some photos for us. There was a James Dean portrait on the wall inside and when we verified it was him; she said yes…he’s my husband! We left her a good tip.
This evening we enjoyed dinner at a different restaurant that also had seating on the river; a warmer evening so we enjoyed it more. I ordered the fixed price meal and had way too much food….good thing that Jim enjoys helping me finish cleaning my plate. I had an eggplant salad followed by a delicious main course of lamb and a dessert of assorted cheeses. Jim had canard again; he seems to have it every night and is always making comparisons to previous meals. The biggest difference is the sauces. Linda and Terry have dessert almost every night but we tend to stick with the chocolate bar for our sweets.
Tomorrow we head south towards Nice….it will be a long day of driving. After two beautiful days of sunshine they say we may see a few days of light rain. It’s always sad to leave Provence never knowing if and when we’ll see it again.