September, 2011, in Provence, France

In September of 2011, we (Karen and I) were joined by our very good friends Pete and Dorothy for a trip to and through Provence, France. The joint travel with people with whom we are so sympatico and of whom we are so fond made the vacation a pleasure from start to end. We spend a good bit of time with them throughout the year, so we were well-acquanted prior to the trip.

Below: Pete and Dorothy, and Chuck and Karen, taken in Provence (do we look happy, or what?):
Pete and Dorothy in Provence Chuck and Karen in Provence

We flew through Frankfurt to Marseilles, France, and then drove about an hour and a half through Provence to Viason La Romaine, a beautiful town. From the town’s website: “Located in the Haut-Vaucluse region, near the main motorway running through the Rhône area and the cities it serves, Vaison-la-Romaine is lucky enough to be situated between the Alps and the Mediterranean. The town lies nestling in lush, fertile countryside and invites you to share in its heritage, celebrations and commercial activities, along with its well-preserved authenticity and lifestyle.” Every word is true. We were charmed by the town and by our hotel, Le Fete en Provence, with 12 rooms and a sumptuous restaurant. We had to climb a steep staircase up a silo shaped stone structure to our room, which was surprisingly large and with a large bathroom. The hotel was in an ancient stone structure on a cobblestone street of other such structures. Looking at each, one could see the century upon centure rework, additions, and maintenance layers of mostly stone. It is both charming and alluring.

Below: The entrance to our hotel, and the street view when looking back from the entrance:
Hotel La Fete en Provence Street view near our hotel

The region is very rural and agricultural, and is full of scenic medieval-era villages. We spent our first days touring the villages of Crestet, Suzette, Gigondas, Sablet, and Seguret.

Below: Town center scene, and lunch al fresco in Gigondas:
Town center scene lunch in Gigondas

We took a little drive to Pont du Gard to view the ancient Roman Aquaducts. The are still amazing - the quality of Roman engineering is not surpassed, in my view. We were permitted to climb and to walk the aquaducts... what an experience!

Below: The Roman Aquaducts at Pont du Gare:
Roman Aquaducts Chuck relaxing and enjoying the scenery

We drove an 50 or 60 kilometers south of Viason La Romaine to St. Remy to stay at the fabulous Chateau de Roussan (no link - now closed). The approach to the chateau was down a beautiful lane lined with walls of tall trees with a view of the front of the chateau. We had a huge room with all the amenities. This was in an ideal location, where we could walk into St. Remy downtown.

Below: The lane to the Chateau; and the Chateau de Roussan:
Lane to the Chateau Chateau

Below: Part of our room at the Chateau; and Pete & Dorothy walking to town:
Room Walking to town

The last full day at St. Remy, we drove into Arles, enjoying the ambiance and the twists of the city. At one point we got lost and drove in circles and ended up at a street with a big post in the center of the street to block it off. This was a common traffic control, and I was at a loss as to what to do. We finally manuvered out of the situation. We settled in for a lunch and, of course, some local wines at a local cafe with tables in an open square. Life is good.

Below: Pete and Dorothy enjoying their wine:
Pete enjoying a glass of wine Dorothy enjoying a glass of wine
Below: Chuck and Karen enjoying their wine:
Chuck enjoying a glass of wine Karen enjoying a glass of wine

That last evening in St. Remy we had dinner at La Table de Roussan at the Chateau.

There was so much more to report on this trip. I hope to complete this report soon.

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