March 25 - March 30:  Bonjour from Cotes du Rhone

Provence was a nice, relaxing stay. We spent half the time hanging out, checking out the town, the Roman ruins, Roman bridge, the medieval old city (4th century) and most of the eating establishments. The weather was great the first five days, then it rained a couple of days. One of those days we all got our hair cut, and we all turned out looking pretty good! The other day we visited Avignon and saw the Palace of the Popes and the Pont D’Avignon on the Rhone River. There were seven popes who lived in Avignon from 1309-1403. The last 25 years, or so, there were two popes, one in Avignon and one in Rome. As I recall, it was Catherine of Sienna who convinced the pope of the time to return to Rome for good. The Pont D’Avignon was the only bridge to cross the Rhone during medieval times.

Tuesday was Market day in Vaison la Romaine. Our quiet village was suddenly completely overrun with merchants and shoppers. All kinds of food, bread, and crafts. We bought a rotisserie chicken, cheese, strawberries, green olive and basil tamponade, bread, wine, apricot juice, and fruity cookies and had a nice long lunch. They sell lots of linens, especially bright tablecloths, cicada motif trinkets and fabrics, lavender sachets, lavender soaps, lavender honey, anything lavender. It was fun.

We also drove to the top of Mt. Ventoux to pay homage to the spirit of the Tour de France. The drive home was very scenic through small towns and vineyards, with lots of mountains as well.

Another day we went to Orange to see a very well preserved Roman theater. It still had the back wall behind the stage. We also went to Pont du Gard to see the very cool Roman aqueduct. It was a very nice hike and setting. The aqueduct over the river was very impressive.

That’s all, Pat