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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

avignon and provence

So, OK, just a little bit more about my trip to France.  We spent the weekend in Avignon, and since my mother had rented a car for some of her meetings the following week, we got to go explore lots of gorgeous small towns.  The first one was Gordes, which is this amazing hill-top stone city.  We sort of missed out on the view, though, because it was pouring as we arrived.  The rain continued off and on all day, and at one point, as we ate our lunch looking out over the countryside, the sun suddenly came out and we actually see!  Everything looked even lovelier after that.  As we drove away, we got one terrible picture (through the car window) of how lovely Gordes looks from a distance. Afterwards we visited this old stone village (of Bories) which was completely bizarre.  It was still raining as we explored stone huts and wondered how they knew which ones were where people lived and which ones had animals.  We visited a couple more towns, including Roussillon which has amazing, vibrant red cliffs and lots of ochre.  The town itself also had really bright buildings and an old church with amazing views where you could look over the countryside.  (There were lots of great views in Provence.) 

That evening we went to a nice restaurant in Avignon, where we each had three courses.  The best part was probably my starter, mushroom soup that was incredibly delicious without being too rich or too much.  Dessert was also incredible.  Our hotel was right next to the Palais de Papes in Avignon, so it was really easy to get anywhere in the city.  The next day we visited more towns, and some old ruins... Greek then Roman.  Kind of unbelievable.  There was a hill next to it that we hiked up to look out over the old city (which no longer exists) and then towards Avignon.  It was a beautiful day, so you could actually see for miles.  We ate a picnic dinner while we hiked around the area (trying to find a specific hike and not realizing that we'd actually begun at the end of it... but oh well).  That evening we explored Avignon a little and drank hot chocolate in our hotel room. I had the next day to myself in Avignon, wandering around, visiting museums, and enjoying the views.  It was perfect weather, nice and sunny but not too hot.  I'd definitely recommend March as a lovely time to visit the south of France, because it was a little bit miserable there in August, but just perfect in the spring. 

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