Advance on Avignon

Today we woke to a lovely sunny morning, and sadly said goodbye to Le Phebus.  We headed off for the life spring of the Luberon: the small town of la Fontaine de Vaucluse, from which the headwaters of the Sorgue river spring.  This is a charming resort town, and features many cute cafes riverside.   We hiked up the canyon to the source waters of the Sorgue. The river waters are a lovely emerald green!  It’s kind of a cool thing to be able to see the source waters, but we’ve missed the ability to see the source waters bubbling out of the rocks which happened for a few days this spring after heavy rains. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure the weather was cold and rainy during that time, so Jim and I are happy to be able to be able to hike in good weather!

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Then it was off to test another charming little Provençal town, St. Remy. This town is known primarily for two things: as the birthplace of Nostradamus, and as the town in which Vincent van Gogh spent the last year of his life at the asylum of St. Paul de Mausole.  We arrived in town just in time for lunch, and found a cute cafe to eat. Then we spent some time wandering around town.

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After lunch, we drove slightly outside town to the asylum, which is still in operation.  There you can see a re-created room that looks like the yellow bedroom Van Gogh painted, and you can also see the chapel.  The grounds at the asylum are stunning, and they have hung reproductions of Van Gogh’s work throughout the garden. Again, the gardens featured newly blooming lavender bushes, which served as a pretty frame for the chapel.

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We wrapped up our day with a short walk from the asylum to the restored ancient city of Glanum. This archeological site has it all!  The earliest occupants of the city were Frankish Celts, who were in turn conquered by the Greeks, and then the Romans.  The excavated ruins are really impressive, and this site is actually just a couple of miles from Les Baux en Provence. We wandered all over the ruins and took scads of photos, but then it was time to complete today’s journey to our new home on the outskirts of Avignon.

Glanum-iPhone-1St. Remy-71St. Remy-72St. Remy-79St. Remy-87St. Remy-88St. Remy-93St. Remy-94St. Remy-97St. Remy-98St. Remy-100St. Remy-101St. Remy-104Our new home is a lovely resort hotel called La Auberge du Cassagne.  Part of the main hall of the hotel goes back to early medieval times, and you can see exposed beams on the very low ceilings of some of the reception rooms.Of course, we barely noticed the beams, the rooms or anything else as we went down to the dining room for another epicurean meal!

Tomorrow we return to Avignon to the food halls to select fresh ingredients for our cooking lesson and lunch at La Mirande hotel. Stay tuned!

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