Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Yes, I love Provence!

Last time I wrote we were just beginning to move into the Provence region of France. I have to give Top Gear his due credit here...... He is proving to be a tour guide extraordinaire. He spends a lot of his spare time seeking out "off the tourist radar" places and while sometimes I worry we are going to end up sleeping in the car, or broken down on a one way dirt road in a vineyard, so far he has done very well.
Leaving Annecy, we headed to Sisteron. Never heard of it? Nor had I ! Apparently we were roughly following the route Napoleon Bonaparte took on his way to his final battle in Waterloo.....and we all know how that ended!
Sisteron is also touted as the unofficial gateway to Provence......yep, that's a gateway alright! Just what you expect to see round the next bend!

He had booked us into the best hotel in town nestled just outside the walls of this citadel in the centre of the town....... I suspect it was the only hotel in town but it turned out to be a delight. It was old school in every way but tres' elegant, and run by the most delightful family and their staff.
We spent a morning exploring the fortress. Napoleon passed through here in 1815 but it's foundations go back to the 9th century! It was amazing and the views from the top were breathtaking.

We still had plenty of day left so we headed out in the car explore. The receptionist at the hotel had told us about some beautiful hill top villages so we headed that way.
This part of Provence was such a surprise. I knew it was going to be beautiful but I was not prepared for the hills and valleys. At one point we were switch backing up the side of a mountain for ages to come out at the top on a huge plateau covered in endless acres of lavender feilds. Unfortunately we were little too early for the full blown blossoms but it was easy to see the spectacle it would become.

Our target for lunch was a little village called Moustiers St Marie, a village clinging to a mountainside, built around a waterfall........simply stunning!

A little sneaky shopping may have been done....... Busted!

The rain cleared so we decided to take the long way home via the Gorges of Verdon. A steep ravine, with a goat track road clinging to the edges, but overlooking a gushing river of a blue that seemed unnatural!

We finished the day, back at our lovely hotel with dinner and a lovely wine!
Are you sick of my travelogue yet? But wait there is more.........
The next day we wound our way across Provence......following a drive that took us through some of the Beaux d' Villages (beautiful villages) of Provence. Some we stopped at, some we didn't, all were lovely!
We were heading for the Pont Du Gard. Top Gear is endlessly fascinated with any feats of engineering and this one had been on his bucket list. A huge triple bridge, built by the Romans to carry water into the city of Nimes, circa 19 BC. Even I was impressed!

Now we had finally reached our pit stop destination.......a house, rented for a week, on the border of the Provence and Languedoc region. Time to sleep in, read, wash clothes, sew and cook our own food...... so ready for it! I can smell the Med sea air........nearly!
More to come soon.
Happy stitching!
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  1. Wow, you are seeing the most wonderful things. I ll never get sick of your travel story, I am loving it.....have a ball and travel safe.

  2. there is so much more to see then the normal tourist route...............enjoy your trip...........enjoy you weeks rest............

  3. I'm loving this vacation I'm taking with you two... lol :)
    Thanks for sharing those great pic's...