Trip Report – Provence
In September, my husband and I took a trip to Europe for a few weeks. We spent time in Paris and London, then on to the last leg of our trip in Provence. Check out the full trip reports here of London and Paris. We took a train from Paris to Provence in just about two and a half hours. Luckily, I was able to get some of my assignments for my health coach training done while on this trip so it wasn’t too long of a ride.
We stayed in a city called Avignon and used it as our jumping off point for seeing a number of other little cities during our four full days there. After our arrival, we took a walk from one end of the city to another in just under 10 minutes. We were surprised how quaint and charming it was, but the feel was much different than the big cities we had just come from. We spent a few hours just wandering and taking in the area, snapping photos and (finally) slowing down to relax. We were pleasantly surprised by the warmer weather, although it was pretty windy.
It was neat to see the Rhone River. All I could think about was 7th grade social studies class where my teacher would talk on and on about the Romans and the Rhone River. It’s strange what sticks with us as we get older. Since it was still early, we decided to check out the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) and took a fun little audio tour.
We ended the evening by going outside the city walls and walking across the bridge over the Rhone and back. It was nice to be in a new city that had a much smaller feel.
The next day, we took a short train to Nimes, the place where denim was invented. We mostly did a lot of wandering, took a tour of the Roman arena, and saw a few of the historic sights. We spent a few hours there, but at this point in our trip, doing anything except lounging around was kind of exhausting.
We finished the day back in Avignon wandering through the back roads and getting acquainted with a place with such tiny little roads.
Our third day in Provence, we took a group tour that took us to a number of different places in Provence within an 11-hour time frame. This turned out to be our favorite day of the entire trip. We saw an old Roman arch, visited and toured another Roman arena (this place was massive!), then traveled on to a lovely little winery in the Chateauneuf du Pape region. The arch was interesting, but it was mostly just a stop for a photo opp. The arena was pretty impressive, but a lot of the audio tour was similar to the one we heard in Nimes. We also had to really hurry through it, because we had to meet back at the van by a certain time.
The winery was pretty fun, as we got to take a tour then have a few tastes at the end. The wine was incredible and it was fun to actually understand why this is considered to be one of the best wine making regions in the world. I had never been to a winery for a tasting before so learning about how to do it as well as the background and history of the region was a real treat.
It was pretty amusing actually, because all the folks in our van (including us) had been fairly kept to themselves before this part of the trip. After we had visited the winery, we chatted the entire rest of the day. I guess that’s what a little good French wine in your system does!
Next, we were on to a small village called Rousillon. We were only there for about an hour, but I think this was my favorite stop. We grabbed a little lunch, then headed off to try their famous lavender ice cream! The ice cream was so different, but delicious. I recommended it to someone else on our trip and they told me they thought it tasted like soap. Ah, well, I guess everyone has different taste buds. But I loved it! The village itself was amazing, because of the gorgeous ochre colors of the buildings and the hillsides. When I look at the photos, I almost feel like I didn’t even visit. It looks too perfect to exist in real life – and yet it does.
If you haven’t figured yet, this was one very fully packed day. Our next two stops were in two more little villages of Gourdes and Les Baux. Both were just quick little trips, but it was really neat to see homes and shops that are so different than I’m used to at home. The beauty and history of these places was just remarkable.
Our last stop was to the Pont du Gard, which was really beautiful. It really does speak for itself. It’s old. It’s gorgeous. Romans were incredibly crazy smart when they built it.
We really loved our tour that we went on and we decided that doing things like that are really great ways to see a lot during our times when we travel. We enjoyed being able to see a lot, but not having to walk or figure out the logistics on getting from here to there. It was really wonderful.
Our last full day in Provence I woke up with a nasty cold, but we were set to head over to Arles to see more Roman sites and take in another city. I wasn’t feeling my best, but we decided to go anyway, because we had already bought the train tickets (which by the way, they almost never check). We only ended up spending a couple hours there before coming back and resting in our hotel and in spending the evening in Avignon again. Here are a few of the photo highlights from our short but sweet time in Arles:
Overall, we really enjoyed our time in Provence and are really happy we did the van tour as it let us really take in so much more of the region than we would have been able to if it had just been Tyler and I. Our entire trip was one that will last a lifetime and really gave me such an appreciation for parts of the world I have never seen before, but also (and most importantly) my own home. Now that we’re home, we appreciate what we have so much more. Our beds. Our home-cooked meals. Our house even smelled like fresh paint when we walked in (now that’s something we often get used to!).
This is the last post of my trip reports. I’m sure some of you are totally over my photo bomb sharing of my trip. Which is why next week, we’ll be back to regularly scheduled cooking and food posts. I actually can’t tell you how much I missed making my own meals while we were gone and I’ve been a cooking machine since I’ve been home! I can’t wait to share with you what’s been going on in my kitchen lately. See you next week!