Promenade en Provence ~ 2017, Day 12

It’s hard to believe our last day of touring is here! What a wonderful time we have shared together.

We’re spending today in Arles. Just outside town, we stopped by a reproduction of the Langlois Bridge, one of many such structures that Vincent van Gogh painted during his time here.

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Then we parked by the Rhone and entered past the ancient Roman gates. Nearby a plaque marked the spot from which Vincent van Gogh painted Starry Night Over The Rhone. His spirit is felt throughout the town of Arles.

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Les Arènes, the 2000 year old Roman amphitheatre … and we had a touch of a mistral to blow us around.IMG_6619

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The ruins of the ancient Roman theatre  (Theatre Antique) just across the street from Les Arènes.

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Then we wandered through the Place de la Republique into the heart of town.

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A stroll into the Place du Forum, brought us to the storied Café la Nuit depicted in one of van Gogh’s more famous pieces.

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Some of us wandered through the market and ate lunch as we were tempted.

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The hospital in Arles where van Gogh spent some time. The gardens and setting have been reproduced to reflect that period.

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Dinner? We saved the best for last at L’Essential!
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And celebrated Trudy’s birthday …

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The evening was filled with laughter, love and promises to stay in contact with each other.

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Liz made a touching toast on behalf of the group.

ANNIE, CAROL, CINDY, CRYSTAL, DAWN, JOAN, JOYCE, JUDY, LIZ, MARG, MARIE, MILLIE, PATTI, RICKIE, SUSAN, TRUDY ~ Susan and I cannot thank each of you enough for the wonderful experience we had spending the twelve days touring Provence together. You truly are an exceptional group of women. It was our privilege to share this time with you and become friends. À bientôt!

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(I have many more photos to share with you and will let you know when I have them organized and ready for you to access. It will be some time in July.)

 

 

Promenade en Provence ~2017, Day 11

The monastery of St. Paul de Mausole, just outside St. Remy, was to be our first stop. However, on the way …

SUNFLOWERS!

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Then we had time to appreciate this special place, with a wing still used as a psychiatric treatment centre, where Van Gogh had spent a productive 10 months. Sadly, his demons were not cured.

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The back garden was a beautiful surprise.

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Putting on “the pose” (below) for us. :-)

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And, finally, we had poppies!

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After a typical lunch at a boulangerie, we carried on to Les Baux, with a stop for this photo op of the village and castle ruin. We decided it was too hot to walk up into the village.IMG_6550 IMG_6557 IMG_6549

The cool cave of the Carrières de Lumières was a welcome relief. The show was spectacular.

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An early arrival back to the hotel left time to relax by the pool.

And at the end of another awesome day … dinner, of course! This time back at Le Petit Chaudron where we’ve become the new favourites with Chef Pascal, Marie Carrol and Sarah.

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Promenade en Provence ~2017, Day 10

Another hot, hot, hot, day!

We set off to explore the Luberon and find some lavender fields. Marcel brought a much smaller bus so we were able to make our way along the narrow roads more easily. Yay, Marcel!

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Marcel and Valerie were diligently on the hunt for a poppy field for us. Although we knew we were a little too late to see the full effect, they did find this one for us. Seeing all the seed pods we could just imagine how spectacular it must have been.

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Our first stop was the Musée de La Lavande in Coustellet, where we learned a thing or two about the healing powers and benefits of pure lavender oil.

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After meandering through the scenic roads of the Luberon, we could see some lavender fields were more advanced than others.

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Our destination was the charming and colourful village of Roussillon.

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Of course, we had to pose for the iconic group photo. Love it!

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Some of us walked part of the famous Ochre Trail … Joan walked it all! This unique area is why Roussillon and surroundings are known as the  Colorado of Provence.

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Others wandered the winding streets, relaxed over lunch on terraces or did a little shopping.

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After lunch, we drove on to the 12th C, Abbaye de Sénanque. Valerie took us into the Abbaye for a private tour and, although the lavender was not at its peak, the setting was as stunning as always.

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I’ve snuck in a photo for you of how it looks when the flowers are in full bloom. :-) Another week or two would probably have done it for us this year.

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With temperatures in the 30C/90F all week, we decided it was too hot to attempt the steep streets of Gordes. However, we did stop so everyone could record the breathtaking setting.

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Dinner! Our second visit to D’Ici et D’Ailleurs and the lamb tajine was a big hit!

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Promenade en Provence ~ 2017, Day 9

St. Remy-en-Provence ~ Market Day! We are on our way with Valerie and Marcel.

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First, a walking tour with Valerie.

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And then we hit the market!

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Enticing food displays and … all sorts of other goodies, too numerous to mention. Did someone say “clothes”?

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After lunch, we made a quick visit to Tarascon on our way to the Moulin St-Jean. Our wonderful driver even found us sunflowers!

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No fun at all!

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This beautiful home and business have been in the same family for 10 generations. They produce award-winning olive oil.

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And after the oil tasting …

… the wine tasting! It’s time for dinner again! This time at the most surprising Le Petit Chaudron with chef Pascal.

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Promenade en Provence ~ 2017, Day 8

Avignon

Our new guide, Valerie, met us at the hotel to begin a walking tour of the  old city and the Palais des Papes. We scored another good one!

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It’s HOT! Water spritzers for everyone!

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And even a touch of home for Liz!

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The Palace of the Popes ~ the seat of Western Christianity during the 14th Century, when the papacy temporarily left Rome.

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Then we climbed to the park at the top of the hill to see what remains of the famous bridge.

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Lunch in a shady square.

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Then back to the hotel for a dip and …

And dinner! This dish was too pretty not to share with you!

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The end of another busy but wonderful day!

Promenade en Provence ~ 2017, Day 7

We waved au revoir to the Côte d’Azur. Everyone was in complete agreement that they had fallen in love with the Riviera and many are already making plans to return. No surprise there!

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Stefan navigated the drive to Aix-en-ProvenceIMG_7265 in his inimitable fashion. Did you know that all bus and truck drivers in France have to blow into a breathalyzer type of control before the engine on their vehicle will start?

What a fine group of women on the tour. It’s a pleasure to share this trip with each of them.

Millie gave us the perfect example of how to keep cool with her fan/spritzer. We are suddenly having a heat wave in Provence!

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We all tried to catch a photo of Mont Saint- Victoire (made famous by Cezanne) as the bus sped along the autoroute.

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A two-hour stop for lunch in Aix-en-Provence.

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And on to our hotel in Avignon, where we are staying for the next six nights. With temperatures around 92F/32C, we’re delighted to have a pool.

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And once we were settled in, as you might expect, dinner was next on the agenda!

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Promenade en Provence ~ 2017, Day 4

Every day brings a new adventure. We all feel IMG_7095extremely fortunate to have our expert guide, Stefanie, and excellent chauffeur de bus, Stefan.

Today we began with a stop on Mount Boron on the east side of Nice to take in the view.

Stephanie provided us with a colorful commentary of history and local stories as she pointed out  splendid villas and other landmarks.

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We stopped on the road above Villefranche-sur-Mer for this iconic shot.IMG_7122Then we continued with a thrilling drive up to the hilltop village of Eze. Bravo, Stefan! Navigating those curves and squeezing past oncoming traffic required a special skill!

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Next stop, down the hill to Monaco.

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As always, dinner was the final act ~ with a birthday to celebrate!

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Promenade en Provence ~ 2017, Day 3

Thursday, June 8

Today was our busiest day but we were ready for it!

We began with a bus ride up into the hills to Grasse, considered the perfume capital of the world. With a perfect climate for growing fragrant flowers, this business has been a mainstay of the area since the 17th century.

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We toured the Fragonard perfume establishment, still run by descendants of the original founders. After a detailed demonstration of how their scents are developed and produced, there was time for some retail therapy in the beautiful boutique.

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A quick walking tour around town got us to the Cathedral just as they were closing up for lunch. C’est la vie.

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But there was time for Annie’s Nutella crepe!

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After a lot of hairpin turns, we arrived for lunch in Les Tourrettes ~ a favourite village still not overloaded with tourists.

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And on to Saint Paul de Vence!

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The end of the day … and what else? Another fine meal in the old town of Nice!

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