Give me time, and I can fill a book with reasons you should travel to this remarkable region! First, let’s look to the towns and villages – Avignon, the Papal Palace and retreat on the Rhône. Aix-en-Provence, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes, Cassis overlooking the Mediterranean, and the sprawling natural landscape of the Camargue. In Aix, we duck around a corner to find the perfect café in the sun for lunch. The friendly owner recommends plats and a Côtes de Provence Rosé. We dine in Greoux le Bain next to a friendly young couple from Sophia Antipolis. They insist we join them for a typical digestif. Phew! Marc de Provence, I believe she called the drink, and it was s-t-r-o-n-g! Thus the engaging people join the enchanting towns as reasons for our love of Provence.
Extraordinary Roman ruins point the ways of old Roman roads and customs, of religious communities and trade routes. The amphitheatre in Nîmes, the Pont du Gard aqueduct above the city and ancient fountains in tiny hilltop towns – each provides a fascinating view of the past. The defensive walls around Aigues-Morte and the secluded Romanesque abbeys – serene retreats from a land once thought to be sauvage (wild), a land routinely ravaged by Mistral winds through the seasons.
And the Mediterranean spreads like luminous turquoise peacock feathers along the coast. We stop in Bandol for a lazy lunch under wisteria-draped balconies. The markets along the water lure us with handmade soaps, fabric-covered baskets, pestos and Italian knits. It is each and every one of these experiences that nurture our love of Provence. We find a rocky seaside path near Saint Clair to take a solitary walk along the coast.
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