Cassis, with a smaller harbor than the one we left in Marseille, but some equally beautiful scenery. This is one of our favorite small cities anywhere. Unfortunately this time we visited on a Saturday in peak tourist season. Parking was impossible.
The French really believe in spending time at the beach
Respite from the rest of the tourists--a few blocks from the main part of town at Villa Madie. Stunning setting and fantastic food.
And another harbor--La Ciotat, just beyond Cassis, not quite as "parked up" as Cassis but still boasting a lovely seaside setting.
Sunday morning market at Sanary sur Mer, home of Jacques Cousteau
Really one of the best markets in Provence, very tidy and upscale
Fishing boats on the Sanary sur Mer harbor.
Pretty colorful stuff
Sanary has nice little narrow shopping areas behind the harbor
Congregating after Sunday church services
and back to the market
Return to La Ciotat, again our hotel had a view directly onto the harbor
Another market in Provence, possibly at Cadanet
And we return to Lourmarin, another lovely town of Provence
Scene of lunch in Lourmarin
We arrive at our third hotel of the trip, La Poete in Fontaine de Vaucluse. A tiny stream runs through it and burbles prettily.
Beautifully kept grounds
The stream joins the river Sorge which has its origin in a spring in Fontaine de Vaucluse
The water is everywhere and makes for a lovely setting for restaurants in the town.
Next up--Vaison de Romaine, where cooking/dining maven Patricia Wells holds forth and teach cooking classes--though not in this building
Vaison de Romaine was holding a market when we arrived--surprise!
Vaison is also on a river and just below a fairly steep mountain
Lunch in Vaison at La Moulin de l'Huille
Abbey Senanque, a pilgrimage site on the lavender route. If you look closely you can see the fields of lavendar in front of the abbey and on the hill on the right. Unfortunately it was only starting to bloom. Even more unfortunately the route to get there was particularly narrow and downright scary.
A bit better view of the lavender
L'Isle sur la Sorgue, a very charming town
with a really nice Asian restaurant, with outdoor seating on the water, a true rarity
The purple flowers are not lavender but rather artichokes
Ornate interior of church in L'Isle sur la Sorgue
Relaxation in the garden of La Poete, Fontaine de Vaucluse
A dip and some exercise in the Poete pool
Pool of our hotel in St. Remy, Le Soleil
Hotel was in a small complex of buildings with lots of flowering shrubs
Walking about in St. Remy
The organ in the St. Remy church is somewhat famous and they hold concerts throughout the tourist season. Unfortunately none were scheduled while we were there.
A day trip to Tarascon
Interesting old fortress/chateau in Tarascon
Another beautiful organ, though this one is apparently not as famous as the one in St. Remy
Municipal building in Tarascon
Tarascon is quite an interesting, old walled city with lots of medieval buildings still intact
Directly across the river from Tarascon sits Beaucaire
Market hall unfortunately not in operation but square being suited up for a concert
Return engagement after many years for lunch at Auberge du Cassagne, in Pontet, near Avignon Many improvements since our last visit and still beautiful with lovely food and great cheese
Back to St. Remy following a delicious lunch
Fountain honoring Nostradamus who was born in St. Remy
After leaving St. Remy, we headed to the low-lying, marshy area of the Camargue and to the beach at Saintes Maries de la Mer, a quirky, kitschy little place reminiscent of Key West, Ile de Re and places in Mexico.
The town is a bit kitschy but fun
Restaurants, tourists and boutiques everywhere
Camargue region seems almost Spanish and still has bullfighting, in fact, they have a bull ring in this small town
The local church. Very white on the outside, very dark on the inside
After leaving Stes Maries de la Mer, we head to the other famous town of the Camargue, Aigues Mortes, a walled city.