Friday, September 17, 2010

Tootling In Provence

We had a lovely final evening in Arles, especially since we met a fun couple from Victoria, B.C. (they invited us to come for a visit if we ever make it up north) and we stayed up chatting with them until 11:00 pm on Wednesday night (well past our bedtime!). Here are a few final shots of Arles . . .

After leaving Arles, we headed to Les Baux, a hilltop town not far away. The main attraction is a castle ruin called The Dead City. The position of the castle, 650 feet above the valley, and the fiesty attitude of the people made this an independent area, which was ultimately destroyed by King Louis XIII upon the order of the church. We had fun scampering all over the ruins and we even climbed to the tip top for a magnificent view of the valley below on one side and rugged cliffs on the other (which were the inspiration for Dante's Inferno).

As we were leaving, I poked into the Museum of Santons, which displays folk figurines.

We were undecided about visiting Avignon. Based upon the size of the city (BIG) and a lackluster description by our guide, Rick Steves, we considered passing it by. BUT, we wanted to see the Palace of the Popes and the St. Benezet Bridge, so we popped into town, parked the car in record time, walked the main drag and wandered outside the Palace and into the surrounding gardens. In case you weren't aware (we weren't), the Catholic church moved their headquarters to Avignon in the 1300s; the church was divided and actually had two popes until 1417.

Next up? Cotes du Rhone -- deeper into Provence.

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