A week in Provence!

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September 19th 2010
Published: September 25th 2010
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Bonjour! We are in Provence in France on yet another holiday. We thought we would make the most of things and go whilst we still can! We are currently renting an apartment in a little village called Graveson, about 20km south of Avignon.

We arrived here yesterday afternoon after flying to Marseilles airport (cheap Ryanair flights as per usual) where we collected our hire car (a Peugot 207 - not as good as last year's diesel Fiesta in Tim's opinion). TomTom got us most of the way here without any problems. Obviously it failed to locate where we were actually staying as it didn't know which roads were one way or no entry. After a minor amount of swearing from Tim we found it.

Our apartment, apartment Cezanne, is very nice. It is a one bedroom apartment in a big villa with a shared pool and gardens. It is well equipped although like all rental cottages there is no draining rack (why? Am I the only person who uses one) and bizarrely there are 2 full size fridges and no proper oven- just some rings. Tim has got one fridge as a beer fridge!

Our first trip out was to a neighbouring town to visit a hypermarket so we could stock up for the week. Tim needed to get those cornichon as soon as possible! Food in France is fairly expensive although that is probably due to the poor exchange rate. Some things are cheap though including French beans (“here we just call them beans”) which were only €1.50 a kilo and Bonne Maman jam.

Today we explored Graveson before heading out in the car to visit some of the neighbouring towns. As it was a Sunday there seemed to be various things going on. In Graveson there were a lot of classic cars parked along the road. We soon picked out which ones we would like. I could not decide between a classic Citroen, a cool looking Renault from the 1960's and a very nice Alpha Romeo sports car.. Tim liked the 1970's Citroen DS.

In Bulbon there were signs everywhere telling us we could not park because there was going to be a bull running through the streets! I thought that all this bull running was a Spanish thing but it would appear not, so we only stayed a short while lest we be trampled.

En-route to Bulbon we stopped at a really nice church, Abbaye saint Michel de Frigolet which we just happen to come across. All the pillars in the church were painted and in the high stain glass windows there were the odd pieces of glass missing which meant shafts of light were shining across the church. The countryside is a lot prettier off the main roads, the only disadvantage being that the French drivers don't seem to regard narrow roads as something that you need to slow down on.

Another stop was Tarascon where we went in the castle, Chateau Royal. As there was some event going on we got in for free. The castle is very impressive looking but inside there was not much to see as all the rooms were empty. Also it was very busy, no doubt on account of the fact it was free and it was a sunny Sunday. The best bit for me was the roof terrace as it gave you great views over the roof tops of Tarascon and across the Rhone river towards Beaucaire. It would not have been for vertigo sufferers as all round the edge there were gaps about 8cm x 30cm where you could see all the way down to the ground. Even I had my doubts about standing on the rather narrow bits of stonework between the gaps,

After crossing the river to Beaucaire and exploring there we were worn out. The weather had really started to heat up. Looking at how everyone else was dressed you would not have known it. Considering it was at least 25 degrees a lot of people had coats on. It was really only the tourists who were dressed as is it was summer. There is a bit of a chilly wind round here called the mistral which blows in from the north, it was blowing hard this morning but had stopped by the afternoon.

When we got back I sat dangling my legs in the pool enjoying the last of the days sun which was very nice. I could get used to this!

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