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Published: October 1st 2019
Monday 30th September 38 miles.
Breakfast didn't have as much choice as I had expected but we had enough to eat. We were soon off on our travels and heading out of town. We stopped at the large Intermarche about a mile out of town for lunch goodies and yoghurt.
Roughly the first ten miles were downhill, with just the odd incline. This brought us to Oraison and we stopped for yoghurt and nuts in the centre. We had stopped in Oraison many years ago when we cycled down part of the Rhône and then did a loop of the Luberons. It must have been one of our earlier trips because it was when we travelled on the European Bike Bus.
Just before arriving at Oraison we crossed the River Durrance which divides Provence in two. After Oraison there was a few kilometres of flat before we started climbing up through pine forests. It was an eight mile climb to Valensole town on the Plateau de Valensole., which us the main production area of lavender in France. Lunch was in Valensole as it was after one o'clock. We struggled to find a bench in the shade and went through an arch way that was sign posted 'Open air cinema '. Iit was a large courtyard and there was a stone seat in the shade so we decided to sit there. There was a man sweeping up and Paul asked him if there was a fountain nearby to fill our drinking bottles up and he took the bottles of us and filled them up at the tap in his garage.
I always think that a plateau is a flat top to a hill/ mountain but there was nothing flat about the next eight miles. It was up and down switch back curves, like being on a roller coaster that swings from side to side. To the left of us where si e pretty impressive mountains. The Alps, I think. That brought us to the village of Riez and after there there were a few flat miles before very gently climbing up to Moustiers-Ste-Marie perched on a cliff face at 634m high. It is guarded by a huge star that hangs high above it. Legend has it that a Knight who who was captured during the Crusades vowed that if he ever returned he would hang a silver star over the village. Moustiers-ste-Marie was established in the fifth century by monks who lived in caves hollowed out of the cliffs. It is one of France's most beautiful villages.
The hotel was one of the first buildings we came to. As we checked in we asked about the restaurant and yes it was open and we booked a table for seven o'clock. A very friendly man showed us to the garage and then to our room. It was a lovely room and a very nice hotel.
At seven o'clock we went down to dine and it was a very posh restaurant, quite pricey but it was Monday and we had food. The food was excellent and I had chicken for the second night running, but very different meals.
Tot: 1.612s; Tpl: 0.04s; cc: 5; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0266s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb