Hi and welcome to another edition of “Honeymoon Wednesday.” That’s what I’m calling it now. Oh and is it cool if I do a day by day recap for the Paris portion of our trip? Because I’m obsessed with that city and I think I could talk about it forever. Anyway, today isn’t about Paris. It’s about our last two days in Provence.
After spending a week in Avignon, we packed up our little Fiat and drove north. To wine country! Where we spent two nights in Vaison la Romaine — part of the Cote du Rhone region — in a duplex where the bathroom and living room were on the first floor and the bedroom, sink and shower all shared a room on the second floor… Oh and the shower didn’t have a curtain or a shower head. Just one of those handheld things…
But the view!
Vaison la Romaine is made up of the lower city and the upper city. Our hotel was at the base of the upper city and had the most awesome view of all the cute houses and vineyards below. The first thing we did after we checked in was… EAT! Duh :) There was a little town square in the lower city, with a row of restaurants so we grabbed ourselves some lunch. France knows how to do salads right!
After I had completely gorged myself on goat cheese, we took to exploring. We happened upon a little train doing tours of the town just as it started to drizzle so we took that as a sign and got on. I’m not going to lie, we loved that little train. Especially when it slowed down to a near crawl as it passed the Roman ruins and all the cars driving behind us kept honking.
We had thought the distance from our hotel to the lower city required a car ride but after wandering around we found ourselves in the upper city and realized they maybe weren’t so far apart. The upper city is car-free with cobblestone paths so we were able to wander around freely and eventually made our way up to an old church and then a little bit farther up, a castle! Europe has no shortage of either of those things :)
Gorgeous isn’t it? It’s all fun and games until the sun disappears, the rain starts and you’re stuck on top a mountain in a dress and flip flops.
On our second day, we took a little drive to another city called Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. I was a little skeptical until we made it to the center of the town, where there were a billion tiny little restaurants, shops and views of the Sorgue River. It was the cutest! After we had spent a sufficient amount of time wandering around, we stopped at a little deli shop where we picked up some sandwiches, a salad and some mini cookies for dessert then we drove on to Roussillon and had a picnic. Joey was none too happy to find a bunch of tiny pickles on his sandwich but I thought they were the cutest thing I’d ever seen. Those baguette sandwiches — pretty plain with a single layer of meat, sometimes with cheese and sometimes with butter — are EVERYWHERE in both Barcelona and France.
Oh and I may or may not have shared my niçoise salad with a kitty…
On our way back, we stopped at a winery to sample some wines and buy a few bottles. We took a Rick Steves recommendation and I was kind of disappointed in the experience. That was my first and only winery visit but it felt kind of rehearsed and the owners turned out to be Scottish, not even French! It seemed pretty catered toward Americans, which is great for that whole language barrier thing, but not so great if you’re looking for a more authentic experience. Strike three for Rick! The wine still tasted good to me, though :P
In retrospect, we probably should’ve just stayed in Avignon for the entire stay in Provence and made Vaison la Romaine and Isle-sur-la-Sorgue into day trips. I felt there wasn’t quite enough to do there to warrant switching hotels and staying for two full days, plus both dinners we ate there were disappointing — we found the food in France to be pretty hit or miss, unfortunately.
However, then we wouldn’t have discovered the little bakery just near the town square that, despite all the other shops being empty, had a line out the door both mornings. This was our only repeat eat and it’s because the croissant and coffee for two euros deal was too good to pass up and oh my gosh, those fresh croissants! I die.
And that brings us to the end of our stay in Provence. On Saturday morning we drove back to Avignon, returned our dear little Fiat and hopped on a train to Paris! Oh and then there was that part where I dropped my brand new sunglasses between the train and the platform and Joey had to stick his arm down there to retrieve them… my hero! :)