Friday, July 5, 2013

Color, Color Everywhere

We're back from today's excursions, resting our legs and our hearts -- driving the narrow, windy roads that don't have guardrails and have steep drop-offs is .... exciting.  We're also resting our minds after a day filled with gorgeous-ness.

We started with a brief stroll through Gordes, the town we're staying in.  As you enter Gordes there's a small sign announcing it as one of the most beautiful towns in France.  I don't know if that's a self-proclamation or something from the French ministry of culture, but it's true.  Even the markets are charming.

Does anyone know what these flowers are?

Somehow the addition of a simple vase with flowers boosts the appeal of a corner.

After a breakfast of tarte de pomme and pain au chocolat, our GPS sent us along some very scary roads to shortcut us to the road to Roussillon.  Rousillon is unique for the ocher color in its clay that lends a peach cast to many of the buildings.

With all the different colors and patterns, it's hard to know where to look when you're walking down the street.

You can really see how the soil is different colors on the cliffs that are right outside of town.  You can take a walk through the cliffs, but we opted for an ice cream lunch instead.  I had coconut ice cream and my girls had vanilla --with little vanilla bean hints -- and nutella ice creams.  YUM!

From Roussillon we drove to Village des Bories.  We went there to see the beehive-shaped stone houses that were all constructed without mortar.  Though no one knows for certain who built this particular collection / village of structures, they were known to be used by shepherds and nomads.  It was interesting, but I'm not sure it was worth the 16 Euro we paid to get in.

Fortunately, there were lavender fields along the way to make the drive worthwhile.

From there we drove to Abbaye de Senanque. The abbey's church was built in the late 1100s, with subsequent sections of the building added on in the following centuries.  If I could somehow manage it, I'd like to be there alone to take pictures.  As it was, I think I only got off a few that didn't include the hordes that emerged from tour buses.  We've been in lots of touristy places on this trip, but this is probably the first time I was really bothered by them.  They were loud, despite the signs requesting respect for the monks who live and work in the abbey, and they were pushy.  Yech; perhaps it was the time of day.  Still I'm glad we went; the abbey was lovely even though the lavender wasn't yet at its peak.

We made our way back to our hotel via some more twisty-turny roads and are now waiting for restaurants to open.  That ice cream lunch was delicious, but it hasn't lasted any of us long enough.  We may go mooch bread sticks from the hotel bar.


Lisa Quintana said...

the purple flowers may be artichokes which opened before they could be harvested for food. The thickness of the bottom cover "leaves" on the bloom make me think that they are a member of the cyanara thistle (our globe artichoke) and France is the 8th country in production of artichoke.

The other thing which came to mind is the milk thistle, member of the genus Silybum (yes, I'm serious), but the varieties I am familiar with just doesn't have the width on those basal blossom "covers."

norma said...

Wow, wow, wow! Especially love the picture of those red cliffs.

I don't know if St. Paul de Vance is on your itinerary. It in the south of France, a remarkable walled village high up in the hills, I was lucky to have been there twice.

I can't imagine driving those twisty turn roads without guardrails. It's scary enough on a bus, but driving it are very brave!