We left Nice and started the drive towards Mas St. Jean, located about 20 km south of Avignon.

We stopped at Le Thoronet Abbey. A Cistercian abbey that dates from the 12th & 13th Century. Cistercian, think clean minimalist design. The abbey and its cloisters are most impressive.

We had GPS but in the end we had to call for help to find our house - Mas St. Jean. Funny how you can drive by it and never see it! The house was spectacular.

Not only was there a patio dinning table off the main house, but the pool had a fully equipped kitchen area with 8 burner BBQ, sink, fridge and dinning table. We kind of felt hard done by as there was no dishwasher there, and the dishes had to be carried back up to the house!

We did all go to L`Isle-sur-la Sorgue on the first Sunday as that was the day of its impressive market. The entire town was taken over with vendors selling everything one could want.

On another day there was a trip for Fin, Max, Karen & Glenn to Arles to see the impressive cloisters.

Other trips were to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and Avignon. Of course we also spent some time in the town of Noves and Cabannes.

For more information on the area see: Travel Journal - Provence





Mas St Jean, Our Villa in the South of France

Notre maison est près de village de Noves, sud-est de ville d'Avignon.

Our french house, Mas St. Jean, is located between the small towns of Noves and Cabannes. With a location of 20 km south east of Avignon it was a great location for touring the area.


Mas St Jean

A large estate we had no neighbors, it was very peaceful and quite.

Mas St. Jean

There were a couple of sitting rooms in the house, as well as a formal dinning room. But in fact, other than the kitchen, bedrooms and bathroom we were out on the patio and around the pool most of the time.

Chris Grant and Karen Marcus at Mas St Jean

The patio table was the scene of our pre-dinner drinks and great dinners. Here Chris Grand and Karen Marcus enjoy champagne.

Villa near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence


Vill south of Avignon

We have great hot sunny weather while we were here. Luckily the trees in the back kept the temperature down.


Villa for 2011

The pool has its own kitchen (stove, sink, fridge) and dinning table. This was a centre of life for us.

Villa for 2011

The kitchen was large, and we enjoyed the updated fridge with ice maker!

Pool at the Villa


Chris Grant in the kitchen, great precision to detail, great tasting food. We never went hungry!

Villa 2011The typical day...

Glenn and Mike would head out just at sunrise to explore one of the villages in the area and to get some morning photos. Then they would pick up croissants at a local boulangerie.

Then we would start with a great petite dejuner. Chris was great at cooking up a storm. We never started a day hungry!

Then depending on personal plans, everyone would split and head off to see what they wanted to see, or opt to stay around the pool.


Pool at the Villa

Life at Mas St Jean was very very good

The week at Mas St Jean was very very good. A good many Martini Rossi & Soda.


Les Baux-de-Provence

Les Baux-de-Provence

Described in some tour guides as an immense pile of stone, Mike Arbogast and I visited Les Baux on one of our morning photo-trips. Despite it high ranking as a tourist location in Provence, it is a pile of rocks. I think during the day it would be horrible to visit this town, but early in the morning, when Mike and I walked through the town along rue du étrecant, the town was pleasant. The street took us through the ghost town and up to the ruined château.

L`Isle-sur-la Sorgue

L`Isle-sur-la Sorgue

On the first Sunday we all headed off to L`Isle-sur-la Sorgue. It was Market Day and the town has one of the largest markets in Provence. The river Sorgue forms a series of canals as it runs through this small town. We remember from our trip in 2000 how pleasant the town was.

Market day was exciting, but it would be better to visit the town on a day other than the Market as it is simply too crowded.



Portal, St. Trophime, ArlesWe went to Arles to the Église St-Trophime, a former cathedral, too see the famous cloisters. The church was built in the 11th & 12th Centuries. The 12th Century portal of the church is grand and considered to be one of the finest achievements of southern Romanesque architecture.

To the Right: Saints and the Redeemed on the left side of the West Portal.

Full-length statues of apostles and saints stand on guard on either side of the portal.

While the outside is spectacular, the inside is rather dark.

Cloisters of St TrophimeIt is the cloisters which are the main draw. The north and east galleries of the cloisters date fromthe 12th Century and are Romanesque in style. The south and west galleries date from the late 14th Century and are built in a Gothic style.

After visiting Saint Trophime we walked over to see the Roman Arena. I remember being in that arena a number of years ago to watch a bull fight. My first and last.


Arles is an easy city to walk about with the arena, the church, cloisters and other roman structures to see.




The town is interesting and within a short drive is Glanum, the site of Roman ruins. Mike and I stopped by the "Les Antiques" which are just 1.5 km from the town. Not only are they impressive, but they sit right by the road out in the open.

The Anitquities new Remy de ProvenceThey comprise of a triumphal arch, that was built to celebrate the Roman conquest of Marseille; and a mausoleum, that is thought to commemorate two grandsons of Roman ruler Augustus.

The arch and the mausoleum just sit right by the road.


We went to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, twice, once on a market day (way too busy) and then a couple of days later when we could walk about and appreciate the town.




Remy de Provence


Remy St Provence

Remy st Provence

St Remy de Provence



AvignonThe Popes moved from Rome to Avignon in the14th to 15th Century, and the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) is a popular destination. It is a most enjoyable town to visit with its ramparts, towers and the like.

We wanted to see the cloisters at Villeneuve-les-Avignon, but it was a Monday and they were closed. Oh beware of Mondays in France and Italy and planning your trips!

But we returned to Avignon and enjoyed the day there walking about and of course having a good lunch before returning to Mas St. Jean.



Boulangerie-Patisserie in Villeneuve-lès-Avignon


Hotel des Monnaies was built in 1619 and is located looking towards the Palais du Papes.


Palais in Avignon


Musée Calvet








Le Thoronet Abbey

Le Thoronet Abbey

When we left Nice, we visited Le Thoronet Abbey on the way to Avignon and our house, Mas St. Jean. This is the third, of the three sisters (Sénanque, Silvacane and Le Thoronet). The Abbey and its buildings are impressive and significant structures. The buildings were erected between 1160 and 1175. The Cloister is in the middle of the monastery and is about 30 meters in length on each side. It is one of the oldest existing Cistercian cloisters in existence.

We will be adding photos of the cloisters to our Travels to Cloisters site shortly.