Marcus Travel Journal
Our first house we rented was located in Vedène, about 11 kilometers minutes from the town of Avignon, on the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur side of the Rhone River.
The old town, as with many medieval towns, is located on the top of a hill. Vedène's old château is still partially inhabited operating as an B&B Hotel. The 18th Century Église Saint Thomas and the beautiful 1756 Bell Tower make up the highlights of the old town. The old town has a quiet good feel.
Our house was located in the the town that spreads out from the base of the hill. We our stay here and I am pretty sure a return will be in future plans.
With plenty of windows our house was bright, the kitchen well equipped, the furniture comfortable and best of all, the pool was just out the door 16 feet across the deck. Big comfortable lawn furniture made the stay very pleasant.
Vedène is located in the Vaucluse area has a rich history. At one time a separate area that became part of France. There and many small town, many with rich histories, to visit. References to Vedène go back to 1109 in various charters. There were Dukes of Vedène (thus the château that in part remains) and attacks on the town during the Wars of Religion. The town has a good location for us to use as a base to explore the area.
The buildings in the old town of Vedène included some that really shows character and age of the centre.
Avignon, Palais of the Popes
For a period of some 40 years the Popes moved from Rome to Avignon. Six papal conclaves were held in the Palais. After the Popes returned to Rome, the Palais was used by the antipal forces, it was returned to papal control in 1433, but it deteriorated. Revolutionary forces took over and sacked the palais. Then the Napoleonic State used the palais as a military barracks and prison. It became vacant and then in 1906 became a national museum and has been under renovation ever since.
Pont Saint-Bénézet, Avignon
I went down early one morning to photograph the bridge. I wanted the river to be calm and have no boat traffic passing the arches of the bridge that remain. In 1234 the stone bridge was built with 22 arches. It was abandoned in the mid 17th Century due to ongoing failures with floods. Four arches and the gatehouse remain.
The walls around Avignon we see were built in the 14th Century, at the direction of Pope Innocent VI. He moved to Avignon, and from the 1350s, during the Hundred Years' War, the town was vulunerable to bands of mercenaries new walls were to be built. It took almost 20 years to complete the work. They stretch of 4.3 km.
As with many, when in this area of Provence, we visited the town of L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. This charming town is known as The Island of Venice. The river Sorgue divides and severals canals run through the town creating a beautiful scene of canals and bridges. While the river and canals are great tourist features now, in the 12th Century, the Sorgue River served to defend the town by creating moats along the defense walls. Later the water powered the mills and supported the industry of the town. Now the town is known for its art galleries and more than 350 antique and boric-a-brac dealers.
We have been here before and it was great to get return. This year we visited the town on a Sunday - Market Day - and it was packed. Too packed for my comfort. The market is one of the larger ones in the area and includes not only food and clothing but antiques and interesting boric-a- brac.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue has beautiful old buildings. The old buildings with signs speak to the past. The beautiful ochre colour building was at one time a shoe factory (Fabrique Chaussures).
Le Beaucet is a very small village but the mixture of small stone houses, castle walls and areas of natural rock as well as natural caves and troglodyte houses combine to make it a very charming place to visit Parking is available on the side of the village, from where it is easy to access both the village and the castle.
Venasque is quite a small village and does not take long to explore but it has a pleasant centre to explore, with the quiet streets interrupted by the babble from the occasional fountain, and several buildings of particular interest: the most important of these is the baptistery. Unfortunately it did not open the morning I was I here.
Venasque is another charming town in the area. I loved this beautiful old fountains in the old town centre.
It was good to have the chance to return to Orange, an town with Roman history, located in the Vaucluse Department. In addition to an interest historic centre, there are two major Roman monument: The Roman Theatre and the Arc di Triumph.
The Roman Theatre was built in 1 AD, during the Augustan period of the Roman Empire. It has impressive acoustics. Only the original decorations are gone, the structure of the theatre is sound. It can hold almost 10,000 people and there are performances still held in the theatre.
Orange also has an impressive Triumphal Arch that stands at the entrance to town. Built during the reign of Roman Emperor August, it stood on the former Roman road, the Via Agrippa which was the Roman road between Lyon and Arles.
Orange, Stage of the Roman Theatre. Work crews were building a stage specific to the short that was going to be presented on the weekend. photo: mytravellinglens.com
Exploring villages and towns is part of the enjoyment of being in the area. This small charming town still has some of the fortified ramparts of its old castle. Some parts of the old town centre date back to the 14th Century.
Château-de-Gadagne fountain and war memorial create a little plaza in the old town. No big sights to see, but wandering the small narrows alleys is very interesting. | photo: mytravellinglens.com
Château-de-Gadagne has interesting old buildings in an array of colours. | photo: mytravellinglens.com
The town has a walking circuit that will take you by most of the 40 fountains found in this town. Some are active with water trickling out, and others have been left unused The circuit starts in the historic centre of Pernes.
Two signposted routes allow you not only to discover the 40 fountains of the village, but also to walk through the narrow cobbled streets, to see the monuments and private mansions, the gardens and medieval remains...
| photo: mytravellinglens.com
The impressive Porte Notre-Dame on the north walls of Pernes-les-Fontains - photo: mytravellinglens.com
Stunning patina on an old residential building at 65, place du Général-de-Gual, in Carpentras, is registered as an historical monument. The painting, from top to bottom is actually an advertisement for La Petit Marseillais which was a daily regional newspaper published between 1868 and 1944. | photo: mytravellinglens.com
The Angel Fountain in Carpentras was shown on the first post card of the town. But later fell out of favour, dissembled and then destroyed by a decision of the city councilors. Years later the fountain was recreated replicating the details of the original structure. The angel on top, the only part of the original fountain not destroyed marries old and new. I was lucky to capture a worked filling his bucket at the historic fountain. | photo: mytravellinglens.com
Carpentras was having an art and photography exposition when I was in the town on my first visit. The elegant old Passage Boyer, has this colourful umbrella installation in place as part of the celebration of arts. | photo: mytravellinglens.com
The Roman bidge at the town of Vaison-la-Romaine was built in the 1st Century AD. It is a spring-arch crossing the Ouvèze River After centuries, the bridge is still is use. Cross this bridge to got from the "new" town to this historic medieval section.
Vaison-la-Romain has Roman ruins as well as a beautiful medieval village.