Day 2, albeit a week late. I remembered the correct bits this time at least, so the pics are a bit sharper.
I thought this was a great viewing location for the fireworks, for a change from QAB, as it gave a sense of perspective looking out across the Sound, however other party factions were not so impressed. Unfortunately I forgot the crucial small square metal bit, that attached my camera to the tripod, so I was only able to take pictures at the very beginning, before things got too blurry!
Usually with a SW wind, the coast path would simply get all the smoke. Here’s hoping the wind keeps from the NNW and that I can revisit this evening to get some sharper images.
Heading west along the coast path from Wembury, we started with an ice cream and ended with a nice cuppa. The amazing weather brought out plenty of other walkers and wildlife.
The well beaten ‘path’ between Plymouth and the Yealm river was evident, on such a sunny day with fair winds.
Towards the Yealm
You can’t see me
Our last afternoon and following morning were spent in Carcassonne, exploring La Cite. This medieval fortress gradually fell into disrepair until the mid 1800’s when it was largely restored by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
Legions of biscuits, closely monitored by the saleswomen, so that any gaps are filled with military precision.
Chateau Comtal entrance
Marked as a World Heritage site, the city is surrounded by vineyards, and wine and tourism are key industries.
Le Bars a Vins
A truly scrumptious meal was had here; huge salads, frites and pastis. We just about managed to get home without getting soaked as the sweltering, muggy weather finally broke.
Slightly cooler and dull the next morning, we timed the showers to perfection and really did just manage to miss getting sodden.
From Pont Vieux
Courtyard Chateau Comtal
Toward the Basilique
This looks suspiciously Celtic to me…
Those Celts get everywhere!
Arles bustles with a massive market each Saturday morning, selling anything and everything; from locally produced fruit and vegetables, to lavender, cheese, meat, olives, pastries and sweets, to colourful baskets, clothing and cloth, housewares, trinkets and much more….
Market from the cafe
Lions in the Place de la Republique
Arles has many designated Unesco World Heritage sites; the arena or amphitheatre and the Gallo-Roman theatre being two.
Arles arena inner
Arles arena pens
Rhone view from the tower
View from the tower
We stayed in Mas Thibert for two nights, visiting Arles the second day and exploring the east side of the Camargue late afternoon and the following morning. We crossed the Rhone each time, using the Bac de Barcarin (kind of Spanish France meets Torpoint ferry) and finally drove out through Villeneuve and St Gille, to the toll roads, then headed south. I didn’t realise how close we were to Spain and in earlier times the boundaries were even further north, just outside Carcassonne, accounting for the massive Spanish influence of the region.
Our stay in the Camargue was at beautiful Gîtes du Mas du Moulin in Mas Thibert, with the very hospitable Carole and Patrice, and their menagerie of goats, chickens, sheep, horses, dogs and of course donkeys. Manon et Antoine produced Charlie a month ago and he is the apple of his (human) parents’ eyes!
Carole explained that true Provencal donkeys have the cross of St Andrew on their backs… along with heaps of very soft baby donkey hair. If only there had been room in the car for him!
Manon et Charlie
Showing his best side?
For details of the gite, take a look at their page Gîte du Mas du Moulin
There is plenty to see in the water and wetlands of the Rhône Delta, or Camargue; from the pink lakes of the salt pans and their pink inhabitants, to the Spanish bulls and horses (of which the wild ones remained elusive).
The ‘Mistral’ wind was a constant during our stay and was welcome for its cooling properties and for keeping mosquitoes at bay – sort of. Mas du Moulin was originally a wind generated mill and built to both harness and protect. With such consistent wind it’s very popular with kite and windsurfers and a special canal has been built in which surfers set world speed records.
Etang du Faisangier
Sunflowers and vines bask in the heat and light. Van Gogh stayed in Arles in 1888 and painted sunflowers in the area. Perhaps less well known is that the Camargue also produces around 5% of Europe’s rice.
A mass of sunflowers
Provence has plentiful vineyards, producing mainly rosé and red wine.
If you’ve never watched the film ‘A Good Year’, do! For me it’s a favourite; a gentle, feel-good movie with wonderful scenery, that I can watch again and again. Apparently it is mostly filmed within a ten minute radius of Ridley Scott’s home and we passed Château La Canorgue, or ‘Château la Siroque’ on our way out of Bonnieux.
Our visit was on the back of the 29 degree heat wave in the UK and we were very relieved to have a car with air-con, when it informed us the temperature outside in Loumarin was 44 degrees!
Vineyards from Bonnieux
Ochre cliffs at Rousillon
Lavender outside Sault
Pont du Gard
Plein air bridge
From Marseille we drove north along the lavender route via Pertuis, Loumarin, Bonnieux, Roussillon and stayed in Sault overnight. Sault is a popular cycling destination with winding gorge roads leading in and out and you can see across the valley floor of vineyards and lavender fields to Mont Ventoux.
From there we travelled west to Senanque Abbey, Gordes and Carpentras market. Then a leisurely afternoon was spent at Pont du Gard, luxuriating in the shade and watching others enjoying themselves in the river Gardon, before heading to overnight in Mas Thibert. The whole Roman aqueduct was built to carry water 50km from the spring in Uzes to Nimes and descends only 12.6m its entire length, with the aqueduct bridge only descending 2.5 cm from end to end.