Sunday, 11 June 2017

Europe 2017 Part 6: Oppède-le-Vieux: an interlude between the rouge of Rustrel & Roussillon and the Roman of Vaison & Orange

By contrast to the tourist-developed towns of Gordes and Roussillon, Oppède-le-Vieux has more the feel of a place back in time, a smaller town almost off the radar, with an approach to visitors that reflects less the tourism drive than a modest pride in preserving ‘le Vieux’. Except for residents and services and deliveries, you can’t drive into Oppède (I’ll use the abbreviated town name although there is a town just called Oppède nearby, so when you visit, don’t confuse the two; it is Oppède-le-Vieux you are looking for). You pay 3 euros to park just below the town, then you follow a simple self-guiding path through old gardens and enter the town through its narrow streets. 

Photos may speak a thousand words, but they can never equate to being there in person. We hope at least some of this atmosphere comes through in the following photos. Finally, if you have a big enough screen, I think you can left click on any photo and then scroll through a slide show of the photos in larger format but without the commentary, for a better visual impact. Enjoy:

1. In retrospect, this driveway just outside of town seemed to set the right perspective for the visit to Oppède.

2. On arrival, the weather threatened rain, but the small scale of the place, and the immaculate gardens below the town, hinted of a different experience than those of previous days.

3. An artful orientation map as you enter the footpath from the parking to the town.

4. The relative locations of Gordes, Roussillon, and Oppède are shown at top right, with Mont Ventoux (i.e. “Windy Mountain”), the highest peak in the mountains to the north of our first ‘pied-à-terre’ on this trip, in the centre background. P.S. For anyone who watches the 20+ day Tour de France bicycle race each July, it was the beautiful countryside settings of this race that led us to our first visit to France, and Mont Ventoux is one of the mountains that has been featured in the race on several occasions.

5. The visitor’s approach.


7. The main town square: At the far left is one of only two café patios visible from the square,

8. This is the other.

9. Where some of the locals park.

10. And a peek at someone’s inner courtyard.

11. Heading up to the inevitable hilltop church or chateau.

12. How easy to step back a few centuries into this picture.

13. Stone masonry must have been a trade in high demand.


15. This time it’s a church. A chateau may have meant a significantly different past, present, and future for the special town of Oppéde-le-Vieux.  We can only speculate.

Until next, Lorna and Dave from France the fantastic.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Europe 2017 Part 5: A 3-star trio - Gordes, Rustrel, & Roussillon

It's been a while since our last post, but we've been busy playing tourist. And trying to solve technical glitches to make it quick and easy to do these posts was, we trust you'll understand, lower on a TO DO list which we vowed not even to bring on such a trip. On the technical side, we've decided to post the pictures in the "large" format this blog allows, so you can see the whole picture at once if you are viewing on a smaller screen laptop, but if you have access to a larger screen, and if as a viewer on this "Blogger" site you can left click on the photo and change it to "X-large" format we encourage you to do so. So here we go - Lorna and Dave Europe 2017 - Part 5:

First, a little Lorna-and-Dave-do-Europe tradition, if you can call two trips in eight years a tradition:

1. Every trip to France must include a favourite Citroen “Deux Chevaux” pic. So far this is it. If we capture one we like better, we’ll let you know. Now on to the other 3 stars:

2. Just below the beautiful hilltop town of Gordes, a 3-star hotel and restaurant beckons,

3. hinting ever so gently of fine dining and accommodation.

4. Gordes the gorgeous, wrapped around a Luberon hillside,

5. home to the wealthy – this one an architect of homes.

6. You could stay here,

7. or here,

8. where this would be the view out your window,

And these, as you walked out for your morning croissant and espresso:



Or afternoon wine and cheese or patisserie – oh hell, why not both?





And if you worked for those rich folks,

15. this might be your window view.

But we're in tourist mode, so let's leave the political commentary aside for now, and move on to our 2nd star, Rustrel, and delights of a different nature:

16. A small hint of things to come,

17. just up around this bend.

18. A shocking burst of colour, and I promise, no filters on the camera. That’s what you’ll see when you come here.

19. A source of ochre powder and colour,

20. promoted and marketed in Rustrel and Roussillon, both as tourist attraction, and as a pigment for industrial and artistic uses.

21. Speaking of shocking . . .???

22. Is he speaking to the water creatures?

23. Or practicing for a Superman gig? Or just championing the cause of free-thinking artistic expression? We’ll buy that. You?

24. And while we're free-thinking, you can’t pass up a dramatic penis shot when it’s standing right there in front of you.

And with that, let’s move on to

25. the third star of tonight’s show:

26. A setting not far from Rustrel,

27. but a totally different vibe.

Let’s let the pictures do the talking for this one:






34. And one last glimpse at Roussillon before calling it a day.

‘Til next, we hope these pix have brought a little extra pleasure into your life, having brought a whole whack of it into ours.