Monday June 29 I arrived in Suze-la-Rousse after 3 km. The medieval castle, here, dominates the village and the Lez valley. The exterior is a military fort but the interior is Renaissance style. The only devastation of the French Revolution concerns on the one hand the hammering of the coats of arms of the main courtyard and the dispersion of the furniture. It was returned to the La Baume-Suze family in 1797. It is preceded by a rare tennis court that survives in France. Of course the rooms are empty of period furniture but replaced by a very didactic exhibition of the wine-making heritage of Provence, an invaluable contribution of the Roman Empire. A fresco shows the ports of Marseille, Arles and Vienne on the banks of the Rhône, trading grape juice, ... fermented. The large dining room is lined with decor called plasterwork, here,. After the visit I strolled through the old village to take a photo of the fort seen from down. I bivouacked on the large parking lot.
Tuesday, June 30, I visited Saint-Paul-Trois Château, here, market day. The stalls were full of fruits and vegetables from Provence, sung by Gilbert Bécaud. My visit was doubly justified by the 11th century cathedral of Provençal Roman style with its high walls and its semicircular vessel. 12th century mosaics were recently discovered in the heart. Further on, the Maison de la Truffe et du Tricastin kindly welcomed me where I bought two jars of sublime truffle cream. Returning to my truck I crossed the market where I obtained three artisanal sausages, wild boar, pheasant and five berries. On the way to Donzère I crossed the village of Roussas, here, overlooked by the ruin of a monumental castle. I was stop in a parking lot at the entrance to the town of Donzère.
Wednesday July 1st I was going northward to Montélimar to visit the Adhémar castle, here, a powerful 12th century family. The road to "climb up there" is narrow and rough but it is worth the detour both for the architecture of the fortress and for the panorama. The Narbonne Tower to the north of the site is the only surviving part of an ancient castle. St. Peter’s Chapel features a 13th century painting of Jesus blessing the audience. A swirling staircase provides access to the walkway for a 360° panorama. At the end of the morning I headed southward to Tarascon. But I forgot that the Provencals are having a lunch break. I took the opportunity to visit the royal collegiate church of Sainte-Marthe, religion is satisfied with spiritual nourishment. Like all castles, here, in Provence, the rooms are without furniture but decorated with displays of didactic photos from the period. The visit of the four floors by tortuous staircases was very painful to me; culture is earned, it's a personal investment. Around 4 p.m. I set up my bivouac at the shaded Tartarin campsite almost at the foot of the castle and on the edge of the refreshing Rhône river.
|Tarascon, camping Tartarin|
Thursday July 2 I visited the Pont du Gard, here it was built by the Romans during the 1st century of our area to supply drinking water to the city of Nîmes. Without maintenance it was abandoned in the 6th century. It is listed as a World Heritage Site. I bivouacked in the parking lot of the Poulx cemetery.
Friday July 3, two kilometers from Poulx, I hiked to Gardon to see the gorges. Then I went to Uzès, here, to visit the medieval old town. But before I looked for a parking lot that was very difficult to find; I had to content myself with getting on a sidewalk on the outskirts. I spent more than two hours strolling from monument to monument through narrow streets. The city is very clean and the buildings well maintained. I entered the St-Etienne church whose facade is curvilinear and the interior has a Jesuitic austerity. Then I approached the Duchy, a feudal building, never destroyed from an unrestored period. Unfortunately the visiting hours are very regulated. Opposite the 18th century town hall has a beautiful interior courtyard. To the east, the 17th century St-Théodorit cathedral was erected on the site of an 11th century cathedral, of which only the circular bell tower remains unique in France. The interior has beautiful ironwork and a Louis XIV organ framed with painted shutters. I left town in the early afternoon to park in St-Hippolyte in the cemetery parking lot.
Saturday 04 July the morning was spent visiting the Oppidum of St-Vincent de Gaujac. It was occupied from the 5th Century BC to the 6th Century AD. The ruins are difficult to access, only the outer enclosures are perfectly visible. After the food supply at Casino supermarket of St-Laurent-des-Arbres I found a peaceful bivouac without tourists in the parking lot of Lpost Office of L’Ardoise. The region is very windy on the banks of the Rhone refreshing the atmosphere with a temperature of +30 to +34 ° C.
Sunday 05 July I went to discover the 17 explanatory panels of the
art of the painter Albert André,
My disappointment lived up to my expectations. I had two
pages of a pdf document published by the tourist office. The panels
are difficult to find. Neither a treasure hunt nor an obstacle
course, but a hassle at 33 ° C. Several times I inquired either with
the municipal police guarding the market or with a person met in a
bistro who showed me one of the signs, basta. I told him of my wrath
asking him to send it to the municipal council. At a time of digital
economy, the tourist office should make available to tourists a gps
file in international gpx format.
Then I headed for the Laudun oppidum, called Caesar’s camp, here. Provence is very rich in archaeological sites from the Roman and Gallo-Roman periods. It’s always a real pleasure for me to discover the contribution of the Roman Empire and its urban engineers. At the beginning of the afternoon I returned to the solitary parking lot of the Ardoise.