After three-months lockdown to eradicate (!) the Covid-19 I went on a journey to the Center of France for a counterclockwise convolution. The first stop was Arles, here, to visit the Romain ancient city. Unfortunately very few tourists and several attractions were still closed, including the ancient theater, the amphitheater (arenas). The Town Hall welcomed me under its sumptuous vault, then the Saint-Trophime church, the cloister of which was under construction. After three hours of walking I returned to my truck parked on the banks of the Rhône. The temperature was 30° C with a humidity of 32%.
|Place de la République avec un bel obélisque|
The landscapes of the Alpilles with olive trees are sumptuous, Vincent Van Gogh has sublimated them; the poets, A. Daudet, F. Mistral sang them. I will not add anything that such talents have magnified so well. The Romans were not mistaken there by building on the Antiques plateau the city of Glanum which was abandoned after the ransacking of the barbarians in the 3rd century. The few surviving structures bear witness, if need be, to the town planning and architectural engineering of the Romans. While wandering on the departmental roads at the foot of Alpilles I discovered the Saint-Sixte chapel. When I got back to Saint-Rémy, I drove to Les Baux de Provence to bivouac nearby to visit the site tomorrow morning.
|Mausolée et Arc municipal|
On Thursday, June 26, I attacked the Baux de Provence hill, here. In his sketch the visit of the castle, Jacques Dufilho pronounces this final sentence: "From the time fully restored!" This is the village of Les Baux de Provence, touristy, very ... even too touristy. Fortunately at 8:30 am tourists are seldom at the end of June post Covid-19. In the end there is nothing to do except merchandising ... from 10:00 am.
Friday June 26 was another day at the foot of the Alpilles to visit the mill of A. Daudet which he acquired in 1935 without ever living there. Indeed during his travels in the region he stayed at the castle of Montauban and "Les Lettres de mon moulin" were written in Paris. Ah, these novelists! Then it was a quick look at the Roman aqueducts of Barbegal before strolling through the very touristy town of St Rémy de Provence. I found a bivouac in the south along the D5.
On Saturday June 27 en route to Avignon I made a detour to visit the
Saint-Michel-de-Frigolet abbey founded in 1121. It was transformed
into a boarding school and housed F. Mistral as a college student.
Since 1858 a community of premonstrates has ensured the tradition.
At the entrance, the Saint-Michel church welcomes visitors in its
great simplicity. Further N.-D. Du-bon-Remède in Romanesque style,
the interior is full of polychrome woodwork. The cloister can only
be visited on a guided tour on Sunday afternoon.
On arriving in Avignon I parked the truck on Piot Island in front of the Palais des Papes with a view to the St-Bénezet bridge, known as the Avignon bridge. The Palace of the Popes, here, was in its time, 1334, the largest ecclesiastical palace in Europe, more than 15,000 m². Alas it was ransacked during the French Revolution then transformed into military barracks by the third republic and finally restored from 1915 of course at the expense of taxpayers! The visit lasts around 1.3 hours to walk through huge rooms empty of furniture, sometimes with splendid frescoes, No Photo. Since the beginning of my trip, all the official buildings can be visited with the compulsory mask and the alcoholic gel at the entrance. On my way out I was going to stroll on the Avignon bridge before returning to my truck.
|Abbaye St-Michel de Frigolet|
|Palais des Papes|
Sunday morning I left the parking lot of the island of Piot without regret because the night was noisy by the back and forth of cars and the palaver of hookah smokers exhaling a captivating smell, maybe hashish! A few minutes later I ran aground in Villeneuve-lez-Avignon to visit the Fort Saint-André unfortunately closed because the Provencal is a late riser and early riser with the lunch break (10.00-12.00, 14.00-18.00). And yes. I continued my cahincaha road on the departmental roads of deep France, Quelle est belle, up to Grignan, here, for the visit of the castle which is not of the time because devastated by the monopolists of the French Revolution leaving hardly stone on stone as well as the furniture sold at auction. Well, the populace has not changed since 1789. The castle was patiently rebuilt by a rich widow Marie Fontaine. Adjoining the castle, the collegiate church of St-Sauveur received the tomb of Mme de Sévigné in 1696. I set off again to find a bivouac on a picnic area at the entrance to the village of Saint-Turquois or Turquoit according to the IGN map.
|Villeneuve-lez-Avignon, Fort St-André|
|Château de Grignan|