Today started with blue skies and the wind of the last couple of days had certainly dropped, which meant a day’s cycle ahead. The morning started though with feeding the chickens, who have become quite good friends over the past week and I must admit I now find it hard to contemplate renting a holiday home without them, great for getting rid of the kitchen scraps from the night before and good company too.
So chores done I thought I would have a quick look at Twitter, before heading off for the day on the bike, when I saw an advert for a 2 day craft market in Avignon. Now as my family join me tomorrow, and my 2 teenage sons are not renowned for their love of anything with the word ‘market’ in it- I felt it would be good to go to Avignon today and take a look at what was on offer.
I couldn’t though give up totally on the idea of a cycle, so decided to buy a ‘Pain Au Chocolat’ at the lovely Boulangerie in Maubec & head up to Oppede-Le-Vieux to have breakfast with a view.
I have mentioned this village many times before, but it is a beautiful place with one of the most spectacular views in the area and the thought of breakfast on the terrace in front of the Church there was too enticing to resist.
The cycle through from Maubec is delightful, skirting the flanks of the Luberon, through vineyards & Olive groves as you slowly climb towards the honey coloured village that sits on a rocky outcrop almost opposite Gordes.
The main square of the village was quiet, with the cafes still closed (it was only 9.10 am) and there were no other people around, so I was able to wander through the peaceful, cobbled lanes towards the church and the ruined castle that sits above the tumbling remains of the medieval houses.
Breakfast was just as lovely as I had thought, the view across towards Mont Ventoux is stunning and to be honest I could have just sat there for hours watching the shadows move across the valley below.
However I had a Craft Market to visit and time was of the essence, so I took a slow wander back through the old streets, disturbing a couple of rather large, bright green lizards as I passed
I also took a quick look into the pottery studio, just off the main square before I went. This pottery studio always has delightful pieces and today was no different with beautiful owls & a main design showing penguins standing, jumping & diving from a rock – one day I will buy a piece to take home (probably after the boys have stopped throwing rugby balls around the house though!)
So onto Avignon and a wander around the craft market, that had been set up in many of the smaller squares in the old town & further afield.
The old walled city of Avignon is spectacular and until you see the Pope’s Palace it is hard to really appreciate its scale. The Palace itself seems to rise up from the rock and this is seen really clearly in a small pathway that leads round the side into the old town.
The square in front of the Palace is vast & it is from here that you can catch one of the tourist trains that trundle around the old sites of the city. It is an austere, but beautiful building and certainly worth a visit, although today time was against me.
The Craft Market was good, although I had the feeling that it is in its infancy and will only grow larger as it becomes more established, however the settings across the city were delightful and it took me to Squares that I haven’t visited before. I also saw some lovely pieces and so will look forward to visiting again in the future.
However it’s always nice to have an excuse to visit Avignon, which has always been a symbol for me of arriving in Provence and I will, as ever, look forward to the next time – perhaps then I’ll pluck up courage to explore a bit further using the Avignon version of a ‘Boris-Bike’
So this was my last day of being on my own in Provence & tomorrow my hubby & boys arrive for the second week. I am really looking forward to seeing them, but have also enjoyed just being able to explore the area at my own speed and visiting as many markets as possible in the time I have had.
The good thing is that we all enjoy cycling – so expect some more cycle-related blogs over the coming week ………. And possibly some markets – even if bribery is involved to get the boys there!!!