Sorry...another day late but no internet last night!
Yesterday (18 July) was a rest day for the tour de France, so that meant a tourist day for us. We set off nice and early to visit a few sites around the Provence region.It was a gorgeous sunny day so all good! Started with a drive through the Carmargue, a swampy region which is also known for its lovely horses!
Firstly we went to Arles to visit the Roman ruins. Arles was a city that welcomed Julius Cesar so he was nice to them and built a lovely ampitheatre or arena which we visited (see photo) and the theatre. Personally I found both quite disappointing, the arena was being set up for a concert or something so had roadies crawling all over it setting up gear and the amphitheatre was under reconstruction...so only a 5/10 from me!
Our next port of call was Les Baux en Province, a fortified village in amongst some pretty amazing rock formations. Highly commercialised it is a honey trap for tourists! Check out the fares in the lolly & biscuit shop...and yes I bought some biscuits....managed to resist the lollies!
As we drove away we got a fantastic view of the village...
The next place that was recommended to us was the Pope's Palace in Avignon, unfortunately in peak holiday period it is virtually impossible to find a park in Avignon, so the best we managed was a photo of the walled old city as we drove by!
Dave really wanted to go to Mont Ventoux, which has been a major part of the mountain climbs of TDF's in the past. It wasn't included in this years tour. So even though it was slightly out of the way off we went. It's a scary climb to the summit, and was crawling with cyclists all doing their best to get up, most seemed to make it but the odd one was walking here and there. My hat is off to them as it was a long climb and quite steep towards the end! It's amazing scenery, very barren with white rocks that from a distance resemble snow!
It was freezing cold at the top even though the sun was shining nicely! We didn't stay too long as it was incredibly crowded, just enough time to take a few photos!
After a bit of a wrong turn and having to descend then reclimb the mountain, we finally got on the right road to get to Villeneuve where we stayed with Christian and Geraldine, parents of our friend Remi from Noumea (hi Remi!). We passed through some beautiful Provincial country-side on the way fields of lavender and olive groves - fantastic!
We arrived at C & G's place without too much difficulty and had a very pleasant evening catching up with them and enjoying their extraordinary hospitality!