France and Italy 2004

Uzès, 26 June to 2 July

  During our week in Uzès, we made a number of day trips, as shown on this map.
  Leaving St Paul, we travelled along the Route Napoleon, following the road he took before his brief return to power in 1814. The road goes across the grain of the country, with many passes and spectacular rock formations. The European sky holds contrails for a long time and the polarizing lens helps deepen the beautiful blues.
  After leaving the Route Napoleon to cut across Provence towards Avignon and Uzès, we passed the extraordinary Rochers des Mées.
  Shortly before reaching Uzès, we visited the Roman Pont du Gard aqueduct: 2000 years old and still standing firm.
  We stayed in a large room under a farm house, which had originally been the sheepfold where sheep were housed over winter. It was the most pleasant of all the places we stayed during this holiday.
  Uzès has several towers: the Tour Fenestrelle is the best known of them. Beside the cathedral and much older than it, it is all that remains of the original church.
  The town's château is still occupied by the same family after 600 or more years. Modestly, the family crest is shown in coloured tiles on the roof. The family was second in line to the French throne.
  In the market square, a fountain adds interest. Except on market days, when it would wet the traders.
  The market square.
  Produce at the market.
  A decorative door knocker.
  Flowers in the Medieval Garden in Uzès.
  Top of the chapel to King Louis in a private château outside Uzès.
  Some of the roads near Uzès are "typical" French country roads, lined with trees.
  We stopped to take photos of a sunflower field. Within a few minutes, about six other cars had stopped and the occupants were taking photos. Perhaps the only time we have ever been trendsetters....
  This is the bridge at Avignon. It used to have 22 arches, but now has only four. This view is taken from the island in the middle of the River Rhône, which is where people used to dance: not on the bridge (sur le pont) but under it (sous le pont).
  The Palais des Papes (Popes' Palace) in Avignon. It is huge and, even though it is now mostly empty, one can only marvel at the lifestyle of the Popes.
  Further down the Rhône, the towns of Beaucaire and Tarascon have castles facing each other across the river. The castle in Beaucaire is locked up and accessible only to those going to watch performing eagles, but near it is this unusual watch tower.
  The castle in Tarascon is less grim, and open to the public.
  Nîmes has a number of Roman relics, including its Arena which is still used for plays and bullfighting.
  Memorial to a bullfighter outside the Arena.
  The oldest building in Nîmes is the Maison Carrée, a Roman temple which has been used for many other purposes over the past 2000 years. We bought a bag of cherries and ate them for lunch while sitting on these steps.
  The impressive Tour Constance in Aigues-Mortes.
  Part of the walls of Aigues-Mortes.
  Further east, in Provence proper, is the hilltop village of Gordes. This is the view of Gordes from the approach road.
  And this is the view of the Provençal plain from Gordes.
  Just outside Gordes is "The Village of the Bories", an abandoned settlement of these stone houses.
  Nearby, reached by a very narrow road, is the Abbey of Senaque which in 2004 was surrounded by lavender.
  We visited Fontaine de Vaucluse, where the river Sorgue emerges from the rock.
  Then downstream to L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, a very pretty town. We liked it so much that we subsequently spent a week there in both 2008 and 2014.
  A typical Provençal bell tower. Each town or village has its own design in wrought iron.
  We cannot remember where this château was located, but it is very pretty and very French.

From Uzès, it was quite a long journey through the mountains of central France to Issoire.


Copyright © 2004 by Lynn or Nick Booth. Please contact us if you wish to use a photo.