Exploring The Market Towns in Provence.

We probably underestimated the drive to France from Cinque Terre because on the map it just looks like a quick nip around the coast. There’s no quick nip about it.

Anyway we made it across the border  whereupon it’s straight into The French Riviera and Monaco areas. I’m not sure whether it was the bad weather or just the areas themselves, or maybe lack of sleep, but it just didn’t float our boat. So we headed for the hills.

On our travels – yes right at the beginning we should have bought a GPS – but we didn’t, so we have trialled all kinds of offline and online maps. They all start off great but then somewhere along the line you will find yourselves driving up a one way road the wrong way or taking the wrong motorway exit ending up in another country, ( yes that’s happened to us). Anyway after the night drive to France where we kept ending up in these coastal towns on the side of the hill looking for a carpark up a walking lane…. I downloaded the TomTom App. It’s all very colourful and the voice belongs to an Australian called “Karen”. We could have had ” Tom” from Australia but Doug wasn’t going to listen to any bloke he said. So we set it up, “no tolls, eco friendly blah blah” and off we go.

The destination is Eze, a medieval town not far from Cannes. Next minute we are bypassing what looks like the main road to take the windiest, hilliest mountaintop known to man. We arrive in Eze after driving down through the clouds and head off to walk around the town.

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The town is beautiful, built on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean and Monaco, Nice and Cannes, which by the way, from the top of the hill look amazing. Some Swedish Prince had his winter residence in the middle of the town until around 1970 so it’s a pretty swanky medieval town with lots of Michelin star restaurants.

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It’s pouring with rain so it’s a whistle stop tour for us, (plus we had bribed the guard to let us park in the bus parking for an hour), and we head off to our next destination through the middle of the rich and famous residential area overlooking the Med below. Winding, winding our way down. It’s about then that we click – we had set the app to drive ONLY windy roads not AVOID them. I ask you, what navigation map asks you if you want to drive ONLY windy roads?

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That’s about the time the tiredness kicked in and all plans went out the window of where we were going and I’m now kicking myself because we missed out on The Verdon Gorge area, which I have on good authority, is stunning.

Still we found a lovely little French town with a free motorhome park and got a good night’s sleep.

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We hadn’t been grocery shopping in over 3 weeks with being in Venice and Rome and the cupboards were looking pretty bare so the next morning was spent restocking. 200 € later and our cupboards are full but our wallet is empty.

Really it’s been an uneventful few days but then it hasn’t been the nicest of weather either. Still we have arrived in Aix En Provence where every Saturday they have one of the largest open air markets in all of France. From clothes to antiques, to art and of course produce, seafood, cheese, meats, breads, olives…
Lucky for us it was Saturday.

We have chosen to stay in a Aire in a little village around half an hour from Aix called Greasque. At night the local policeman comes to collect your 5€. All very official.

There is a bus that takes you to the centre of Aix in a roundabout way. Lucky for we found our guardian angel at the bus stop who got us on and off at all the right places.

The market was everything I had hoped for and more and as you walk through the charming town of Aix you will find more and more little market areas with the pavements overflowing with people drinking coffee and wine and just enjoying the atmosphere. It was a wonderful if exhausting day and made up for the ho hum of the last few.

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We also met some Kiwis doing exactly the same as us in the clothes section of the market amongst the hundreds of shoppers. What are the chances.

From Aix we headed slightly north to the historic town of Gordes late in the day so we just had dinner, played our usual round of cards and had an early night.

Being close to the market town of I’isle-Sur-La-Sorgue we headed there after breakfast. I made a terrible attempt at French Crepes,  so breakfast was quicker than usual and we arrived nice and early. The stalls are endless, looping through the village streets with vendor after vendor selling anything from clothes, bedware, scarves, vegetables, seafood, cheese, escargot, madelines, olives, spices…. It’s bloody amazing and an absolute dream day for me.

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Yes we stopped for coffee but something you have to learn in each country is what their Cappuccino means. In France – it comes with chocolate. In Italy it’s more of a Flat White and on and on it goes. There really is no such thing as a flat white it’s mostly frothy coffee wherever you are. We really do make wonderful coffee in New Zealand.

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The antique market is something else where the vendors have their antiques spread out across the street and in the middle they sit with friends or family or whoever drinking red wine and eating roasts and frommages with baguettes and olives. It’s a real affair.

Then there are the shops selling the most beautifully packaged goods with plenty of samples to taste.

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All and all it was another magnificent day and after we headed back to Gordes to eat fresh baguettes, (the best I have ever tasted), filled with some local cheese and salami before taking a nap on the couch.

For the rest of afternoon we walked the 2kms into the centre of Gordes. The view of the town from the roadside is phenomenal.

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From the roadside the village looms large but it’s actually quite a compact town once you start wandering and sadly the caves under the village close in October so we missed those as well so it was back to the motorhome for our traditional Sunday Roast.

20181104_17224520181104_153022Happy Sunday everyone.

3 thoughts on “Exploring The Market Towns in Provence.

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