We have left the highway and found lavender fields, we are finally in Provence. We are taking advantage of this long weekend to get some sun in the South. Not even two hours ago, we left a foggy landscape and heavy rain. Although we are in the middle of summer, the weather is not good and we have not seen the sun since… too long for
the month of July.
Some 200 km further, the scenery completely changes. The sun is at its best and we find with delight the landscapes of Provence. We ride through charming little villages with stone houses and many fields of vineyards. The names of the places that we cross follow one another, each one more evocative than the last. Châteauneuf du Pape, Gigondas,
Vacqueyras, Beaumes de Venice… the best wines of Provence are waiting for us.
The warm welcome of the locals, their singing accent and the music of the cicadas complete the picture, creating a place with a unique atmosphere, where we feel it is good to live.
We take advantage of our trip here to visit one of the most beautiful villages of France: Séguret. Historically, Séguret was a vineyard that’s Master changed several times until the XIIth century.The winegrowers then took their fate into their own hands by making Séguret a free commune. Today, they continue to produce an excellent Côte du Rhône.
As we approach, we see it clinging to the massif of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Dominated by its old castle, Séguret is a small village with medieval charm.
Cars are not allowed inside. The narrow, paved Streets stretch along the cliff. We enter the village by the Reynier gate which guards the main entrance. From there, we begin our ascent through the narrow streets to the charming little square of the old wash house. A delightful tea room has now taken up residence. You can taste delicious homemade pies with a view of the fountain of the mascarons, located just next to it.
A little higher, we have a beautiful encounter: the baker of the village. His “bakery” is in fact an open-air stall, in front of his authentic wood-burning oven in which he bakes bread, like they did in the past.
We choose a rye bread and a « pogne » (brioche) which are among the best I have ever eaten.
We continue our ascent to the top of the village where a small Romanesque church is located. In front of it is a breathtaking view of the whole valley and the vineyards.
Lunch time is approaching. We leave Séguret and conclude this charming morning with a meal in the middle of the vineyards, accompanied by an excellent Beaume de Venise.
Isle sur la sorgue :
The next day, we go to Isle sur la Sorgue. Known as the Venice of Provence, Isle sur la Sorgue is built in the middle of canals that wind gently from one end of the city to the other.
We stroll slowly, along the water, enjoying its freshness by this sunny day. All along the Sorgue river there are many paddle wheels, a vestige of the textile industry which dominated here in the past.
Nowadays, Isle sur la Sorgue is mostly known for its antique shops. There are nearly 300 of them, grouped in 6 « villages » in the heart of the city.
We leave the waterfront and walk up the winding streets while admiring the mansions and houses of Renaissance style. We arrive at the church square. Even before having been able to to admire the famous basilica, Giulia exclaims: “lollipops”. At the corner of the street there is a store that offers local sweets and ancient candies. After this necessary stop, we admire the square. Here, time seems to have stopped. The stores and cafés look like they have just come out of a 19th century movie.
They face the imposing Collegiate Church « Notre Dame des Anges ». Dating back to the 12th century, this exceptional basilica is a beautiful example of baroque architecture.
Its rather austere facade, all in white stones, does not let you imagine the riches hidden inside: the carved woodwork, the gilding and the paintings that cover the walls dazzle us. We learn that no less than 222 sculptures of angels are spread throughout the monument.
Back on the square, we decide to go back to the quays, towards the “île aux brocantes” in order to rummage around the antique dealers. On the way we passed in front of the Jouvaud pastry shop. A new stop is necessary. This pastry shop is a treat for the eyes as well as for the taste buds. There is a choice of pastries, cakes, sweets … each more
delicious than the last. It is difficult to resist the temptation. The choice is Cornelian. After long minutes of reflection, I decide for candied apricots. A treat. I also choose fruit tarts composed of a puff pastry and an almond cream. They are perfect for our evening dessert and thus end this charming weekend in Provence.