We awoke to another warm and yet slightly overcast day, and set off to find Vaison-la-Romaine. We rode out of Orange through the magnificent triumphal arch heading towards the very pretty town of St Cecile. We had to cycle through vineyards to get there, and en route we came across the most delightful church set in amongst the vines. It was here that we were overtaken by a large and noisy group of riders on quad bikes- nice way to travel we thought!
As the skies started to clear, we found our way to charming St Cecile and had lunch at a local cafe, which offered our first experience of a squat toilet – thankfully, easier to negotiate than I thought! Our lunches on the trip mainly consisted of baguette, jambon cru and cheese, and generally we managed to find a patisserie along our daily routes for coffee and almond croissants mid morning – divine!
After exploring the town, we headed off in search of Vaison-la-Romaine again, which meant riding through more vineyards – as you can imagine it all begins to looks the same, and we proceeded to get lost. Some may say a vineyard is a great place to be marooned, but it was pretty disconcerting, as being in amongst the green vines and the dirt tracks is almost like being in a maze!
Occasionally, the directions France-Bike supplied were a little confusing (mainly due to having been translated from German into English), so we were armed with additional directions provided by Jill at A Walker’s World. Even so, we made a wrong turn as we exited the vineyard, and ended up on a busy highway, with heavily laden lorries hurtling by us. We decided to continue, hoping we would eventually find the D Road we should be on, and by some stroke of luck we did.
Now back on track with our directions, we continued on to Vaison-la-Romaine and found the Hotel Le Burrhus, and what a brilliant, quirky place to stay. We loved it – the rooms were simply furnished in quite avant garde style. It was ambient, and in a wonderfully central position in the newer part of town. We met up with the two Americans again, and had a delicious meal with them at Le Tournesol restaurant. – Another great day on the bikes complete.
The following morning we woke to a fantastic sight – the lower side of Vaison had become a huge market – the streets were brimming with meats, breads, fresh produce, herbs and spices, beautfiul and colourful Provencal linens and the carpark opposite Le Burrhus was chock full of clothing stalls – heaven!
The Ouveze river divides Vaison into two distinct parts- the lower valley side where we were staying, and the higher side across the river- pretty much a hillside fortress. We were eager to get up into the village, so we breakfasted early on the Burrhus balcony and after taking in the colourful market, we crossed the river and found ourselves in a stunning medieval town….more about that in the next post.