Vaison La Romaine, Nyons, Orange, France August 2014
I love France.
I love its smell, I love the way it looks and I love the way it sounds.
We hired a villa on the outskirts of Vaison to house us, Ma and one set of the in laws for a week of R&R and ‘Hi, how are you’ing and to add icing to the fun decided to take 2 days to drive the 708 or so miles there. Me, Ma n JHubz, in a Fiat Punto, 2 days straight, what could possibly go wrong, well not a lot it turns out, good travelling companions we three make (JHubz might dispute this but it would be bravado).
I very carefully planned each leg between major breaks so that we weren’t driving for too long a stretch at a time. Except every leg that was supposed to take say 3 hours took 6, not just because, unsurprisingly we weren’t the only people on the road, but also I am convinced that google was having a meltdown the day I printed out the legs and told me what I wanted to hear, which bore no relation to the actual journey times *sigh*
We arrived at the first stop, the unbelievably picturesque Beze after a bum numbing 12 hours in the car, broken only by the occasional loo break and leg stretch as we refuelled the car. We stayed overnight at Le Bourguignon www.le-bourguignon.com (highly recommend it, 70s décor, delicious food). Around 8.30 in the morning on a croissant hunt we came across babbling brooks and sleeping swans and all immediately decided we must move to Beze in the near future.
Croissants found and the urge to move shelved for the time being we continued to Vaison, with an eta of 2pm (ahahahahahaha naïve idiots), just enough time to go to the supermarket before meeting Mathieu and getting the keys to our hilltop villa. Well that was the plan. Some 8 hours later we made it to Vaison only to become horribly lost, I blame my ancient TomTom, Mathieu’s wife despatched to find us led us up the tortuously steep and twisty narrow road (it really wasn’t that bad the next day) ending in the Villa of our dreams. Except the beautiful, spacious Villa (it was all of these things) was absolutely bloody filthy. We later learnt they’d had a bit of a disastrous day but at the time, after an 8 hour drive, 2 hours cleaning was NOT on my to do list. But neither was living in anyone else’s filth. So clean we did, in fact we shopped, cleaned and cook, all in anticipation of the Canadian contingent who arrived world weary later that night.
France is covered in wonderful ancient market towns, of which Vaison La Romaine is but one. You can stroll the medieval city (lots of houses for sale, if living in a medieval city lights your fire) visiting the galleries housed in its ancient homes, (highly recommend www.ansatu.com, whose whimsical paintings stole our hearts) let your jaw drop as you realise cars actually can and do drive these streets, narrower than your average corridor. The market in Vaison is also fabulous, catering for local and tourist equally, extending out from the square, roast chickens, paella, fruit and clothing stretching up from the car park into the distance. That it closes at 1pm is a shame as we could have spent another 5 hours or so wandering, shopping and eating.
So we spent a week, market hopping (Nyons and Orange have equally lovely markets), site seeing (The Roman Theatre at Orange is ‘Oh Wow’ not to be missed) lounging by the pool, reading, connecting and running like pussies from the occasional killer spider (as Ma laughingly scooped them up and set them free) before heading back to London and the continued planning of the big one.