Southern France

Aix en Provence, Luberon (Lourmarin, Buoux, Bonnieux, La Coste, Pont Julien Bridge, Roussillon, Joucas, and Saignon), St Remy de Provence, Baux-de-Provence, Pont du Gard, Uzes, Nimes, Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Tain L' Hermitage, Lyon, Chalon-sur-Saone, Dijon, Vougeot, Beaune, Cluny.

After a long flight we arrived in Marseille early in the morning, picked up a rental car and drove an easy 35 minutes to Aix en Provence. We really enjoyed the market (we arrived in Aix on a market day), and also followed the Paul Cezanne trail laid out by the city (Paul Cezanne was born in Aix on January 19, 1839).

Fountain in Aix
Market Day in Aix en Provence

Walking in the steps of Cezanne

From Aix we drove to Lourmarin, checked into our hotel and walked around this charming village. Details of our trip can be found in the “Southern France Trip at a Glance” link on the side bar, which include links to all our hotels.

Local children (and their dog) playing in front of the tourist information office

Lourmarin Castle (and another dog)

We woke up in Lourmarin on Market Day - and, yes we planned that!

After the morning market in Lourmarin we explored the villages of Luberon and visited Buoux, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Pont Julien Bridge, Roussillon, Joucas, and Saignon, before heading back to our hotel in Lourmarin.
What remains of the Marquis de Sade's (Mr. Sadism himself) castle -
now owned by designer Pierre Cardin
Roussillon is known for their red rock formations. The pigments below are made locally and sold in several shops.

The buildings are made from the red clay of the earth, basically the entire village is red/terra cotta.
Pont Julien
Self-portrait of the sweaty American couple after hiking up several blocks of beautiful cobblestoned streets

From Lourmarin we drove to Uzes via St Remy de Provence, Baux-de-Provence, and Pont du Gard.

St. Paul's Monastery where van Gogh was sent after he cut off his ear.

The monastery displays placards of Vincent's art work showing you where he stood and what he was looking at as he painted.
These are Roman ruins from the ancient city of Glanum just outside of St. Paul's Monastery in St. Remy-de-Provence
View from Baux
Pont du Gard Aqueduct built by the Romans in 19 BC.

From Uzes we drove to Nimes and after exploring the city center we dropped the rental car off at the Nimes train station (after driving around trying to FIND the train station for 45 minutes! And another 20 minutes trying to find a petrol station open on a Sunday). We then boarded a train to Arles to start our Uniworld cruise up the Rhone River to Chalon-sur-Saone (Beaune) via Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Tain L' Hermitage, and Lyon.

Arena in Nimes - pretty impressive site!

Nimes city symbol - a crocodile (chained to the tree) representing Egypt and the palm tree representing Nimes.

Maison Carree - built in 16 BC

Uniworld's River Royale docked in Arles - Our "home" for five nights.

The dock in Arles where van Gogh painted "Starry Starry Night".

Town of Arles

Provencal fabrics.

Another one of Vincent's paintings - Courtyard at the Hospital of Arles

Like the Cezanne markers above, these ground markers of Vincent van Gogh guide you through the town of Arles and past the sites where van Gogh painted.

First night on the cruise enjoying the welcome champagne.

Mark "won" this bottle at a silent auction on board the cruise (yes, he was the only bidder).

Saint Benezet's Bridge - Avignon

Pope's Palace - Avignon

Another shot of Saint Benezet's bridge

Pope's Palace - Avignon

More Avignon

Village of Viviers

Viviers Welcoming Committee!

Tain L'Hermitage - World's First Suspension Bridge

Our boat, docked in Lyon. That's our suite! (the one with the curtains fully opened - and Charlotte enjoying an early afternoon glass of wine by the window).

Rainy Lyon

Trompe l'oeil painting on side of building- pretty cool - the building was all gray and various painters got together and painted 3D portaits of windows, balconies, flowers, and famous Lyonnais people

The raincoat definitely came in handy!

After disembarking from the Uniworld cruise in Chalon-sur-Saone (Beaune), the plan was to pick-up another rent-a-car in Dijon, and explore Burgundy and the towns of Vougeot, Beaune, and Cluny, (see Southern France Trip at a Glance), but we received some bad news from home while in Lyon and quickly make our way home.

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