Saturday, October 29, 2011

France - Orange to Vaisons La Romaines to Privas and Dijon

We got up reasonably early as we had a lot to see again today.  We started first in Orange where I managed to get into the Ampitheatre for free because of my deafness.  I had to show my Cochlear Implant patient card for this.  Once again, Anne had seen a few ampitheatre's before so I went in alone.  It  wasn't terribly big, but it was old - built sometime in the 1st Century.  It's still being used today - in fact there were advertisements up for Phantom of the Opera.  That would be a great show to see in an ancient theatre!

 This is the stage front of the theatre which I found much more detailed than the one in Nimes.
 And here is the tiered seats - note the worn down steps over the ages!
 This is just over the road from the theatre - in the main street of Orange - brightly coloured houses.
We drove through lots of vineyards to get to our next stop - which was Vaisons La Romaines.  It almost felt like home!

Even though it was still fairly early in the morning, we decided to make a stop and taste some wine.  I'm not sure if it was the time of the day, or the wine itself, but I didn't enjoy it!!  I obviously needed to try a bit more!
 The vineyards autumn colours made the countryside very beautiul!
 After meandering around, we found Vaisons La Romaine.  A little township situated in the Haut Vaucluse region between the Mediterranean and the Alps.  The area was inhabited in the Bronze Age. At the end of the fourth century BCE, the upper city of Vaison became the capital of a Celtic tribe, the Vocontii or Voconces.  The medieval town is high on the rocky cliff. The valley floor was safe from attack in Roman and modern times. In the Middle Ages attacks were frequent, and the town retreated up-hill to a more defensible position.

 We climbed up the hill towards the Chateau Comtel - through the medieval town - where people still lived.

 I'm always behind as my foot holds me up!

 Houses were beautiful done with pots and plants.
 Anne waiting for me at the top of the stairs on the way up to the chateau.

 The path disappeared, and instead it just became rock to get to the top.  I actually managed to get up there!!!  Not bad for an unfit, deaf, blonde crippled 50yo!!!
On top of the hill are the ruins of the castle of the Counts of Toulouse, who reigned over the Comtat Venaissin, until it was bequeathed to the Holy See in 1271. The castle was pillaged during the French Revolution and fell into disrepair. Notable in the Cité Médiévale are the many substantial town houses, the narrow alleys winding their way up the hill and the fountains. Much of the material used in the construction of the houses came from the Roman ruins in the valley.

 Medieval Chimneys!
 Back on the road I came across some interesting looking trees and made Anne stop so I could take a photo!
 We also came across this field of 'rocks'.  We could find no information about them, but I got out to photograph them just in case we came across the information later.  While I was photographing these, an emergency vehicle came screaming around the corner sirens and lights going, and out of the emergency vehicle was a petrol pump and tube trailing along the road.  The call obviously came while they were filling up and they didn't bother to remove the pump.  We thought for the sake of a few seconds, they could have removed it and saved the poor petrol station the bother of a new one!
 We were now on our way to Privas - another township on the Rhone, but we found a chocolate shop.  Although we felt greedy, we tried every single one of these 'spreads'!
 We settled on the one with the poprocks in the chocolate spread.
 Another Chateau high on the hill which we passed on the way to Privas.
 Now up in Privas, looking over the valley - it was a town on the hillside, with terraced 'farmlets'.  Interesting to see.
 Privas Town Hall.  We stopped and grabbed a sandwich here before setting off to Dijon.
 A grab shot of some apartments on the way to Dijon.
On arrival in Dijon we found that there was an Ikea store very close to the hostel where we were staying, so dropped our luggage then went shopping!  Ikea really really needs to come to New Zealand.  It was brilliant!

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