May 17, 2014
We left Avignon to head for Aix-en-Provence and on the way visited Gordes, St Rémy de Provence, Les Baux de Provence and Arles. Each one of these villages would warrant more than a day to see everything that they have to offer but we crammed four villages in one day. No wonder we were exhausted when we finally got to Aix-en-Provence.
We spent most time in Gordes and Les Baux de Provence. Both of them were exquisite in their different ways. Gordes was a little like Cordes sur Ciel insofar as it was possible to see the village from a distance upon a hill whereas Les Baux de Provence was hidden in the rocks around which it was built. It's hard to describe them other than to say that they each have a character and history that is compelling. The drive between St Rémy and Les Baux is absolutely spectacular with rock formations on either side of the road and the most beautiful landscape. This drive alone made it worthwhile to visit Vaucluse.
Unfortunately, because they are so beautiful, they attract large numbers of visitors and that means that the streets are full of shops with tourist rubbish and restaurants that serve very ordinary food. Finding places in France that are beautiful and undiscovered is something that takes quite a while and we were lucky enough to have some friends who were able to advise us. People who come in the high season are in for a rude shock with the size of the crowds in some of the more well known tourist spots.
After Les Baux we stopped in Arles with just enough time to see the Amphitheatre before driving onto Aix-en-Provence.