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Chaîne des Alpilles

Getting ready to head out for a day's riding.
Getting ready to head out for a day’s riding.

Today we headed south to Bonnieux and then west along the foothills of the Luberon mountains, through Cavaillon, up & over the Chaîne des Alpilles before arriving at Fontvielle. On the way down to Bonnieux we passed this “old bridge” and the colors and lines caught my eye. Only now, as I write this up do I find out it is named Pont Julien, is Roman and is still being used 2000 years later.

Pont Julien
Pont Julien
Roundabout decisions.
Roundabout decisions.

The usual, a roundabout, and it’s either straight through, left or right. Cue sheets said to now follow the “bike path” which is in fact a bike friendly route along the foothills. Just follow the happy guy on the signposts.

Cavaillon bike route.
Cavaillon bike route.
Vineyards & hilltop villages.
Vineyards & hilltop villages.
A bike can go anywhere.
A bike can go anywhere.

Just past Cavaillon we were on a real bike path when I hear a shout from Jerry. I know from the tone & urgency that he has a puncture or flat for the Americans. Luckily it is quiet & peaceful as he fixes the problem. As we start riding again the thought always goes through my mind as to wheter the culprit, a thorn or piece of glass, is still embedded in the tire. After a few miles the though vanishes and the confidence returns.

One and only puncture on the trip.
One and only puncture on the trip.
Lunch: baguette, pastry & drink.
Lunch: baguette, pastry & drink.
Village center - always a place to regroup.
Eygalieres center – always a place to regroup.
mountains.
Chaîne des Alpilles mountains.

After the flatlands we had to cross the Chaîne des Alpilles to get to our hotel on the other side. About 700′ or so and I became attached to the jagged terrain which, for some reason, reminded me of the Cape mountains where I grew up. Here the rock is white limestone, back at the tip of Africa it is sandstone. The stuff just beckons me to drop the bike and go for a hike exploring the nooks & crannies. On the decedent I saw these kids running around and stopped to investigate.  They had their own private water slide riding the rushing torrent – I could not help but smile at the obvious enjoyment they were having!

Kids will have fun wherever they are.
Kids will have fun wherever they are.
For us - pure luxury.
For us – pure luxury.

In Fontvieille our hotel had park like grounds and a pool to relax by. Our provided dinner was at a nearby restaurant and on the way we stopped to tour a little wine cellar and then enjoy a glass of Rosé in the cool of the afternoon.

Wine cellar tour.
Wine cellar tour.
Aperitifs before dinner.
Aperitifs before dinner.
The consistency of the food presentation absolutely amazed me.
The consistency of the food presentation absolutely amazed me.
Arles
Les Arene-d’Arles

The town of Arles is known for it’s Roman ruins, above is part of the arena as we walked around it. Here is a nice view to appreciate it’s size.

Town square.
Arles square.

From Arles we headed back up into the Alpilles. The white limestone pulled me up as I wanted to forever see what lay around the next bend. The town of Les Baux-de-Provence is perched on one such limestone hilltop and gets flooded with tourists who park their cars along side the approaching road and then hoof it up one of the many access paths. We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, peak season. Deeper into the walled town we found a little hole-in-wall eatery where we could enjoy our customery glass of Rosé and a salad.

Les baux.
Les baux.
Hole in the wall.
Hole in the wall.
Our Hotel.
Our Hotel.

The hotel was just past the town itself and had a commanding view to the north. A place you can just sit and gaze out to forever. Early next morning I saw the sun bath the rock above with not a car in sight.

Afternoon view.
Afternoon view.
Morning light on the walls of Les Baux.
Morning light on the walls of Les Baux.
Off we go.
Off we go.
Looking back.
Looking back.

I just loved the place but soon we were back on the flats on our final day of riding heading back to Avignon.

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15th-century Château de Tarascon
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Tarascon.

At the little sleepy town of Barbentane, it was another case of “We’re 10K out lets eat”. No slew of restaurants here and we squeezed into the local hotel patio. I know we look tired, it’s our last day and soon all the fun will be over.

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Lunch before the last 10K, bitter-sweet.
Marseille.
Marseille.

Last day was spent in Marseille before we departed back home.

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Au revoir!

 

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