Hilltop Villages of Provence

June 22nd, 2012

Close to where we are staying are two hilltop villages; Gordes and Roussillon.   I had heard of both of them while reading Peter Mayles book, A Year in Provence.  Gordes is perched on a hillside with the white stone buildings appearing to be rooted into the cliffs.  Historically villages were built on top of hills for defensive purposes. 

Gordes has a large village square with the original ancient castle and the fountain at its center.  Until recent times the fountain was the only source of water for the village.

The village is full of narrow cobbled streets that were fun to explore, but on a hot day, were a real challange.

We found a secluded cafe for lunch away from the crowds in the square.  There was a breeze and a beautiful view of the valley.   I forgot to take a picture of the food.  David had a tasty lasagna dish and I had a salad with roasted chicken and vegetables.

It also happened to be our anniversary that day, so we got a kind lady to take our picture together.

After getting lost in the hills, we finally found the village of Roussillon.  The earth pigment here has a reddish tint that was used to create the ochre colored paint favored by artists.  The village attracted many famous artists including Marc Chagall.

 

The buildings all have that warm red hue.  I love the contrasting blue shutters. 

David just had to take this picture of Restaurant David.

He also started taking pictures of what he is referring to as “The Dogs of Provence”.  They are everywhere, running freely and happily. 

We returned to L’Isle Sur la Sorgue for dinner at a restaurant called Bellevue that is right next to the river.  The trout, potatoes and ratatouille were excellent.  The flavors of Provence!

L’Isle Sur la Sorgue

June 20th, 2012

The village of L’Isle Sur la Sorgue in Provence has been called The Little Venice.  It is surrounded by the waters of the Sorgue river and its many canals flow through the town carrying the crystal clear water downstream.  Because of the strength of the current it became a center for many industries as early as the 11th century.

 
At one time the village had 77 water wheels which enabled weavers of silk and wool to produce woven goods that were known all over Europe for their fine quality.  Fisherman also thrived and supplied fish to the legates of Avignon and elsewhere.  The fishing history is reflected in some of the street names; L’Anguille (Eel street) and Ecrevisses (Crayfish street).

We rented a car in Avignon after a 3 hour trip on the TVG fast train from Paris and arrived in L’Isle Sur la Sorgue in front of this charming shop.  The windows on the second floor contain our apartment.

Our living room is behind the windows with the herb boxes.  This apartment had all of the charm of the village itself.

I loved the well equipped kitchen.

The leather chairs face the window and are a good place to sit and watch the busy street action below.

Next to the living area is a TV and computer room.

Behind the kitchen is a sunny patio with many herb pots, a grill and a place to lounge and eat.  We have already spent a lot of quality time out here.

The bedroom is comfortable with a wide window that can be shuttered to keep the light out.

Sunday is market day in L’Isle Sur la Sorgue.  The whole town is full of vendors for fruits, vegetables, clothing and antiques.

I should have bought this dress.  What fun.

We did buy the ingredients for dinner.  We bought two fish kabobs with salmon, swordfish, and cod.  David separated the fish from the vegetables and cooked them on the grill.

I got some zucchini and shallots, shredded the zucchini and sauteed them together with herbs from the patio garden.  

Along with some rice from a food vendor, a fresh baguette and our grilled fish and vegetables, we had a very nice dinner.

Our travels have taken us to several nearby villages so far.  We have visited, Gordes, Roussillon and St. Remy.  Further afield was Bandol for a winery tour and Cassis to bask in the view of the Mediterranean Sea.   Provence is everything I hoped it would be.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.