Provence Journals

Southern France

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A July 2005 trip to Provence by haslo04

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Basilica, Grotto Photo, Lourdes, France More Photos
Quote: In the summer of 2005, we took three weeks to travel Europe by train, car, and plane. This is our experience in southern France.

Southern France

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Overview

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Basilica, Grotto Photo, Lourdes, France
Quote:
Southern France is fabulous in the summer. Between the blooming lavender fields of Provence, the quaint atmosphere of summer festival nights in Avignon, and the daily excitement of the Tour de France, one cannot ask for a better summer European getaway. Here are the absolute highlights of our own trip to the region in July:1. Tour de France:  What is the most exciting about the Tour is your ability to choose the venue where you want to see it. Mountain tops, long stretches of flat asphalt, crowded finish line, or a secluded forest roadway—the bikers of the Tour ride it all and you can be there, sometimes an arm's length away from the riders themselves. Together with the festive atmosphere...Read More

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Basilica, Grotto

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Attraction | "Lourdes Cathedral"

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Basilica, Grotto Photo, Lourdes, France
Quote:
Lourdes is one of the most important shrines of the Catholic Church and even if one is not Catholic, a visit there can be very interesting.The importance of Lourdes is linked to Virgin Mary, who on February 11, 1858 made an appearance here. The story goes something like this. A fourteen year old local girl named Bernadette was walking in the woods when she heard a thunder emanating from a nearby grotto. Coming closer, the girl saw a rosebush and an appearance of a young and beautiful Lady, floating above the bush. The Lady smiled at Bernadette and motioned for her to advance. Bernadette lost any fear and fell to her knees to pray the Rosary. The Lady soon disappeared, but returned to meet with...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 16, 2007

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Basilica, Grotto

Lourdes, France

Senanque Abbey

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Attraction | "Abbey de Sénanque"

Senanque Abbey Photo, Provence, France
Quote:
Few places have captured our imagination as much as Abbey of Senanque. It is the photograph of this Abbey, which I saw in a wall calendar, that inspired me to plan our excursion to France. I don't know what really drew me towards this place. Its location at the end of a single lane road in the small Provencial valley was interesting enough. But the true attraction lied in the sheer and magnetic beauty of the place. You see, the Abbey was founded by Cistercian monks in 1178 and for the past many centuries, lived off tending to lavender. The contrast of the centuries-old walls of this Romanesque structure set against blooming lavender fields provides an unforgettable experience. The fields fill the whol...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 17, 2007

Senanque Abbey
Near the Village of Gordes
Vaucluse, Provence
04 90 72 05 72

Fortified Cite de Carcassonne and Lower City

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Attraction | "The Citadel of Carcassonne"

Fortified Cite de Carcassonne and Lower City Photo, Carcassonne, France
Quote:
Carcassonne is considered one of Europe's most preserved medieval sites. The legend of the city's name goes back to the year 760 AD, when the besieging Franks hoped to starve it into submission. The hunger led Lady Carcas, widow of one of the nobles, to collect all available grain and feed it to one remaining pig. Thus fattened, the pig was catapulted into the Frank camp, as a proof of persistent abundance in the city. Seeing a perfectly good pig hurled over the city walls disheartened the Franks, who felt their siege was futile. They lifted the siege and in honor of the resourceful Lady, the city was renamed Carcassonne. Today, Carcassonne is a fairly popular town with an impressive castle at...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 17, 2007

Fortified Cite de Carcassonne and Lower City
Languedoc
Carcassonne, France

Pont du Gard

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Attraction | "Pont du Gard Aqueduct"

Pont du Gard Photo, Vers-Pont-du-Gard, Languedoc Roussillon
Quote:
Historically, southern France is a fascinating place. It has 800-year old ruins of the feudal castles of the middle ages, but it also contains plenty of ancient ruins as well. This part of Europe was the frontier of the Roman Empire. Early years of the Roman Republic were dominated by consolidation of power in Italy but by the 2nd century B.C., that power spread into Gaul, as the modern France was then called. Over the next 400 years this area was under the rule of the Empire, usually providing much needed land for the veterans of the Roman legions. For that reason, this area is filled with many important Roman buildings and Pont du Gard is one of the most impressive structures of them all.Pon...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 17, 2007

Pont du Gard
Crossing the Gardon River
Near Remoulins, France

Tour de France

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Story/Tip

The Caravan Photo, Pyrenees Mountains, France
Quote:
Tour de France is incredible. I have long wanted to experience the Tour and think it is the best thing about summer in France. Our whole trip was timed so we can see the race in the Pyrenees, which arguably contain the most exciting stages of the whole event. In order to plan things properly, I used the official Le Tour de France website to get detailed maps and approximate timing of Stage 16 of the race, which was held on July 19. The route of the race is usually very diverse and includes both major highways and minor roads. All of these roads close the day before and thus in order to see the bikers up close, one needs to find a small town in the middle of nowhere that has an alternative access road....Read More