When our friends and family ask about our trip to France, the first thing I always reply is “it’s astoundingly beautiful!” I mean, it’s no surprise that southern France is pretty, but I was shocked at the universal beauty that was everywhere. I could not find anything that wasn’t jaw dropping, charming, or scenic in some way. And don’t get me started on the cute and delicious patisseries full of bread and pastries in the window! Looking through these photos even now doesn’t even begin to show it, but hopefully you can get an idea of why I was so impressed.
We rented a car after we left Nice (see the post on Nice here) and had fun taking drives from the bigger cities. These Avignon Day Trips were a real highlight of the trip. The best place for this was in Avignon. The Pope’s Palace (did you know the papacy was moved from Rome to France in the 14th century?) was a fun tour in the city. And there was a mind-blowing light show in the palace at night that we happened to be in town for. I can’t recommend the Les Luminessences d’Avignon in late summer/early fall enough. But the day trips out of Avignon were a highlight of the whole trip.
We wanted to go wine tasting but had trouble finding the right scenario. Many were half-day and full-day trips with many wine tastings that seemed too much. And they averaged 100-150 Euros per person. After seeking advice from many friends, T reached out to some of the wineries themselves and we ended up paying 5 Euro each for a private tour and wine tasting at Domain Beaurenard. Talk about a win. So then we took home a very nice bottle of wine! At the winery, they suggested driving to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue – the Venice of Provence. We enjoyed our picnic lunch along the river flowing through town and scoured the local shops, taking in all its charm. We ended the day in the hill town of Gordes. There are hill towns around Provence. They have a cuteness factor that is off the charts, but they also offer fabulous viewpoints. I loved visiting Gordes and Le Baux-de-Provence (outside of St. Remy), but they aren’t day trips in and of themselves. Tack them onto another destination for a full day of sightseeing.
Another one of our fun Avignon day trips was to Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct. It’s huge in size and the park is great for short hikes and swimming in the river. We missed out on the fun of swimming since we had no idea about the beach, but the locals certainly knew what was up. You have to pay for parking, but that’s your whole group’s entrance to the park. Bring your lunch, bathing suits, and walking shoes for sure.