Every second year we take on a big adventure – India, Italy, Scotland, Iceland, Grand Cayman (okay, maybe not so big, but still “Grand”). The itch most often begins with Jillian – she’s the family dreamer and planner. She comes to me with a pitch, of sorts – generally a rough timeline and some idea of the experience she’d like to have. She’s been listening to me reminisce about our Italian holiday – three weeks in Tuscany wherein different groups of super-friends would pop by our villa for a week-ish of up-close-and-personal vacationing, marked by long, al-fresco multi-course extravaganzas and Italy’s best reds – for a time now. Her idea was a “round 2” of sorts: three weeks in the southeast of France. Since the twins are much more mobile (they’re eight – they weren’t even one when we visited Italy) we decided to spend a week in each of three regions.
We are super lucky to have the amazing Barry Siskind along for this leg.
On our first day (Sunday July 15), we visited the beautiful Avignon, a gorgeous walled city that used to house a second pope! Did you know there was a second pope? Neither did we! This second line of popes (there were 9 in total) lived in Avignon in an incredibly elaborate palace aptly named “Palais des Papes“. Throughout the area is the Côtes du Rhône wine region, including the aptly named Châteauneuf du Pape (Perhaps they meant to call it “Chateau de Neuf Papes”?) We were given awesome little Huawei tablets that with the help of GPS would play the story of each room and characters over the centuries and then give you a VR view of the room as it was in the 1300s – très sympa!
The finals of the World Cup was also on and you probably heard that France won. It was very exciting for everyone – lots of hoopla all around. It was boiling hot and a lot of fun.
The next day (Monday July 16) we returned to tour Le Pont D’Avignon. Yes, we danced ’round on le pont and it was perfect. The bridge actually only goes out halfway across one fork of the Rhône River because the rest of the bridge collapsed (is that why they limit the number of people on the bridge?). Interesting, n’est-ce pas?
On Tuesday July 17, we ventured to Vaison la Romaine. This is a gorgeous town with an amazing Tuesday morning market so we…SHOPPED! Magasinez jusqu’à ce que vous tombiez?!? Yep. We bought Fruit (including a heavy melon), fans (for the heat), clothes for Rachel and Katelin, and incredible linens. We thought we would shop first so that we could then hike up this huge treacherous stone mountain face to reach the high fortress in the midday heat – geniuses! We had never hiked with linens before so we thought we’d give it a go! Despite our heavy bags, the walk was really fun. The best part, however, was the view from the top. Surrounded by vineyards and mountains, not a cloud in the sky. We were grateful to be there and to be together and then to go back down for some cool drinks afterwards…
Suite (hint: that means “continued”).