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Eyes on Provence featuring Vaison-la-Romaine
Photographs by JK McCrea
An old walkway in the Haute Ville.
ISBN-13: 978-1495981883 ISBN-10: 1495981886
Copyright © 2014 by JK McCrea Net proceeds from the sale of this book are split between the Association for the Protection of the Haute Ville (APHV.fr) and Building International Bridges, an educational charity that promotes cultural communication. Learn more at BuildingInternationalBridges.org.
The Haute Ville
Approaching Vaison-la-Romaine’s historic Haute Ville.
A popular restaurant is located at the foot of the Haute Ville
A photo exhibit that covered windows in the Haute Ville
A set of stairs that approaches toward the west end of the Haute Ville.
< A path in the Haute Ville Center: A view from the breakfast area of the Hotel Beffroi.
Below: A typical view along Rue Des Fours
For several years, homeowners in the Haute Ville covered some windows and doorways with large photos.
An old stairway in the Hotel Beffroi. Notice how the stairs are worn in the center.
Below: The fountain in front of the Hotel.
Inside a town home
Views from Hotel Beffroi
Looking north from The east side of the Haute Ville
Interiors of the Hotel Beffroi.
the Chateau ruins above the Haute Ville > Below: The Jewish Quarter
Inside the chambres d’hote l'Évêché in Haute Ville
This plaque shows the high water mark from the Sept. 1992 flood. Below: Lobby of Hotel Beffroi.
Enjoy your tour. Put on some French music. Imagine that you are driving through small towns in Provence. You have a map and nothing scheduled. Without a guide, you have only these images to encourage you to explore and sample. It’s time for lunch.
We avoided the noise of the city of Carpentras (28 km from Vaison). We recommend the wines of Seguret and Sablet and the website http://ladistance.fr/ for measuring distances.
A field of lavender in the valley south of Vaison.
Views from Seguret
The mural is on the road from Avignon
A restaurant near Sablet
The height of the cherry season is the second week of June (usually).
Our favorite way of buying wine.
A view (below) from the Haute Ville looking at the restaurant called Terrasse of Ninou
In 1992 the flood crested over the bridge
The dog was trained to pick up and deliver items to customers
Below: A night shot of the Place Montfort in Vaision
Meals from Place Montfort in Vaison
There are four excellent restaurants in the Place Montfort in the center of the town of Vaison.
Oh, the local products…
Below: a choir of female singers on the longest day of the year (Place Montfort)
Place Montfort during June
Bacchus Night introduces new wines in June. The event is held in the Roman ruins in Vaison. +*--
Music at Bacchus Night
June is cycling season
Below: Some metal sculptures on the road to Nyons
A favorite lunch spot in Place Montfort Center: a lavender field southwest of Vaison
Below: one of the most popular markets in Provence is the Tuesday market in Vaison.
“Frozen” acting is a popular way to earn some money from tourists.
Seguret is 11 kms from Vaison.
Seguret is home to AnAmericanInProvence.com
Look for Gene Ciccolo
Gordes is 56 km from Vaison.
Below: through a window in the central building in Gordes
Gigondas is 16 km from Vaison
The merry-go-round and the statues on balcony are in Avignon. The water wheel is in Isle sur la Sorgue
Isle sur la Sorgue
Another open market.
A film starring Russell Crowe called A Year In Provence featured scenes in this town.
The Fontaine of Vaucluse
So much clear, cold water! (and a refreshing place for lunch after a morning of walking through the Sunday market in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue).
Yes, that fellow is dropping from the roof. Yes, the photographer caught the fellow in midfall. This was not a trick, just good timing with a fast camera.
The red clay of Roussillon is about 48 miles from Vaison. http://ladistance.fr/Roussillon/Vaison-la-Romaine
The adventures continue at Roadlovers.com.
A medieval city can be an inanimate place. Without people and lively commerce inside, it has no life. Vaison-la-Romaine lives in both past and present; a vibrant medieval town running on adrenaline, fine wine and plenty of eye candy. A perfect French Provence experience. It could be the prototype for the quintessential French Provençal town, a Peter Mayle “Year In Provence” tempered with modern amenities – picturesque, dynamic, lively and interesting. An ancient town that sits in a low basin along the Ouvèze River, Vaison includes the mandatory Haute Ville (upper town), a vast collection of beautifully preserved Roman ruins and an abundance of shops and cafés near the river. This is not a two-restaurant-one-souvenir-shop bump on the road. It’s not Avignon with its Nike shoe stores and hordes of tourists. Spend a little time here and you’re hooked for life. The town is divided by a river and connected by a Roman bridge. Follow the road up to the Haute Ville for a movie-set walk along cobblestone walkways so narrow that cars can’t linger without permission and pedestrians have to dance out of the way of the rare passing vehicle. Lace-curtained windows lined with shutters tease our curiosity. Massive wood doorways, flower waterfalls streaming down building sides, stone and bronze fountains and artist galleries with fine works at fair prices distract us from the business of taking photos. In the other direction are the newer sections of Vaison where strolling is serious
business. There’s an abundance of small shops and cafés where local residents greet visitors with smiles and small talk. A few streets are strictly for pedestrians, but even streets with traffic are easy to maneuver. The central plaza, lined with open cafés and more shops, has the added plus of free parking. This is the heart of the town, the place where the huge Tuesday Market begins its winding journey along the side streets. Tuesday market day is huge in Vaison-laRomaine, one of the best in this part of Provence. If the product is made in France, you’ll probably find it here, from local crafts, soaps, herbs, spices to cheeses and fabrics. It speaks well that there are as many locals as visitors exploring the goods. Four hours is barely enough time to experience the delicious food, touch the wood carvings, try on the artful clothing and question the antique dealers. Happily, there’s no difficulty finding a place to sit and enjoy some wine while watching the action. Other times, between market days, there’s a continuous parade of “fêtes” (festivals), including music, bonfires, wine tastings, boule matches and picnics. The family-owned Hostellerie Le Beffroi (3 stars in Michelin) in the center of the Haute Ville is our favorite, consisting of two adjacent mansions with spectacular views of the town below. History and atmosphere with modern comforts makes it a special place. The main building of Hostellerie Le Beffroi is about 400 years old, the second about 300. There’s modern plumbing and mini-fridges plus satellite TV. There’s even a swimming pool hidden behind a stone wall and huge wood doors that maintain the medieval theme. The hotel’s restaurant (La Fontaine) is as good as it looks, with an impressive garden courtyard for warm weather dining. Stars and candlelight are simply the icing to superbly prepared meals. But oh! that breakfast! It’s the stuff morning dreams in Provence are made of: a garden terrace with views of river and town, surrounded by greenery, echoing with birdsongs and distant early-morning village activity. Delicious French breads and cereal, coffee and hot
chocolate, and unobtrusive servers who leave you alone. Le-beffroi.com is the weblink. Vaison has an added advantage: a wondrously drivable location. Numerous historic cities, wineries and ruins are within 30 minutes by car, including the best Sunday market (L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue). The countryside drive explodes in a spectacular mix of colored quilts and stone buildings. It’s impossible not to stop the car every few minutes for a quick leap out and photos. Local villages are friendly and it’s easy to find outdoor cafés featuring authentic Provence dishes along with delicious coffee. Language is no barrier. Avignon is less than 40 miles away, enchanting Gordes even closer. Nearly every day in the summer season a different local village or town has its own public market. We made a game of picking a-market-a-day as part of our holiday. Then we realized that Vaison has so much that we no longer wanted to drive away, but rather just hang out, taking it all in and living the life most only read about in novels and travel magazines.
The route from Vaison to Gordes (about an hour of driving, 55 km).
Links and references: We include for your convenience some links and addresses of important features of Vaison-la-Romaine: 14 Rue de l'Évêché, 84110
Vaison-la-Romaine, France +33 4 90 36 13 46 http://eveche.free.fr/ -- La Fete en Provence (hotel), Place du Vieux marche, Haute Ville, 84110 Vaison-la-Romaine, France Here is a random review that we found on TripAdvisor: We stayed here the end of May with a group of 22 friends
and it was perfect as we had some of the apartments which were spacious and with great living rooms and patios made for perfect happy hours! The other rooms were very romantic and would be perfect for a getaway for two! Intimate and inviting. The location is wonderful and parking while not in a lot was easy enough to get. The only downfall is the internet service...if you need it. It was limited to the lobby (often closed) and the lobby's exterior terrace (fine if the whether is good)... A great area to spend time exploring at least 2 days are needed as there is much to see. We'd certainly go back if in the area. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g196687-d262179Reviews-La_Fete_en_Provence-Vaison_la_Romaine_Vaucluse_Provence.html Hostellerie
Beffoi Address: 2 Rue de l'Évêché, 84110 Vaison-la-Romaine, France
Some of my friends have never been to Provence. Where is the best place to start? In Vaison La Romaine. And where is a reliable place to stay? Hotel Beffroi the belfry
Phone:+33 4 90 36 04 71 http://www.le-beffroi.com/
-- serene breakfast area -- great food in the restaurant (I can eat it only once a week, it's so good) -- friendly staff (Hi, Lise and Natalie!) -- convenient to meet with the Association to Preserve the Haute Ville aphv.fr -- the hotel proprietor supports the Old Town association...
We recommend this hotel. We've visited in 1994, 1999, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2012. (This was our review that was posted on Trip Advisor) http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g196687d239776-Reviews-Hostellerie_le_Beffroi-Vaison_la_Romaine_Vaucluse_Provence.html We recommend Gene Ciccolo at www.anamericaninprovence.com Search: “American in Provence” on Youtube.
An American in Provence "Cooking Lessons with Gene Ciccolo ...
An American in Provence... a visit with Gene Ciccolo ... Seguret ... This is an interview with Gene Ciccolo $2500 per week per couple Visit AnAmericanInProvence DOT com ...
Kitchen Tour in Gene Ciccolo's Provence Tours and Relaxed ...
Vacations with Gene Ciccolo are relaxed and healthy. ... Tour inGene Ciccolo's Provence Tours and Relaxed "American in Provence" vacation.
An American in Provence
www.anamericaninprovence.com/ From his website:
My name is Gene Ciccolo. Ten years ago I moved to France and settled in Provence. As you might expect for an American now living in the south of France, ...
Join us in supporting the Association for the Protection of the Haute Ville (APHV). Website: aphv.fr You can subscribe to the free email service at the bottom of the web page. There’s a Facebook page and a youtube channel. Facebook.com/HauteVilleVaison Youtube.com/HauteVilleVaison
Net proceeds from the sale of this book are split evenly between APVH and Building International Bridges, an educational charity that promotes cultural communication. Learn more at BuildingInternationalBridges.org.
The adventures continue at RoadLovers.com See more photos at JKMcCrea.net.