Laudun-L-Ardoise and Avignon – France

We woke up this morning to the sound of tractors delivering trailer loads of grapes to the winery. We called into the ‘Cave des Vignerons’ (cellar door sales) very nice and you could by wine in bulk from the vat at EUR 1.30 per litre into 5 ltr containers. As we still have 6-7 litres still to drink in our own cellar we decided to not to buy more and explore the town instead!
As fete had brought us to this town we decided to spend the morning exploring. Walking out from the Hymermobile we could see a hill above the town with a large statue. So up the hill we went through the streets passing by  a few shops and cafes picking up a map of the town and surrounding area.

Laudun-L-Ardoise France

We were taken by surprise by what followed. A manicured garden walk and stone staircases up the hill with the staircases leading us through old ruins to an ultra modern lookout overlooking the Rhone river and valley. The path continued up to the top of the hill where there was a small middle ages church and a large statue of Virgin and child.
At the pinnacle we sat on some old Roman stone blocks and admired the view.

The map showed an Arenes and a Roman aqueduct on the other side, so down we went. We were expecting a Roman ruin however the Arenes was a bull ring and was modernised and designed for bullfights.
We followed the map and continued on to the  Aqueduct de Balouviere. This was now along normal suburban type streets with houses. We got to the place and found a grassy area between the houses and a few stones and thought that this was all that was left of the aqueduct.
On the off chance we went a little further down the hill and were stunned by what we found. A complete Roman aqueduct coming from under the houses on one side, crossing the dry gully and disappearing under the houses on the other side!!

Aqueduct Balouviere at Laudun-L-Ardoise France

What a find, while not as enormous as the Aqueduct at Vers Pont Du Gard it was non the less very picturesque and we were the only people there!! We enjoyed this very much, with Steven walking over it. We pondering how people would have used this as a source of water, a walking bridge and then building suburban houses over the Aquaduct.
Back to the Hymermobile, a leisurely lunch, serviced the hymermobile before heading for Avignon 2:40pm.


After a couple of (exploratory) circles we arrived at the aires in Avignon at 3:10pm. There were no spaces but then as if on que a motorhome departed and we took the space. Just as we stopped the complementary bus arrived to take us to the walled city. What great timing!

It was only a kilometre or so to the city gate, but first we had to check out the docked Rhone river cruise boats for future reference.

We made our way into the city through a hole in the wall (not an English ATM but a real hole in the wall) and up to the papal palace. We had already walked a lot today so we treated ourselves to a ride on one of those little tourist road trains around the city. After the driver made a comment to the Americans behind us about how to say four in French.  Steven bought our tickets speaking only in French, I guess the driver figured we were not French when he smiled and told us the English commentary was on channel 2!!

Avignon – France

After the tour we found an outdoor cafe had a beer and coffee did some people watching. Eventually headed back toward the hymermobile. We checked out a geocache on the way, the gps would not work properly with all the building walls but Trish spotted some loose stones in an old excavated wall (the side of an old church) and found it!! This brought us to a church which we don’t know the name of yet. We have seen a lot of churches and cathedrals all with different wow factors (some with none) This Church had the usual old stone walls on the outside but when we went in the atmosphere was, well perhaps more of a real church and not a tourist attraction. The chapels were wonderful and ornate with large oil paintings and stained glass windows. Trish particularly liked this church and sat to watch a short Adoration service taken by one of the Priests.

Avignon – France

We found our way out  through another hole in the city wall, and across the bridge over the Rhone river (did not find the cache here) and back to the hymermobile at about 7pm.
Out with the table and chairs, dinner under the stars, with the moon rising, along with the glow of orange street lights (this is a car park after all!!) tuned in the phone to ABC Darwin radio and had dinner. outside temp about 25deg.

Note, Steven bought a French SFR sim card for his phone with unlimited internet access. Turns out it is useless for internet access, useless for email but it does allow internet radio!! Worth the EUR 15 just to listen to Darwin radio in the evening and as we drive along!!

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