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Vaison-La-Romaine

Days 11 & 12

Vaison-La-Romaine is 2,000 years old. It's in the Provence region of southern France in the Cotes-du-Rhone at the foot on Mont Ventoux. A river divides it into an upper and lower town. The upper town is older and that's where we stayed. Very unique and beautiful setting with cobblestone streets, ancient stone structures and an occasional archway or fountain. At the very top of the hill is the Chateau Comtal. Our hotel was up the steep hill, too steep for our bus so we had to walk up. It was called Hostellerie Le Beffroi. Loved it! It is two 16th century mansions that were joined together to make the hotel. We had a group dinner there the first night, Eggplant Papeton, Chicken Breast with Garlic Cream Sautéed Vegetables, and Fruit Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream. I also had a great pasta seafood dish at a nearby restaurant, Le Vieux Vaison. Good food and nice atmosphere. 

Our first full day here was all about Roman ruins and a Roman theater in Vaison and in the town of Orange. Then on our way to lunch and an afternoon of wine tasting, we stopped in the charming town of Seguret. After that, on to the Mourchon Winery.  More lessons on wine making and wine tasting. See it all below.

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If you like to explore Roman ruins, this is your place, as it is the largest archeological site in France. We saw the remains of old Roman mansions, where the rooms, including kitchens and parlors and bathrooms, are still visible and marked.  We toured the Gallo-Roman Archeological Museum and a Roman theater. So many beautiful statues and relics!

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Orange

In Orange, we toured another famous Roman theater and watched a VR presentation of what life was like all those years ago. This theater dates back to the 1st century in the times of Caesar Augustus. Even being so old, it's  known for its excellent acoustics. So interesting. I remember well how windy it was in Orange that day and it apparently happens a lot due to the location. I was constantly taken aback by how old everything was. Truly amazing that we can still observe these places today.

Seguret

Up on a hill, Seguret is on the list of one of the "plus beaux villages de France" and I can see why. Its name means "security" and it is enchanting.  Small shops and restaurants and intimate art galleries were settled in among the very old buildings. I can still smell the fresh bread that was baking in an old stone oven as we walked by. The baker offered us samples and we stood in the light rain to wait for it to finish baking because it smelled sooo good, and tasted great! We also came across a very friendly and chatty resident American. We were walking past the open front door of his home and he immediately came out and started telling us about how he came to visit from New York 30 years ago and never went back.  Again, I can see why. I loved this little place!

Mourchon Winery

Our hosts were very gracious here. They showed us the oak containers and concrete vats where the wine is aged and demoed how the giant wine tanks are cleaned. Someone crawls through the small door and does the cleaning on the inside. That was all well and good, but they went above and beyond and treated us to a wonderful lunch. They set up long tables with red tablecloths right next to the giant wine vats and barrels. We had a delicious meal. And our tour guide, William gave us all a laugh when he climbed into one of the vats himself. Great memory!