Pont du Gard, the Roman Aqueduct
We were trying to get a feel for the entire country in a month . . . an impossible feat, but we didn't know it then. Any experience in France must include Provence so we left our campground and headed east to Grasse in Provence.
The Roman Arena in Arles
This was our first experience on the AutoRoute of France as we had been avoiding it because of the tolls. Today we wanted to get to Grasse quickly so decided to use the AutoRoute. It's an excellent highway but they drive very fast! We zipped along, stopping in Arles for lunch and some sightseeing. We fell in love with Arles and have returned many times. There is history, scenery, friendly townspeople and great shopping. I always plan to do major gift shopping in Arles.
The Molinard Perfumerie in Grasse
We arrived in Grasse on Bastille Day weekend and a warning light went on in the car. We took a wrong turn, fortunately, and ended up in a gas station. Ed opened the hood and discovered our oil cap completely gone and oil covering the engine . . . and dripping onto the very clean pavement of the station. The people at the station were very nice, even telephoning the Peugeot 24-hour assistance line and telling them the problem. I was still looking for the word for oil cap in my dictionary. Within 30 minutes, the man from Peugeot arrived with a new oil cap and several liters of oil. He fixed everything, cleaned up the engine and we were on our way. Good experience with Peugeot and we've used them ever since.
We splurged and spent a night at a pension run by an order of nuns. It was up on a hill and you could see all the way to the Mediterranean. We ate with the nuns and other guests. It was the priest's birthday so we joined the celebration. One of the waitresses spoke a bit of English so we knew what was happening. The birthday cake would have been a good hint though.
The Fragonard Perfume Museum
The next morning we visited the marvelous street market in Grasse and then the Fragonard perfume factory to which I have become addicted. It is another great place for gifts. There is expensive perfume but there are lots of inexpensive soaps and novelty items too.
We had a week at a timeshare in Jausiers in the French Alps and so left Grasse to head up into the mountains. The scenery that had been lovely became spectacular.
The Mercantour National Park
We easily found Jausiers and spent a wonderful dry week there visiting the Mercantour National Park, the Italian Alps, the Citadelle in Sisteron, the Penitants at Les Mées, taking long walks along the Ubaye River beside our timeshare and finally had to leave this idyllic place. Great week!
This is a very old photo but I love it. The Mercantour is an amazing place. You see all kinds of wildflowers, strange little animals, stunning vistas and even charming villages. Highly recommended.