Another hot day. Off before 9:00 am, over to Cavaillon, across the Durance River, along the marvellous plane-tree shaded roads to St. Remy - birthplace of Nostradamus - and beyond.
I hadn't told our companions much about today's excursion until I pulled off to the right at the Roman monuments outside Glanum (parking €2). When we were here four years ago, we admired the Roman arch & mausoleum and were about to enter the main site across the road - but it was closing.
"How was it?" I asked a guy making his way out of the Roman archaeological site.
"Not bad," he replied, "really, just a bunch of stones. But that place was pretty interesting," indicating a cluster of buildings on the left, with an entrance about a hundred yards away. With no additional information, we entered the world of Vincent Van Gogh and the hospital where he lived for a year shortly before his suicide in July 1890. I have never forgotten that experience, and tried to re-create it for our friends.
"Does anybody have any idea where we're going?" I asked.
"Looks like a hospital." somebody said.
"Why are we going here?"
"Does it have anything to do with Van Gogh? There are copies of some of his paintings in front of this grove of olives. Hey, the grove looks like his painting!"
I like visiting Saint Paul-de-Mausole. I have likely never had an original artistic impulse in my life, but I think I can better understand and appreciate the talent and torment that enveloped the short life of Vincent Van Gogh by seeing his hospital room and walking around the grounds where he spent a major portion of his productive life.
We passed on Glanum. Maybe it's of interest to some, but not to us.
Off to Les Baux, where we encountered our first large crowds of our time in the south of France. Another hit with the group - a couple of hours on top of the rock outcropping, followed by some SHOPPING!
As we were handing back our audio guides, one of the group asked about getting une pression - some French words are easy to learn for some reason. I suggested we drive over to Maussane-les-Alpilles, a few kilometers down the road and enjoy a relaxing glass of draft beer on a square under a canopy of plane trees. The most attractive young woman collecting the audio guides said, "Une bonne idée!" And off we went.
Back home in the late afternoon, after stopping at the Auchan supermarket in Cavaillon, our local supermarket on our previous visits to the Luberon, for "Happy Hour(s)" and an excellent meal prepared by one of our own.