There are many Roman ruins in the area. The arena in Arles, the bridge near Nimes and the theater in Orange. We decided to visit Orange since it would give us the opportunity to also visit the Rhone area. I love Rhone wines. We might even be able to see the Pays de Ventoux area.
It is another late start to the day. I think the driving bothers my hips. I am sore and I slept poorly. I also have a cold since we left Menton and has now G caught it.
We head out towards Murs. The forest is low shrub oak. It looks so similar to the oak forest around Radda in Chianti Italy. The road narrows and winds over a pass. It feels remote and isolated. After crossing the pass, we drop down and pass the small village of Venasque. My good friend R rented an house in Venasque in July and it looks charming. We continue on and soon we are in the busy industrial Rhone area of Carpentras. The terrain has flattened. Outside of the city, the countryside is mostly acres of vineyards.
We reach Orange around noon. Parking is very easy although we struggled for awhile to figure out the machine in the lot. I thought I had to put in my license number but it turns out all I needed to do is feed some coins. The sun is stark and bright but the wind is blowing hard. I wonder if this is a mistral since it is coming from the north.
The Theater is amazing especially the fact that it has lasted 2000 years and avoided destruction by the many changing hordes and rules. We are a bit disappointed by the stark white screen that is in the middle of the ancient stage ruining the full impact of the theater. They have setup the screen to show the Rugby world cup and they have left it on the stage until the final game which is still several weeks away. It makes it very difficult to image what it was like in the Roman days.
We originally were going to go to the Châteauneuf-du-Pape area but we are running late. It is already after noon so we pickup a couple of sandwiches at the boulangerie across from the theater and head for the Côtes du Rhône area instead. Rhone is my favorite red and I wanted to see the small villages that make up the Côtes du Rhône village appellation. I wanted to see the region with the villages that I had only seen on a wine label; Cairanne, Rasteau, Sablet. I don’t know what I expected but it seemed to be different. The valley was covered with wines and you could see the church steeple of each of the villages in the distance. I knew nothing of the different villages and we pulled off near Séguret to eat our sandwiches. We decide to explore the town. What a fortunate decision. It has become one of my favorite villages. We stroll the charming streets and are enchanted by its location overlooking the vineyards.
On to Gigondas where we stop for a tasting at the La Cave de Gigondas. It is a local cooperative. The wines are wonderful and we purchase an bottle of old vines from 1999. We also like the bottled while you wait - 'wine in a box' you can get from the wine fountain at the Cave. We head back towards the Dentalles and Suzette. Unfortunately, the glare from the late afternoon sun ruin the view of the peaks. We retrace our way back to Carpenteras and end up in the 5pm after school traffic jam. It is interesting to see the mothers rushing around after work to pick up their kids.