Saturday morning we left Venice early. Our Easy Jet flight from Venice to Lyon left at 7:55 am but we left the hotel at 5:30 am. The Marco Polo Airport outside of Venice is very nice and pretty new. We lucked out, the Easy Jet flight wasn't full and it was a sunny day, so we had good views during the flight. Lyon is a fairly small airport, 10 or so miles out of town. It has a brand new fancy train station attached, so all we had to do was pick up our luggage and walk over to catch our train. We had a couple of hours to kill, but that was OK. The train south was very crowded, but we had reserved seats, so we got into Avignon on time about 1:30 pm.
The car rental started out as bit of a pain. We used AutoEurope and they booked us a couple of cars with National/Citer. Since we'd arrived at the old downtown train station we had to take a taxi out to the airport to pick up our cars. It turns out that the Avignon airport is a small regional airport and was closed when we arrived. We found a phone number (boy am I glad my smart phone worked well during our trip) and called their main office. Then we had to wait about an 1.5 hours for the agent to drive out with our keys. I really wish we'd been told just to go to the Avignon TGV train station where they have an office that's open all day. But once we got on the road, things went pretty well. We followed the instructions, more or less and found our way north to Venesque where we'd rented the 2 connected houses. (http://www.yourownfrenchhome.com/homes/otherhomes/monette.htm thanks Elizabeth for all your help). Boy was the view from up on top amazing. Here are a couple of pics I took from the parking lot.
Tue we had a late start. It's a bit hard to get this big of a group all headed in the same direction :-). But we took both cars and drove through Gordes. Cute town that has been totally rebuilt. Then we went to a nearby Abbe and wandered around for a while. Then we drove over to Rousillion for lunch and to check out the Ocher mine. The colors of the soil was pretty amazing to see. It's been used as a pigment for centuries.
The road was a bit stressful. Lots an lots of switchback, no shoulders and idiots on bikes.
Thur was another mostly quiet day. Went for a walk around the village in the morning. The village used to be surrounded by small terraced private gardens. There are a few being maintained but most are very over grown. We found a lot of squash and fruit trees that were growing mostly wild. And a few old ruined houses built under the limestone overhangs.
Then we decided to head toward Mount Ventoux. We stopped in a small town for a great lunch, but then decided to split up. Lowry took the folks wanting to go up the mountain and I drove the group going to visit a couple of wineries :-).
Saturday I stayed home in the morning and did some laundry, etc. Then we went to lunch over in St. Didier and walked around Le Beaucet looking for Penny and Val. Le Beaucet is an old medieval village. The older houses are build under the cliff, very interesting to see.
Late Sunday morning the rain let up and we decided to drive up to Chateauneuf du Pape for lunch. It was still overcast and we got there late so almost everything was closed. It was also the first day anyone felt cold. After lunch we went into Orange to see the Roman Theater (very interesting) and a Roman Arch. Then it was time to head home and get everything cleaned up and packed.