February 26, 2009

Europe In 30 Days - Nyons and Vaison-la-Romaine

It's hard to imagine that it is January 12 and the weather in Provence is absolutely amazing. We are blessed with clear blue skies and just a little wind today. So where are we going today? Well we are ready to do just a little bit more driving then yesterday and since Nyons is only 5 miles away and then another 25 to Vaison-la-Romaine these places win our vote.

We discovered last night while looking through our books on Provence that Nyons has an outdoor market every Monday. Cool! So Nyons is our first stop of the day and we will pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables and than whatever else my little heart might desire. So off we go! We arrive in this quaint little square lined with cafe's, bakeries and shops, but we're not seeing a market. Stijn stops a man walking by and asks where the market is located. Well come to find out we are in France during a French Holiday and the market is not happening today. Rats!

Since we are in the center of the village we decide to take a walk around and do a little sightseeing. Of course there is this great intricate structure with the Virgin Mary overlooking Nyons and we must go see what that might be.

This leads us to another square, Place de la Liberation and from there we are walking on the Rue des Grands Forts that leads us into a web of cobbled alleyways, covered passages and steep stairways which is called "Calvery Path".

We make it to the top to see the Randonne Tower. The tower was built around 1280 and was used at the time as a military prison for the castle. In the 19th century it was converted into a chapel and renamed "Notre-Dame de Bon-Secours". This was well worth the climb!

Now off to Vaison-la-Romaine. There are 37 acres of excavated remains here of two Roman districts where exceptional ruins of the Roman period have been uncovered. However, because of the time of year we are here, they are not open to the public. Rats! So we head to the town's medieval quarter, "Haute Ville". I see another climb in store for today! Our purpose is because we can see the ruins of a castle which stands high above "Haute Ville". As we walk through cobblestone lanes and alleys, we stop to admire old photographs of people depicting an era gone by which have been reproduced and hung on the walls of buildings throughout the village.

One last cobbled stairway to climb...............

and we are at the top! Here we see the ruins of a castle built in the 12th century and that had been partly reconstructed in the 15th century.

Happy once again with our unexpected twists and turns of the day we sit and enjoy the view looking down on Vaison-la-Romaine thinking, we are two very lucky people.

You can see more pictures of our day at Wheres Debbie and click on the albums "Nyons" and "Vaison-la-Romaine".

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