France #6: market day & Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

Tuesday, Oct. 29th. 

Our adventures from the day before suggested a good day for a quieter day, esp. since Tuesdays are “market” days in Gordes. We poked around the market, where one could buy foodstuffs (roasted nuts, olives, cheese, salamis, fruit, mushrooms), handicrafts (olive wood cutting boards, soaps, etc.), clothes, and loads of lavender. 

The famous bakery expedition! They all look pleased with themselves. 

Fun to explore and a great day for some pictures- just above the house we were staying in.

The market provided the makings of a fantastic lunch, which we ate on our back patio.

Featuring french cheese, figs, pears, good baguettes, a quiche, olives, almonds, pear juice, and more. 

After a nap, we loaded up to go the Fountaine de Vaucluse- a spring that pops out of a mountain side as a full river. This has apparently been a tourist destination for more than a a very long time. At this point, touristy for sure, but also impressive- this was a lot of water coming out of the karst aquifer! A site of ritual, ceremony, caves that hid resistance fighters in WWII, a site of tourists- this is definitely an area steeped in history. 

Truly impressive escarpment above the spring. This spring drains 1,100 square kilometers (420 square miles). Coins found in the spring date back to the 1st century. 

Looking up from the springs

Looking down into the springs 

The water levels were low compared to the gauges, but still significant. The right picture (below) shows a gauge with how high the water can get. 

There was a cave above the path on the way down. 
Somehow, our crew needed to explore. Graffiti in the cave from the 1800s. 

The river down below- an impressive amount of water even though the spring was low.

Cool short hike to a ruined castle on the hillside above the fountain area- incredible views and a serious temptation to just… hike…. a little… farther into the back country above the fountain. We didn’t but have been struck by how much exploration one could do-- via bike, mountain bike, hiking, and climbing-- in this area. The via ferrata gave us a bit of a glimpse, but this area is truly immense and apparently lightly populated just beyond the ice cream shops and creperies. Buy a post card, climb a mountain?

 View from the top of the (crumbling) castle walls... a 360 panorama.

Some attempt at getting all four of us in... 

Some other photos of the day... fall came to southern france even as we were there. 

Interesting "tourist" road home- 1 car wide again on a 2 way road. Home for leftover baguettes turned into pizzas and another dip in the hot tub.