Uzes, Avignon & Pont du Gard France –
We were up early and away from Millau after a breakfast. The route took on to a high plateau and then down into some beautiful and isolated valleys at the head of the Hearalt River and the land of sheep cheese including the famous blue Roquefort. The drive was stunning and very mountainous.
We stopped in Uzes for lunch – as it was a Saturday and market day the traffic was insane and parking proved a challenge. Uzes is a nice old medieval town in the Gard depatment of the Languedoc region, it was once a samll Gallo-Roman administritive settlement. The 11th century Tour Fenestrelle stands guard over the town and the most famous icon of the city. A pretty town with a lively town square Uzes is well worth a visit.
We ate in the town square – nicoise salad (good) and then back into the car and onto Pont du Gard. It was my second time to Pont du Gard however it was just as impressive as the first time although a lot busier and I think more expensive.The Pont was built by the Romans in 1AD to channel water 50km from a spring near Uzes to Nimes. Much of the aqueduct is underground with the Pont spanning the Gardon River. The pont is the highest aqueduct the Romans built, one of the best preserved in the world and is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Mistral, a wind that comes from the alpes down the Rhone Valley, was blowing gale making the day a little less enjoyable than it should have been.
Then onto Avignon where we spent the night at the ever reliable Hotel Mignon in the heart of the old city. While at the budget end of the accommodation scale and the rooms small Mignon is clean, comfortable and ideally located for exploring the city. With the Mistral winds increasing our plans to eat at one of the many restaurants in the town square were dashed and we ate a fairly normal French meal inside before trotting off to bed.
In the morning we visited the Popes Palace a huge edifice built over several hundred years by a succession of popes. Avignon is a walled city in the Vauclause department of the Provence-Alpes-Maritime Region and is most famous for the Palace of the Popes during the 12th century where after a schism with Rome, a second pope established a papal stronghold. Read more about Avignon and the Popes Palace here.
As for Menton – well its just a big French seaside town with a bit of an Italian feel (it is right on the border) the only reason we were there was to drop off the car and catch the train to Italy. I’ve never really understood why the Cote d’Azur / French Riviera is so popular stone beaches, dusty interior and so busy…Then it was back to the car and on the motorway to Menton a French beach side town on the Italian border. In Menton we stayed at Hotel Lemon, another budget option that was excellent and ate at steak at a nearby restaurant.
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