Russia 2006 Journey Day Six
Montpellier, France

                                    [19 July, 2006] It was "Tour d' Grand", or just a really full day of sights.  The day started with a early tour of the 
                                     Montpellier's antiquities - walk to the Arc d' Triumphe and ancient water aqueduct.  
                                     Just east was Nimes, home of an early Roman temple and a smaller coliseum compared to Rome.  During the past 
                                     2,000 years, the multi columned temple has converted to several functions including a monastery, apartments, and
                                     city commerce building.  Use as city hall most probably enabled it to survive destruction.  Also, Nimes helped the 
                                     Levi Strauss company - the city is the original home to fabric "d' Nime", or denim as we now call it.  
                                     The route left the busy city to the countryside roads with the destination being the infamous wine village of 
                                     Château du Pape.  The area is home of the Rhone river valley red wines.  A four story facade of a remaining
                                     chateau wall is perched high on an mound overlooking the vast valley of vineyards.  Mile after mile is the 
                                     sign banners of famous labeled wines.  We're not sure how anyone could plow the rocky soil.
                                     Next stop was the lavender field.  Located east of Avignon is a "national parc" with the quintessential winding
                                     road curving through the stone mountains.  Within one of the valleys is the Abbaye de Senanque, known for the 
                                     lavender fields surrounding the Abbey.  The monks harvest the lavender for oils, sachets, and honey.  Appears
                                     that timing was perfect since harvest time is the following week. 
                                     One of the "most beautiful villages" (according to the French literature) was located a few kilometers south of 
                                     Abbey.  The village of Gordes is carved into the top of a mountain ledge providing a commanding view of the 
                                     valley below.  With the clear skies, it was easy to see 100s of kilometer in each direction.  The village architecture
                                     was buildings comprised of small light brown store.  
                                     Heading from Gordes to Avignon are the bands of vineyards, sunflowers, lavender, and hay fields.  It was finally
                                     time to return the rental car at the new TGV station.  The Citreon served us well and remnants of beach sand
                                     and baguette crumbs were awaiting cleaning.  After a quick bus ride to the city centre, plans were changed from
                                     the overnight train to a Avignon hotel.  Once checked in, it was time breach the ramparts (surrounds the entire
                                     inner city) and enjoy yet another dinner al fresco.   It was short stroll down to the Palace of "the other Pope" (When
                                     France had their own Pope while Italy had their Pope).  The Palace was engulfed in light with an assortment of 
                                     entertainments in the foreground plaza. 
                                     Based on the full day, it was officially time to retire at the hotel and hope for a cooler day tomorrow.
                                                        Montpellier Inner Streets        Montpellier Inner Streets            
                                                                                                                                          Montpellier City Scenes 
                                                                                                                                            Nimes City Scenes 


                                                                                                                                            Pont du Gard  Scenes 


                                                                                                                                Abbaye de Senanque Scenes 
                                                                                                                                Gordes and the entry roads 
                                                                                                                                               Avignon at night 

Lobby Return                                                      Created with Fusion 8.0     Last Updated on July 16,  2006, CE