On our way back to Marseille from the Southern Rhone region, we decided to stop in Gordes (a medieval town). But just before we made our way into the town, we stopped at the “Village des Bories” about 1.5km west of Gordes. Village des Bories is made up of about 20 stone huts that go back to the 18th century. What’s impressive about the huts is that limestone and a hammer were the only items utilized to construct them (no mortar). It was pretty wild to stand inside one of these huts and think that somehow the stones held in position for over 200 years!
We then headed for Gordes, which like numerous other medieval towns in Provence, is perched up on a huge rock (this was strategic in its prime and remains beautiful to this day). In the center of town is a huge castle that was built in the 11th century (and rebuilt in the 16th), and little streets emanate from this point in all directions. We walked around for a bit and snapped photos of this old town and the picturesque views of valleys down below peppered with olive orchards, lavender fields and vineyards.
From there we hit the highway and zipped down to Marseille ( at 80 mph – the speed limit here!), to join our friends Laetitia and Loic for lunch before heading to their country home in Toulon (for another relaxing weekend). We’ve gotten really used to life here in Provence and its simple pleasures (the ever present nature, the Mediterranean, rosé wines, steamed mussels on a bi-weekly basis, and even the snap crackle and popping of the cicadas). The next day was filled with exactly these simple pleasures (plus hanging at the pool), and in the afternoon we made our way to the nearby village of Le Castellet. This medieval village eluded us last week while roaming around Bandol’s wine country (and it’s definitely a can’t miss spot). Artisanal, ornate and quaint are apt descriptions of this gorgeous little place. Brigitte was camera trigger happy and must’ve taken over 100 shots (although about 30 of them were dedicated to her door knockers series – more to come on this later). Although Le Castellet was full of tourists, it was also the site for a local wedding that day (in the town center) which added a fine touch of authenticity and a look at real tradition in the Provencal village.
The next day we finally got to visit Toulon’s city center and port. Laetitia and Adrien took us around the narrower streets of the old city, passing by beautiful fountains, churches and squares. We then made our way to Cours Lafayette which is a broad street that is home to a huge market each Sunday (as the case was today). Everything looked and smelled so fresh, although we didn’t pick out anything substantial aside from a green pepper (which I craved – peppers in the US just don’t taste the same as the ones in Europe).
We ended our tour of Toulon at a waterfront cafe getting some drinks to cool down on another hot day in Provence.