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Old May 15, 17, 5:32 am   #46
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Looks like a great vacation, offerendum, with some great weather, cool hotels and some very tasty looking food.

I would be very interested to know what the difference is between 2 and 3 stars. Very amazing and very very amazing?
Thanks a lot

That´s a very hard point. The difference for me is, that in a 3 star it´s all a notch over perfect. So very amazing and very very amazing is a good description. Perhaps also an one of a Kind dish could be a good benchmark.
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Old May 15, 17, 2:30 pm   #47
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Senanque

This is the story of a moron on tour. Or better an unprepared moron or one who got the information but forgot the essentials.
OK, from the beginning. This is about Senanque, the second of the tree sisters of important cistercian abbeys. First when I visited Gordes I was wise enough to check (hard, as no good mobile internet in Gordes) if Senanque takes an break during lunchtime. Of course they do! So we visited Vaucluse first.
After the visit we arrived at the upper parking-space of Senanque. The view on the abbey is great, what a start!


After a few hundred metres we reached the main parking-lot and took some pictures of the abbey. Many will know the pictures with the blooming lavender in front, but it´s was too early in the year for it.



We entered the abbey to buy tickets. First I learned, that it´s only possible to visit the still by monks occupied abbey without guided tour until 11:00. After lunchtime you have to do a one hour guided tour. OK, not so good. Second I learned, that the tour starts at 14:30, 15:30, 16:30 and 17:00. It was 14:35, we were still able to see the 14:30 tour but not allowed to attend. So we had to wait nearly one hour. Nasty! But not enough, the tour was only offered in French, a language I absolutely don´t understand. Aaaaah! In this moment I could have beat and kick myself. To make it short after one wasted hour we attended a tour with one hour talking we didn´t understand. Mostly a boring event.
First we got an introduction, around 15 minutes talking. At least I could sit. After it we went to the dormitory.



Another 20 minutes or so explanations....... Next came the church and as you have to be silent in a church no explanations and we left relative fast.




After it we went to the cloister and got........ facts about it I guess.



There came a lot of explanations about the warm room



and chapter house.


We stayed in the cloister and after what felt like another eternity we survived!
OK, I didn´t prepare myself properly, I should have visit Senanque first this day. My own fault. Beside my own stupidity Senanque is without question beautiful and worth a visit.
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Old May 15, 17, 3:15 pm   #48
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The problem with Sénanque is that there is now a resident community, unlike the other two Cistercian abbeys. The restrictions you encountered are comparatively recent.

I hope you make it to Le Thoronet. While not as beautiful as Sénanque, nor as isolated and primitive as Silvacane, it is much more interesting, especially from the point of view of acoustics. Try humming quietly in the church, and hear the building amplify the sound hugely. Then try singing (not too loudly) and see what that does. Then imagine three dozen monks all chanting together and massaging themselves with the music. It's all to do with the proportions between height and width, and the materials used. The stone used at Le Thoronet is faintly pink because of the bauxite (aluminium) in the local rocks. I love this place. (NB: It also closes at lunchtime, like most other French places you can visit.)
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Old May 15, 17, 3:19 pm   #49
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The problem with Sénanque is that there is now a resident community, unlike the other two Cistercian abbeys. The restrictions you encountered are comparatively recent.

I hope you make it to Le Thoronet. While not as beautiful as Sénanque, nor as isolated and primitive as Silvacane, it is much more interesting, especially from the point of view of acoustics. Try humming quietly in the church, and hear the building amplify the sound hugely. Then try singing (not too loudly) and see what that does. Then imagine three dozen monks all chanting together and massaging themselves with the music. It's all to do with the proportions between height and width, and the materials used. The stone used at Le Thoronet is faintly pink because of the bauxite (aluminium) in the local rocks. I love this place. (NB: It also closes at lunchtime, like most other French places you can visit.)
Not sure if it´s a problem but it doesn´t make it more easy.....

Stay tuned, perhaps Le Thoronet is coming one day
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Old May 15, 17, 5:17 pm   #50
  
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Ahhh, yes. Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senaque (what about the lavender? Not in season, I suppose.), the hill town of Gordes, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, and Roussillon! They bring back great memories.

I parked in the same parking lot as you did at Gordes!

Thanks for rating the various “starred” establishments. Save me some future research time.

Great report, enjoyed it so far.
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Old May 16, 17, 1:38 am   #51
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Ahhh, yes. Abbaye Notre-Dame de Senaque (what about the lavender? Not in season, I suppose.), the hill town of Gordes, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, and Roussillon! They bring back great memories.

I parked in the same parking lot as you did at Gordes!

Thanks for rating the various “starred” establishments. Save me some future research time.

Great report, enjoyed it so far.
Thanks! Yes, wasn´t lavender-season in April. 7 starred restaurants are still coming
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Old May 16, 17, 12:17 pm   #52
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Le Vivier - L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

Before I went to Provence I did of course read reviews. One restaurant was named as “outstanding” (was even mentioned positive in this thread by others). Le Vivier in Sur la Sorgue. I had a look at the internet and found it interesting. Even if it was a one hour drive from our hotel I decided to book. 3 course menu was with 55,00 € inexpensive, so I thought it would be no real risk.
When we arrived at the restaurant the 3 parking spaces or so were already occupied and we started a search. After a while and unsuccessful attempts I decided to park at a motel, not sure if it was allowed. I got the impression it´s connected with the restaurant, which lies in an unattractive functional building with shops.
When we entered the restaurant we were positively surprised. The whole restaurant is furnished with Kartell furniture and accessories, a brand my company loves.



You can like it or not, she would have liked to take everything. I found it stylish.
The meal started with an Amuse Bouche.


When I saw it, I was surprised. I had told them that we don´t eat meat, but it was ham on it. I removed it, so not the biggest problem. The Mozzarella-foam tasted OK. I would call it solid.
For the first course I ordered Fresh morels, asparagus, pink schrimps and lapsang souchon sabayon. It sounded great and they charged 10,00 € surcharge.

When I tried it I was shocked. First I found something like bacon-pieces in my food. The roasted cheese or whatever it was tasted of pork fat. The morels and asparagus were OK. Even if I waive the meat-problem not a good dish.
My company ordered Open ravioli of haddock and mussels, apple and celeriac.


My company thought it tasted strange. I tried and had rubbery pure white fat in my mouth. Even the rest tasted terrible and if I now look on the picture, the dish barely meets the requirements of an appealing meal.
Our main-course was roast scallop, watercress, ginger and cauliflower,


OK, no meat this time, but the dish was underwhelming. Worst thing was the sauce which simply didn´t match and had an unpleasant taste. The other components were also underwhelming. To be fair the scallops were good prepared. Not good!
As desert my company had the selection of chocolate dessert.


It was tasty and good, I would say on the level of a good restaurant. I had the apple, pistachio and matcha-tea combination.


Not bad at all and solid.
Last: Petit fours:


What a meal! Who gave this restaurant a star? It was without joking one of the worst meals I ever had in a starred restaurant, nothing was even near the expected level. This restaurant should be avoid at all costs, to add the icing on the cake we were both ill after our visit and I get still sick when I remember.
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Old May 17, 17, 11:56 am   #53
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Pont du Gard

I guess one of the most famous landmarks of the region is Pont du Gard. We arrived at the parking-lot and had to pay 8,50 € per person for the basis-package.
After a few steps we saw the aqueduct for the first time.



It´s quite impressive and if you walk over it you can explore many beautiful details and views:






View from the other side:


We had also access to the museum, but didn´t find it during our first attempt. No signs..... So we skipped it as we had a full program for the day.
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Old May 18, 17, 2:30 pm   #54
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Nimes

Nimes offers many sights, especially if you are interested in antique monuments. We visited on a sunday so nearly everything was closed. Here some impressions:
Palais de Justice:



The new Roman Museum (not open yet):


Eglise Saint-Paul (closed):


Museum of contemporary art:


Cathedral (closed):


Place de´l Horloge


Chappelle Sainte Eugénie (closed):
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Old May 18, 17, 2:45 pm   #55
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Arenes Nimes

The arenes are one of the 2 important monuments in Arles. They misuse it for bullfights (always pro bull). There is also a museum about this kinkiness, of course I didn´t visit.
The arenes are impressive from outside:



They are in a good state, you don´t see that it was used as fortress, knight´s castle and residental area for 2000 (!!!) people with church.


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Old May 18, 17, 2:51 pm   #56
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Maisson Carrée Nimes

Maisson Carrée is a former temple which was buils 20 – 12 b.c. It was used as church, horse stable and archive over the years. From outside it is stunning, inside it´s unspectacular. It´s a simple room in which they show a film about Nimes history.



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Old May 18, 17, 2:59 pm   #57
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Maison Villaret Nimes

In Nimes we found Maison Villaret, a boulangerie which was founded in 1775.



They offer nice cakes and sweets:





It´s perfect for a short rest, the cafe itself is relative simple. The pastries are of good quality (the strawberry-pastrie was much better than it looks on the picture).
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Old May 20, 17, 10:19 am   #58
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Aigues-Mortes

Aigues-Mortes is a town in Camrge which is well known for its intact city-wall from the middle age. It´s 567 x 497 x 301 x 269 metres long.
We arrived on the parking lot and first enjoyed the view over the surroundings. Unfortunately we didn´t see any flamingos which lives there.



The walls are impressive, later we drove around it.





The city itself is nice with many interesting houses but also crowded with tourists. Nevertheless you can find some good boutiques, but also tourist-traps.






Place St. Louis:


Notre-Dame-des-Sablons with windows by Claude Viallat:




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Old May 21, 17, 7:00 am   #59
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Saint Gilles

On the way „home“ I decided to do a stop at Saint Gilles. The village itself was practical dead but my aim was the abbey. The porch is part of UNESCO world heritage. When I arrived I saw this:


Great! Perhaps in one or two years.....
Of course the church was closed, so I could only visit Vis de Saint-Gilles behind the church. It´s the old choir of the church which was destroyed in the 17th century.





Also not really accessible and a construction site. So not the most successful visit.
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Old May 21, 17, 7:51 am   #60
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Hostellerie de la Reine Jeanne, Les Baux

No starred cuisine today. We decided to do something “simple” today and opted for Hostellerie de la Reine Jeanne in Les Baux. It was recommended in our travel-guide as good and affordable option.
The restaurant is located at the entrance of old town. It is furnished a little bit old-fashioned but offers stunning views (sorry for picture-quality, the sun was very strong):



The menu is relative small and only available in French. We opted for pasta with gambas and Meagre with vegetables and risotto.



Both were solid dishes which tasted well. The price was with under 50 € with drinks for 2 people in this region OK. I can recommend it if you like to have a fast and tasty meal.
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