Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Roman ruins

Vaison la Romaine has some of the largest Roman ruins in France (The largest according to this website). They are mainly scattered over two sites called Puymin and La Villasse. Puymin is the biggest one also spanning the Roman theatre. La Villasse is smaller but just as awesome as Puymin I think. It is unclear to me at this time which parts had to be dug up and which parts have always been visible.

I have made a lot of photos and maybe it's best to let your imagination guide you :-)

From the Puymin area.

I imagine this was some Roman dude's garden or courtyard. In the back there are two spaces with statues.

Here's a replaced statue of Sabina. She was Hadrian's wife, his statue is further to the right and he was a Roman emperor. The real status are too valuable to leave outside and are on display in the museum. Scroll down for pictures of those real statues.

The size of these two sites is already incredible but here you can clearly see that it extends all the way under the modern town.

Romans walked here. A few thousand years ago. Un-real.

I didn't want to do the audio tour, it was too hot and I couldn't be arsed. Because of this I don't really know what I'm looking at but seriously, you didn't wanna hang around in the sun long enough to find out...

So I just phographed everything to take it all in later. So what are these slabs for? Construction parts? A puzzle for giants? Who knows? But Romans made them and at some point something happened that made the maker leave them here...

Inside the little museum (on the Puymin site) you can find the real statues.

This is Sabina.

And here's Hadrian.

Aren't they they cute! ;-)

The roman's made horse shoes from metal, too. But they made them like real shoe-shoes. Funny, but advanced!

It was hard to see how all the ruins related to eachother.

Even telling indoors from outdoors was difficult, if not impossible. To me anyway.

Ah, at last! Something that I can immediately relate to! A Roman toilet. That must've been cold in the winter!

This looked like a cooking area. There is a little "stove" in the back.

Uh, swimming pool?

I got to the theatre finally. The Frenchies really need to also write their signs in English as well :-( I have no clue now and I was really curious to find out everything about this theatre...

It was remarkably intact. Some seats were fixed with wood because the theatre is in use again these days.

Roman or not?

Then I went to the other Roman site called La Villasse. Here you get a sense of the lay-out. Immediately you're on an old shopping street with paved road for carts and a side walk. Romans walked here, too, about 2000 years ago!

Paved for carts.

This was one room of the public bath in La Villasse. I keep wondering if it was excavated like this or if if was above ground or if it was rebuild...

Hey! Another one! ;-) I can totally see myself sitting there, having a nice smelly chat with my neighbour. Maybe they played games guessing what they had for dinner the day before...

The side walk.

Looks like there is more to be uncovered.

Another sign in French only. Grrrr! Apparently this was someone's villa.

And that concluded my visit to the two Roman sites. INcredibly fun if you like discovering these kinds of things.

Back at the camping I found one of these little guys on the ground. Its wings were completely see-through, fantastic! I thought it was dead but when I gently poked it it tried flying away at which it succeeded at the third attempt.

In the evening we went out for dinner in the medieval part of town. it was a very nice evening.

Walking back to the car.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The show

We didn't do much today apart from a little trip in to town.

Nice little streets but not enough nice shops for the girls so the visit was pretty short...

In the evening we hung around in the bar area a bit with some other nice folks we met. There was a show for kids. Yeah right. Full on drags haha. Was fun though!

"I think this is not really a lady" we heard one of the kids say... ;-)

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Today we drove to Avignon. It was a nice drive.

Avignon is a lovely city. Old, too.

The theatre festival was on. Lots of theatre troups were advertising their shows on the streets which was fun.

Unfortunately they also covered the whole inner city with their bloody posters...

(Image from Wikipedia)
One of the things I wanted to see myself, was the Palais des Papes. Several popes lived here for a while after one of them decided to move out of Rome because it got a bit too violent there.

It's HUGE.

(Image from Wikipedia)
I forgot to make this photo myself so I am borrowing this from the Wikipedia site.  This is the main entrance. It gives a bit of perspective on its size. Now look at the previous picture again.

The castle looks very impressive from the outside. It's a beautyful building.

It's kept incredibly tidy. Everything is manucured. Almost down to a sterile level. Once that gets to you, you start to realise that you're not gonna be able to get in touch with history, if you know what I mean?

Beatiful little views, great for making pictures. But all the rooms were empty and crispy clean.

It's big. Very big.

We were there! :-)

One thing I always love about castles are the window seats carved out of stone. It's one of the very few places where you can somehow imagine being one of the inhabitants and how the people living here in those days could've felt.

Look, a pope!

All in all we were all a bit dissapointed because of the emptiness of the castle but oh well...

(More on the bridge at its Wikipedia page)
Next stop was the Pont de Avignon, also know as "Pont Saint-Bénézet". I was very curious to find out what the deal is with this bridge that ends halfway in the water!

There is a little chapel on the first pillar in the water. This was build for the founder of the bridge who was made a Saint for dubious reasons in those days...

The chapel.

You can walk on the part of the bridge that is still there.

So why is the bridge not complete? This is what happened:
It was build between 1177 and 1185. Fourty years later it was destroyed during the Albigensian Crusade (you can look that up yourself if you wish ;-) ). The bridge was rebuild but too costly to maintain because arches kept collapsing when the river flooded. It wasn't really strong, at some point the bridge was barely wide enough to let 2 adults pass eachother on foot! Some parts were also rebuild with wood instead of stone. So in the middle of the 17th century the bridge was abandoned and left to what it is today.

Avignon is surrounded by a big city wall. This was one of the gateways in.

OK. Back at the ranch I checked tomorrow's weather forecast. Could be worse don't you think? :-)