Provence, Deuxième Partie

On our last free day, we had to go pay our respects to Jacques Cousteau, the father of modern SCUBA diving. In 1946 he famously tried to plumb the depths of the freshwater spring at Fontaine de Vaucluse, and had almost drowned in a carbon monoxide accident. There's a long, single one-way street that loops in and out of Fontaine, which we unfortunately had to circle three times before finding a parking spot. The trouble was worth it: sheltered from the dry heat on several sides by sheer hills, the delightful little town sits on a most dazzling emerald river emerging from a limestone cavern. There's an old paper mill on the river, where artisans still make paper from local trees and wildflowers. Did you ever wonder how paper gets its white color? Not just from bleaching!

(We paused for lunch in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which is a strange, strange place... Not that I know anything about antiquing, but I've never seen a town quite so afflicted with this pastime, and its denizens all so into such meticulous, systematic hoarding of the oddest things.)

Now, we're finally get to the photo-dump of last year's day trips. First, RoussillonGordes, and Avignon. Just looking at these pictures makes me feel overheated, but what beautiful places...

And while each year the more persevering (or unsuspecting) of our friends hiked down the the Calanques, we took the lazy but scenic route from Cassis to La Ciotat by car.

And finally, our favorite part: driving through country roads, admiring the wildflowers and wheat swaying in the breeze, and espying an occasional, wary Provencal cat:

Next installment: going west, on a pilgrimage to Carcassonne.