Roman ruins at Les Baux

Roman ruins at Les Baux
Today was our last day at Riboto de Taven. I can’t say enough good things about it. The service, food, facilities, and people are all outstanding. But it was time to move on. So, after packing our bags (following a hearty breakfast, of course), cramming everything into the car, and wishing the owners, Christine and Phillipe Theme, well, we hopped in the van and drove off in the direction of Avignon. Along the way, we stopped at two very important sites: Les Baux and Glanum. My grandfather, PaPa, had been wanting to visit Les Baux, the seat to the Grimaldi family of Monaco fame, ever since we arrived in the area. He is very interested in history, and this visit was really going to be a treat for him. I recommend that you get to Les Baux early. This is a very popular spot for tourists—busloads full of them. If you arrive at Les Baux early in the morning (around 9:30), parking is easy, and you can wander for a while before having to deal with the crowds and the heat. When we arrived, all we had to do was park and go in. There was really no one on the streets. And, best of all, there was no line at the historical part of the city. At Les Baux, you must walk along a street filled with shops to reach what is of historical interest. If you see something that catches your eye, I suggest that you wait and purchase it on the way out. Some of the walking is a little tricky at the ruins, and it would be difficult to carry bags around. I can’t tell you much about the historical aspect of the area, because I never listen to those annoying audio guides, but I can tell you this: the view from the point of the ruins is magnificent. Look down and you’ll see vineyards, then row after row of olive trees then more vineyards. If you bring nothing else, if you come stark naked, at least bring a camera. If you don’t, you’ll regret it. (If you do come naked, which I don’t recommend, be sure to wear sun block: the sun is really intense.) At Les Baux, there are many things to do: look at the scenery, explore the old fortress that was built many centuries ago, visit other such ruins, and basically just mess around and have a good time. Anybody out there like siege weapons? At Les Baux, there is a reconstructed catapult, as well as a reconstructed battering ram. After looking around the historic site, you can do shopping on the way out of town. Some shops sell fabric, some sweets, some knick-knacks, and some art. At the boulangerie near the parking area, we bought the supplies for a picnic: bread, lots of goat cheese, sausage, water, and a large pastry. There’s a great spot to picnic across the road from Glanum. Pay the couple of Euros to park in the parking lot, and picnic near the large stone arch and monument to fallen, brave soldiers. (I’m not exactly sure which war, etc, because the informational signs are in French, and my French is not good enough to translate exactly. But, to quote Dryfus in the movie The Pink Panther Strikes Again: “Every day, and in every way, I‘m getting better and better.”) Across the road in Glanum proper, you can tour Roman ruins and admire the ability of a race of remarkable builders. We’re on the last leg of our trip now. We’ll be spending a few days in Avignon, then we take the TGV back to Paris. After spending our last day in France in the capital, we’ll head back home. Wow, I just thought myself into a funk. Later. —As an aside, we did manage to hit the market at St. Remy several days ago. I didn’t write an article about it because I didn’t have time, but I believe it bears mentioning somewhere. Although there are several market days throughout the month, the big one occurs on the last Wednesday of each month. At the big market, you can find all sorts of things: linens, antiques/junk, food, art, clothing, table cloths, fine knives, spices, flowers, and a variety of other things. Parking is very tough here, so be prepared to do some walking. If you happen to be in the area during the last Wednesday of the month, you might consider going to this market. It’s fun, there’s a lot for sale, and you might even see the guy with a pet squirrel on his shoulder…   Taylor Horton is a high school student who considers himself very fortunate to be writing for Bonjour Paris this summer.
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