The Ballards - France Provence







 

Provence: the name redolent of Peter Mayle and lavender, of intense heat and strong winds - The Mistral blows down the Rhone Valley at all times of year and invariably the runways are pointed North-South to allow any aviation at all.

In the summer the tourists clog up the roads and the restaurants, the prices rise and the locals leave...

But there is another side to Provence.
In the winter it can be very beautiful, so we visited in December 2012 for my 50th Birthday. We flew ourselves down (a bit brave, for December...) to Avignon then Carpentras, a small untouristy town 14 miles North East of Avignon where a friend owns a Chateau: a proper wine-producing job with thick walls and turrets.



Of course in December Provence is absolutely bloody freezing and with The Mistral a-blowing it was scarves and coats time. And the Mistral is strong: there is a reason al the runways in Provence are oriented North-South...



The scenery is pretty stunning in winter.



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With few people there we could roam at will and cover large distances but some things were closed


Isles de Sorgue


Chateau Mazan



Little French villages