Day 24, 14 6 2013, Orange to Arles

I have to review some comments I have made about French two-star hotels.  We had some experience west of here where the hotels were very homogeneous and adequate but uninspired.  Our latest experience is very positive, led by the excellent little hotel we stayed in in Orange last night.  This was an old and tastefully restored building, exactly what we would wish for, and the hotel we booked into here in Arles is completely different, but excellent in its own way.

We got out of Orange easily, but late due to a sleep-in after the concert.

The ride up to Chateau-du-Pape was pleasant in cooler weather with a following breeze.  However, that was by far the best riding for the day.

The ride into Avignon was the worst I can remember in Europe.  We spent a lot of time looking for quiet roads, using our Michelin atlas, but to no avail. We had no alternative but to ride in on a busy secondary road.  There would be a piece of bicycle path alongside the road that would finish abruptly dumping us into a snarl of heavy traffic.  This happened repeatedly.

So we were not well disposed to Avignon when we arrived and the presence of boat loads of tourists dumped from tourist river boats did nothing more to endear us to the city.

So we left.

The ride out was also appalling.  It took us around 10Km to clear the traffic. We then followed minor roads for the rest of the afternoon through fairly ordinary farm country with our view being compromised by the high levy bank of the Rhone River.

To finish it all off, we had a solid headwind into Arles this afternoon.

Under different circumstances we might have considered staying in Avignon, but it was not going to work for us.

This is an area like all in France that has its charms, but in my opinion of all the areas we have visited in France, it is the least developed as far as our form of tourism is concerned, but over-reliant on traditional tourism.

Despite that, the Roman remains of these lower Rhone cities have to be seen to be believed.  They are still working, and very complete and sensitively restored, we saw a group preparing for an opera performance in the theatre in Arles tonight.  They far exceed anything we saw in Italy.

83 Km for the day, with some more character-forming stuff.


Roz says

I did the ‘Sur le pont” at Avignon!  So I was happy. And we checked out the Papal Palace of course.

Went through one village that felt as if we had moved to Morocco, language and dress and behavior, a bit confronting. 

This hotel is a real find, two star and we have a four room suite with view!!


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