From the Sarlat we took a train to Arles. Arles it was having a music festival, and more importantly, nearby Avignon was having its annual gigantic theatre festival. We stayed in a super nice hotel room in Arles — not on purpose, it just seems to be the last available hotel room in Arles, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Arles was a nice change from Sarlat. There were some tourist looking at it ancient roman buildings, but the french outnumbered the tourists by a wide margin. The weather is very warm, and the likelihood of rain seems slim.
Street performers at the Festival d’Avignon.
We went to Avignon by train for an afternoon and evening. The streets it worth jammed with people and performers of the various plays hawking their playbills; every available surface in the town was covered in posters advertising for the plays. Joe was able to locate the venue where he had been a part of a play in college over 15 years ago, and we went to see a rendition of Dangerous Liaisons. It was a good performance, but made us both realize that our French is not as good as we sometimes think it is.
Then we rode to Aix-en-Provence in a (longish) day. Like Arles, Aix was a very pleasant small city to visit and hang out in. We kept riding east and then south, heading for the coast. One road in particular that was very nice was the D17, starting in Salon-de-Provence, passing through Aix and past Mont St. Victoire, which was a subject of many of Cézanne’s paintings that Suzanne studied in college.
It also went past several regional wine tasting centers, which were unfortunately closed since we were biking through on Bastille Day. Provence got gradually more green as we headed more towards the sea, changing from dry chapparal to wooded hills.
We knew that we were running out of time in France and were eager to get to Tuscany, so we stopped at the town of Cuers and took a train to Antibes, on the Cote to Azur. We slept at a busy campground in Antibes and biked to Nice — mostly on an excellent separated bike path. This ride was a deja-vu for both of us: for Joe it was like a flashback to being at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg: flat, warm, beachy, everyone in swimsuits and white fluffy clouds in the sky. For Suzanne it was a more specific deja vu, since she had ridden here before with her friend Emily in 2000.