, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The booking for horse riding was at 9am. This meant we had to leave Arles by 8.15am as it takes about half an hour to reach Domaine Ricard. Which meant we had to wake up early! ๐Ÿ™‚

Lots of cyclists around at this time of the year although I don’t remember seeing cyclists last year.

And we reached Domaine Ricard ahead of time. ๐Ÿ˜€


There was a family besides us who turned up for horse riding. We decided to let them speak with the staff first as we might hold them up seeing that we can’t communicate in French. However, they weren’t French. But the father of the family was able to speak basic French, which was a lot better than us.
When it was our turn, again, ‘Parlez vous anglais’? Again, ‘non’. I tried to convey that we have a booking through our hotel for two blah blah blah, but the lady didn’t seem to understand. Besides, it appeared that our booking was not noted even though I was with the receptionist at the hotel when she made the booking. No matter, at the end, we came to the understanding that we were going to do the 1-hour ride and again, only at walking pace.

At this point, the only horse ride I have ever done was when I was a kid, in a zoo with the horse being managed by a handler. So we have had no experience with horse riding whatsoever. We soon realised that for this horse riding experience, we were to be solely in charge of our horses. No one would be holding on to the reins on the horse except for ourselves. The family joining us in this trail have horse riding experience. They are Austrians and I suppose they have more opportunities for horse riding than us. The Austrian father couldn’t believe we were getting on the horse without any experience at all. He wished us good luck! ๐Ÿ˜› Hehe, I wished us good luck too!

So the staff upon knowing that we have never rode on a horse before, got us two horses, both of which have probably very calm temperament.

Luckily, there was a cowgirl leading us on our trip. The cowgirl turned out to be the lady at the counter. And the horses were so well behaved! They simply followed the pack leader!
And we saw the enclosure the horses are being kept in on our way to the etang.

The husband’s horse was very keen to follow the pack leader very closely. And his horse was perpetually hungry!, Always walking on the side to grab grass, nibbling while working.

My horse liked to follow the husband’s horse closely! So both of our horses were walking on the edge and I wondered how did the horses know not to step beyond the edge of the path.
Initially, at the start of the trail, the cowgirl introduced a bit of the region to us. But she was speaking in French and even the French speaking ones in the group could not keep up. So eventually we succumbed to the silence of the etang. I enjoyed the silence.
We were rather unfortunate and didn’t get to see any animals at all, except for a lone flamingo far away. The view were mainly that of greenery.

The horse of the cowgirl. She had came down from the horse to open a gate for us to pass through and the clever horse then answered nature’s call.

Although we didn’t have a great adventure in the etang ๐Ÿ˜ฏ but I thoroughly enjoyed the horse ride. It was plenty enough for us first time riders. And very soon, the horses returned to the stable. My horse is called ‘Siffleur’; what a pretty name! And that’s the pretty cowgirl who had led the ride.

And at the washroom, there was a bunch of toddlers, who all looked so cute! They must have been at most 3 or 4 years old. Its hard to believe toddlers at that age were brought out on a field trip. I don’t think in Singapore, parents would have allowed 3 or 4 year olds to go for field trips. Or rather, the teachers wouldn’t dare to bring the little devils out. And I was really really surprised by the good behaviour of the French toddlers. They were not running around all over the place, screaming or shouting. Rather, they were obedient to their teachers who probably told them to please form lines of 2 and wait for the Petit Tren to arrive. The only time when they were not quite so obedient was when they got intrigued by horse poo. ๐Ÿ˜› Still, even then they weren’t kicking the poo around. They were just crowding around the poo and making whispers about it. And then running back to the teachers when called.

The cutie pies

And we went back to Arles to check out of Le Calendal and tour Arles before heading to Avignon.
So the first sight we went to was the Amphitheatre. It was under renovation (for lack of a better word) and as such, the entrance fee, together with that of Theatre Antique, cost about 7 euros.

Interior of the Amphitheatre

The amphitheatre

The surroundings of the Amphitheatre:

Subsequently, we headed for Theatre Antique. The entry was through an air-conditioned room, which provided brief respite from the Provencal sun. There was nothing much in Theatre Antique as it consisted mainly of ruins. However, there were several young artists around who were drawing the carvings visible on the ruins.

The arch from which we had peered in from our first day in Arles.

Amongst the ruins, nature thrived. ๐Ÿ™‚

With that, we ended our exploration of Arles. Time to head to Avignon.
We were happy to be back in Avignon. There’s something quite special in returning to a place that’s not home, and yet a familiar place where we have great memories of.
In Avignon, we stayed at another top rated hotel on Tripadvisor, Hotel Le Colbert.
Again, as is typical of all things Provenรงal, we had a cheery colourful room.

There’s a restaurant Fou de Fa Fa that I wanted to try very much as its rated top on Tripadvisor. So the hotel owner agreed to help us make reservations for dinner.
And then we went back to a kebab shop we had visited in 2011 and we ended up with panini, although we had wanted kebabs. ๐Ÿ™„

T’was a huge panini. Unfortunately, the standard of the food has dropped. So we won’t be going back there if we do go back to Avignon again. ๐Ÿ˜•
So the plan was to re-visit Roussillon. We went to Roussillon last year but the sentier was closed when we reached and it was drizzling, and with no umbrella with us then, we decided to return to our base.

However, on this very day, the sun was out and Roussillon took our breathe away once again. ๐Ÿ˜€
Even the dustbins in Roussillon are lovely. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Dustbin found in the car park at Roussillon

The most convenient carpark in Roussillon is a small one right on the top of the village. However, we didn’t have any luck with that car park, so we had to park our car at lower ground and walked a short distance up to the village.
Ahhh, a beautiful familiar sight.

Needless to say, we headed straight for the sentier.

There are two routes that one can take. The shorter route is an easier trek and takes up to 30 mins. The longer trail would take up to an hour.

The colours of the site are amazing! And together with the blue blue sky and green green trees, every part of the sentier was picture perfect. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

The planks on the ground were of course also coloured by the ochre.

A peek at the village across from the sentier.

Tall trees are abound in Roussillon!

I read that iron oxide can cause a range of colours from yellow to violet…but we didn’t see any violet colours around. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

We enjoyed the colours in the sentier! And we finished the long trail in slightly over an hour.

Do not wear your beloved shoes into the sentier

There is a cemetery immediately on the left at the exit of the sentier. We did enter into the cemetery but we didn’t venture far. I guess its just not in our culture to go graveyard visiting (even though I did it in Prague)

View from the outside of the sentier.

This view of the perched village doesn’t ever get old!

Imagine walking along the paths in this village, surrounded by the beautiful ochre coloured buildings.

So then we explored the village of Roussillon. And what a beautiful village it is! There’s an elegant artistic flair in the buildings in Roussillon.

This is the view inside a small art gallery. How nice it would be to have a seat there, taking in the view, with a nice cup of tea. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

So we kept walking uphill, on wherever the paths are. From the top, we had lots of views.

I am just so in love with Roussillon. Pictures doesn’t do it much justice.

We agreed that Roussillon would be a lovely place for retirement. A great place to have a small hotel and live life the French way, no? ๐Ÿ˜› We ended up debating the name of our future hotel…I was going along the line of Hotel Siffleur. ๐Ÿ˜‰
More views and a glimpse of the winding road up to the village.

Then we proceeded downhill, hoping to reach our car while taking in more sights. Cats love cars!

In Roussillon, its a common sight to see houses built into the rocks.

I do envy the owner of this property.

All too soon, it was time to leave Roussillon. It was with a sense of sadness when we drove away as I don’t know when I’ll be back. The world is too big and travel the world I must. No matter, this image of Roussillon is now imprinted in my heart.

We parked the car in the underground secured car park in Avignon, whereby it costs a maximum of 18 euros (!) for 24 hours of parking.
When we were back in the hotel, the owner said that Fou de Fa Fa was fully booked. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So we decided to just walk back to Au Tout Petit, where we had a great meal last year. Alas, Au Tout Petit was also full and they said they might have a table for us in 30 mins. Hmmm, it was around 8pm already and we were hungry. We decided not to wait and headed to L’epice & Love. On the way to L’epice & Love, we passed by Fou de Fa Fa and it was closed! A notice on the windows said that due to an accident in the kitchen, the restaurant would be closed. Just as well we didn’t manage to get reservations. How let down we would be if we did! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Luckily, we managed to get the last table available at L’epice & Love. Similar to last year, the menu was handwritten in French, which the waitress kindly translated for us.
We were advised to order the first two courses first and if at the end, we still have the stomach for desserts, she would return to take orders for it.

We have a pretty good memory and when the chef came out, we knew that the chef this year was not the same as last year’s. Based on the food we had, I think this chef is better than last year’s. In fact, I think this was one of the most enjoyable meals we had in France this year.
So of course, salads to start with. I love this salad, which came with small fishes with a tangy zest. I got a seafood salad while he got a goat cheese salad.

To be honest, I didn’t know my husband could be quite an adventurous eater until this trip. We are not huge fans of cheese, and yet he went ahead to order goat’s cheese. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

I had pork while he had beef. Both were accompanied by rice and sides. The food was simple yet delicious and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I particularly liked the orange mash. It’s probably mashed carrots sans the raw taste of carrots

It was a lovely dinner to celebrate our return to Avignon and to end the day with. Once again, we surfaced into the night onto the familiar streets of Avignon, and enjoyed our walk back to Le Colbert. That’s all in a day of travel.