Avignon was the seat of the papacy in the XIVthcentury. The Palais des Papes, an austere-looking fortress whose interior was sumptuously decorated by Simone Martini and Matteo Giavanetti, dominates the city along with the ramparts that encircle it and the pont d’Avignon that spans the Rhone.
At the foot of this remarkable example of Gothic architecture, the Petit Palais and the Roman cathedral Notre-Dame-des-Doms completes an exceptional monumental whole that testifies to the eminent role of Avignon in XIVth century Christian Europe.
The Pont du Gard located between Uzès and Nîmes, is a three-level Roman aquaduct bridge.
The bridge was built before the Christian era to allow the approximately 50 km Nîmes aquaduct to cross the Gardon river.
When conceiving this 50 metre-high three-level bridge of which the longest level measures 275 m, the hydrological engineers and Roman architects created a technical masterpiece that is also a work of art.
Gordes is proud of its superb castle that stands in the town centre and reminds us of a past that was as rich in conquests as it was if suffering and which is now home to the Pol Mara museum and the Town Hall. Gordes has also conserved on its land, the village of Bories, strange roundlike dry-stone constructions, Sénanque abbey, the Bouillons mill and the Palais Saint-Firmin cellars.
The soul of the village has witnessed the development of a spirit of arts with illustrious artists such as André Lhote, Marc Chagall, Jean Deyrolle, Victor Vasarely and Pol Mara, among others finding inspiration there. In summer, many expositions are organised in places stamped by history such as the Saint-Jacques chaplaincy and the Chapel of the Pénitents Blancs.
One of the most beautiful villages in Provence and one of the major internationally recognised sites and places of regional memory is Baux-de-Provence that blends an exceptional mediaeval and renaissance heritage and a richness of culture and hospitality that make it the Beacon of Provence. Breath-taking settings allow vestiges of the past to live again, to perpetuate traditions, to house the art of those who have come to settle there and to be the theatre of prestigious spectacles.
This place that is loaded with history still offers many other temptations. The tradition of hospitality remains more than ever alive thanks to its gastronomic restaurants and its prestigious hotels. The very name Baux-de-Provence is a symbol of quality: its wines that are the fruit of rocks and sun are warm and welcoming, its olive oil is ardent and fruity.
A long line of Popes planted their vines at Châteauneuf. The wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape were praised by Frédéric Mistral who enjoyed them at the table of his friend, the “félibre” (the félibres were a group of 19th century writers dedicated to keeping Provencal culture alive)
Anselme MATHIEU, a poet and wine maker who had the genial idea of selling for the first time the wine in bottles bearing the label stating “Vin di Félibre le vin de Châteauneuf donne le courage et le chant et l’amour et la joie” (Félibre wine, the wine of Châteauneuf, gives courage and song and love and joy).
From the XIIth century onwards, religious orders began to farm the Camargue and so began a struggle against the sea and the swelling of the Rhone. The first segments of the sea dykes were constructed in the XVIth and XVIIth centuries. The work on a sea dyke and the containment of the Rhone carried out in the mid XIXth century artificially isolated the Camargue but also deprived it of a supply of freshwater and silt. From a biological point of view the Camargue is one of Western Europe’s richest regions. Located in the migratory axis of North European birds flying to Africa, it is vital stopping point for migratory birds.