Monday, September 21, 2015

Oppede part 2 Nice, Aix and Carpentras

One of the things the Fergs wanted to do was make a trip down to Nice to check out the Matisse and Chagall Museums. So it was a solid day driving there and back on the motorway. Andrew and I weren't huge fans of either artist so instead of visiting those museums we did some walking. 

Near the Matisse museum are lovely gardens with a view over Nice and a Franciscan Monastery. When we walked into the chapel the effect was stunning - it was one of those places that made stop and go wow. It wasn't ornate, rather it was subtle and as a whole simply beautiful. Pictures do it no justice at all.


Lunch was in the walled town of Vence where ate, drank, and generally had a lovely meal in a nice setting. We were in Vence to see the nearby Rosaire chapel where Henri Matisse had painted in the chapel at the request of a nun who had previously worked as his model.


Aix-en-Provence was a destination that had always been planned as an excursion from our location. It was a lovely town, famous amongst other things, for its numerous fountains and links to many artists.

The cathedral also had a superb organ with the organist perched up high and playing while we were there.


Leaving art and culture behind we visited the Camp des Milles on our way out of town. This former factory was used as an internment camp during WWII before they were transported to other camps. Today it has a major display and interpretation centre and it is a thought-provoking memorial. It displays and explains well, but it also goes another step and has a significant area devoted to learning from the past and looking at how similar genocides are able to still occur e.g Rwanda, Bosnia etc.


We visited towns such as Isle sur la Sorgue, Venasque and Carpentras. Carpentras definitely had it's own vibe, sightly different from anywhere else we had been in the region.  The cathedral was described by our guidebook as architecturally 'absurd' with a hodge-podge of styles.  And around the back was a roman triumphal arch dating from 1 AD.


And this is how "we" (by we, read Andrew) park in France. None of this fitting into a single parking space. Method employed by our driving hero, park right in the middle of 2 spots and make sure everyone can fully open their car doors. Never mind it was a busy car-park with people looking for spots...

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