January 1, 2011

May 27| Cavaillon to Apt

Romanesque church
We left Cavaillon and headed east, not sure where we’d stop, but wanting to see Oppède-le-Vieux. This turned out to be an incredible site, where we humans have lived, on and off, since prehistoric times. Perched high on the rocks, it is seriously terraced up one hillside to the entrance and has quite steep drop-offs to the other three sides, making it very defensible, at least before modern weapons. There are relics of many ages of habitation, from the prehistoric on. 

The town was occupied from the 13th to the 16th century; and later provided haven for resistance fighters during WWII who hid there from the Nazis. More recently, architects, artists and others have taken up residence, building a new community on this prehistoric site.  The lower village has at least one appealing looking café and châmbres d’hôte, though we didn’t stay, deciding instead to ride on to Apt.

Ruined castle
All the riding this day was beautiful, especially in the Luberon. The area is known as the Petit Luberon (made famous by Peter Mayle) a part of the Regional Park, which protects the landscape, its animals and plants. We rode through Menerbes, stopping to call ahead for reservations in Apt. In Lacoste, we stopped for a delicious citron pressé at a café looking out over the valley towards Bonnieux. This is beautiful country, with vineyards and olive groves everywhere, hills in the background and Mont Ventoux looming to the north. There was no serious climbing, but rolling riding, much like the Berkshire hills at home in Massachusetts. Unhappily the batteries in the camera died so there are few photos.

29 miles. Route: D2 / D29 / D176 / D109 / D3


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