The Retirees go Abroad – On the road to Avignon – La Grotte de St Marcel d’Ardeche

After having a great time at Beaune, we were eagerly looking forward to Avignon.

On the way we planned to visit La Grotte de St Marcel d’Ardeche; a system of limestone gorges just north of Avignon. Tommy guided us to the gorge by the most convoluted route. I am sure we passed through a forgotten village where they are still using a Roman bath house.

The wind was picking up as we arrived. The next tour was at 2.00pm and in French. The English narrated tour started at 4.00pm so we opted to take the French tour. Even though we could not understand much of what the guide told us the images will remain with me forever. First there was the views from the top of the mountain to the river valley below, then the trip down a man-made entrance along 416 steps to see the wonders of nature. The highlights were the illuminated pools and the immense chamber. Have a look at the photos.

When we returned along the 416 steps our pre-ordered lunch awaited us. Finishing lunch we drove down the mountain towards Avignon and stumbled upon a fabulous view point. The wind was howling but the view made it a necessary stop. Courtesy of David Colch I am able to share with you the world’s best selfie.

We followed the River Rhone to the bottom of the valley where the canoe hire companies were making a fortune hiring canoes to tourists and local wanting to explore the upper Rhone. We elected a cup of coffee at a local café and the girls wanted to wet their feet in the river. It did not go to plan for the girls – anyway have a look at the photos.

We arrived in Avignon at our apartment around 4.00pm the wind still blowing fiercely. Avignon is a commune in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône River. Our apartment turned out to be on the fourth floor and there is no lift. Again a struggle to get the luggage to the apartment and daily exercise up and down 60 steps. Otherwise the apartment was fine. We settled in looking forward to the next day.


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Retired Australian Lawyer having worked representing the innocent and the not so innocent in Australia and some of the remote parts of the world and having travelled widely through Europe, Western Russia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Thailand Malaysia Solomon Islands northern China, Hong Kong and the UAE So now that I have the time I am writing about my travels present and past. Hope you enjoy exploring off the beaten track.