Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
When you are king, dilly dilly,
I will be queen.
With the sun in the sky and a tune in my head, we drove south towards La Mas de la Rivoire on the border of the Gard department in the Languedoc area of France.
Sharing its border with the lavender fields of Provence and the Camargue, famed for flamingos, wild horses and bulls, Gard is happily situated in dramatic landscapes, it oozes vineyards and towns steeped in history.
Roman architecture has a strong presence here. Nimes amphitheatre and La Maison Carrée are beautifully preserved.
Hello arty photo opportunity….check out the cool reflection in my daughter’s sunglasses!
Le Pont du Gard is one of the best preserved Roman aqueducts in existence and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Swallows dance on the updrafts under the arches like tiny kites gliding on the breeze. The beautiful blue Gardon River welcomes families on its banks as they picnic and swim amongst the colourful kayaks that float serenely by.
Further south on the coast is the stunning town of Aigues-Mortes that was built in the 13th century by Louis IX as a new port for France, until rising silt rendered it a ghost-town for many centuries. Today the surrounding salt marshes give the town one of its chief industries. Behind its four imposing stone walls, this medieval city houses a grid of tightly packed terraced cottages, bustling shops and a lively restaurant scene. Walk the ramparts for great views, if you have the courage to face the blistering heat!
The lively town of Sommières was our evening haunt. Wednesday night ‘estivales’ or summer festival night market and wine tasting fills the town square to bursting with locals and tourists alike.
Friday night in Sommières sees the small bulls, indigenous to this region, run through the streets to the arena. The evening continues with local boys dodging bulls in mounds of soapy foam! During the interlude all the children race to play fully clothed in the foam until the bell rings to resume proceedings. The family atmosphere ensures the tradition passes on to the next generation!
Climbing in the trees at ‘Roc le Masserau’, Parc Aventure in Sommières was a fun day out! Any adventure of this magnitude needs nick names! So, Tree Boy, Jungle Jim, Monkey Mark, Swinging Sarah, Lunging Lauren and Acrobat Annie walked for miles and never touched the ground once, thanks to a series of bridges, massive zip wires and tree-connecting obstacles! Oh, and did I mention they crossed rivers…four times?
Did I join in?? Well no…someone had to take the photos!