We spent our last day touring in Provence in the Luberon hills.  This is a beautiful area of countryside filled with small villages perched on high hills, vineyards, lavender fields and orchards.

Perched village of Gordes

Gordes sits in tiers on the hillside overlooking a vast valley Luberon Valley Roussillon Roussillon is known for its red ochre. You can see the various shades of ochre in the buildings Red ochre hills of Roussillon Red ochre hills Many different shades of ochre Many different shades. I bought some watercolor pigments here to try! Painted door Roussillon Beautiful colors on the church Roussillon Olive picking ladder
Olive picking ladder Roussillon Provence Julien Bridge Julien bridge – The only remaining Roman bridge on what was once the main road from Italy to Provence. It’s over 2000 years old and used until 2005. We had lunch in Lourmain and continued on to Cucuron which has a lovely lake surrounded by 200-year-old Plane trees. Cucuron Cucuron Laden cherry trees Cherry trees  loaded with fruit Ansouis Castle in Ansouis

Ansouis church

Ansouis church

Ansouis

I took so many pictures of windows

Our last stop was the Val Joanis winery near Pertuis. It’s one of the largest in Provence. We walked around the gardens before tasting their wines. We bought a bottle for dinner. I’m hooked on Provencal wines! Garden at Val Joanis winery near Pertuis Garden

We’ve been home a week now and I’m almost adjusted to the time difference. I loved everything about France – the food, wine, scenery, culture, art and people were wonderful. I can’t wait to go back!

Here are some notes I took about our trip (in case you want to follow in our footsteps):

Boat notes:

LeBoat was a very good charter company. Our boat was a newer model and everything worked well. Although they advertise that non-boaters can easily manage their boats on the canal, I think that it would be a challenge for someone not familiar with living on and handling boats.

We purchased the starter provisioning package which had a decent supply of food, water and wine. I was surprised at some things that were missing – soap (dish and hand), dish sponge, trash bags, only 1 roll of toilet paper per head, cutting board, a knife that you could actually cut something with! We ended up buying a corkscrew because the one on the boat was not very good and we were exercising it often.

It was chillier than I expected in May and very windy. We had 3 days of cool, rainy weather. Forget the hat and sandals and bring more jackets!

Provisions were good in Homps and Capestang. Sketchy in many small villages when you could find a store that was open.

We used the laundry in the Capestang marina. Don’t waste your money on the dryer – it didn’t work.

We paid extra for wifi on the boat and it was good in most places.

Secure your bikes in a place that would be difficult for someone to step on the boat and help themselves. The locks provided aren’t the greatest but you can make it difficult for thieves.

If you use the stakes to moor your boat on the side of the canal in high winds, go to the leeward side.  Even if your boy scout captain secures the boat, you may return from lunch and find it on the other side of the canal.

The cruising guides aren’t great.  I’m used to the abundance of information available when cruising the east coast and Bahamas.  LeBoat provides a book with some information but you should try and supplement it with more details about the various towns, locations of grocery stores and restaurants.  It would be nice to know where things were their operating hours.

Don’t be freaked out about the locks and bridges.  Once you do one, you’ll quickly get the hang of it.  Boats can’t go any faster than 5 knots and they’re surrounded with bumpers so you can’t get into too much trouble!

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