Arles' Saturday market is one of the largest in the area. During the growing season, local farmers bring their fresh fruits and vegetables,. Other stalls have pastries, cheeses, olives and meats, providing a great opportunity to assemble lunch and dinner.
The beauty of southern France, and a dispute between factions of the Catholic Church, explain why the center of the Catholic Church was briefly located in Avignon. Though Avignon is a large city tourists head to the walled village with its impressive buildings. The ramparts, chapels and homes seem to be in near perfect condition though it has been more than 600 years since anyone claiming the papacy has lived within its walls.
Pont du Gard
This aqueduct stands as a monument to Roman engineering and hard work. The three layers of arches were critical to the delivery of water from the nearby hills to the town of Nimes. During the day, you can cross the bridge and swim in the warm waters of the Gard River and at night, you can enjoy the dramatic light show that bounces of the ancient stonework.
Pont du Gard and the nearby town of Uzes are great places to camp. Just south of the Roman aqueduct there are a few clean basic campgrounds. In town there are a variety of hotels that provide lodging to tourists.
Isle de Sorgue
North of Arles is the charming town of Isle sur Sorgue. As the Sorgue River runs through the area, it created a small island that became the center of town. It now hosts a pleasant farmer's market. Continue on to the small village of Fontaine du Vacluse where a large stream springs from a massive limestone cave and was the source of waterpower for a local mill. The rushing stream cools the city on warm summer days. Above the town sits castle ruins while a monument in the center of the village honors the poet Petrarch.
Rousillon, La Coste and Gordes
Most travellers look for hilltop towns in Tuscany but the Luberon has some stunning villages perched atop its hills. In a busy afternoon you can make it to most of those towns by car. You could have a wonderful week reaching the top of those villages by bike.
Rousillon is the source of ochre dyes for artists and manufactures. The houses of Rousillon glow on sunny days with their brightly painted exteriors. It is a spot where you are certain to fill a memory card if the lighting is good.
Gordes is equally stunning though it does so with buildings that are white. Many affluent Parisians make this town a summer retreat.
My husband's favorite spot in the Luberon is the town of Lacoste where the castle of the Maquis de Sade is crumbling above the village. Though still popular, Lacoste has fewer visitors than Rousillon and Gordes but its narrow streets make a pleasant stroll and the view of other villages from the crumbling castle is worth the hike.