09 July 2015

Provence: Carpentras

I had never heard of Carpentras before I stumbled across Maison Trevier and the cooking lessons offered there. It turns out Carpentras is a town in the Vaucluse region of Provence and it has a fascinating history. If you're at all interested in European history, look into Carpentras--you won't be disappointed. In the meantime, enjoy a few of the photos I took around town...

I took this and the next two photos by leaning out an open window at Maison Trevier
Even the signs are more interesting in France--this one directs drivers to the paid parking ticket dispenser :)



Beautiful WWI cenotaph. By the way, the sky really was that blue.


This spot overlooked a ravine. I am not great with geography but I believe the mountain in the distance is Mt. Ventoux.

Some of the most interesting views can be found down alleys

There are so many interesting doors in Carpentras


Note the plants growing on the side of the building.

I loved the street lights. Also note the school sign with the kids holding hands :)


It took me some time getting used to being a pedestrian in France. For one thing, some roads don't look like roads. For another, drivers seem to think roads are merely a suggestion and that if their vehicle fits, they can drive on it. Also, pedestrians routinely cross against red lights (that might only be because the pedestrian signals are impossible to see!) And I heard on the news recently that Paris will be allowing bicyclists to go through some red lights. Basically, if you're a pedestrian in France, be aware of your surroundings and proceed with caution.


I was delighted to discover that gargoyles are pretty common on French churches. You don't need to visit Notre Dame to see them :) I do wish I'd brought my telephoto lens with me so I could have got better shots of them, Next time I won't be *quite* as concerned about packing light.




Central fountains are a feature in pretty much all French towns, including Carpentras. On the other side of the male figure is a female one.
This is probably my favourite thing in the entire town: a Roman arch (located behind the Palais de Justice)
The side of the arch



Part of the amazing history in Provence includes all the Roman structures. There are Roman-built roads (still in use), bridges, monuments, and aqueducts (in some cases still used for irrigation). I wish I'd taken more pictures because they were both beautiful and impressive. I'd like to take a road trip through Provence, making a point of seeking out Roman sites (along with all the other amazing things to see and experience).

This impressive building is next to the Roman arch--I think it's part of the Palais de Justice


You can see more gargoyles here

This is just a random commercial building in town.
This was some kind of official building (hence the flags) but I forgot to take a shot of the sign so now I can't remember what it is. My bad.
Building detail. Nice light fixture too.
Neat decorative metal grate over a window

Another fountain, although there was no water in this one.



This courtyard used to belong to a school, but the building is now a municipal office.

This is part of the original wall around Carpentras. It was also the gate between the mostly Protestant Principality of Orange and the Papal States. I told you the history here is fascinating.


Of course there is much more to see than I've shared here: the beautiful historic hospital, the local aqueduct, the synagogue (one of the oldest in France, dating back to the 1300s) and Jewish cemetery, to name a few. There are also ongoing events throughout the year, including horse races and a winter truffle market. Basically, my one week in Carpentras was just enough to scratch the surface.

One last note about Carpentras: while it produces all kinds of delicious treats, its specialty is a candy called berlingots:

http://www.laviedemondoudou.com/blog/actu-de-la-vie-de-mon-doudou-trombinabulle/doudou-dingo-de-berlingotco-2320/attachment/berlingot-4

Apparently they were invented by a candy maker who wanted to find a way to use the syrup left over from making candied fruit. This is what he came up with and now they're what Carpentras is known for--with good reason--they're delicious. If you ever visit Carpentras, make sure you pick some up.

Next post: Lavender fields

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