Avignon to Carpenteras - Melo Vélo Meanderings - CycleBlaze

July 27, 2018

Avignon to Carpenteras

Today promised to be another hot day in Provence, with temperatures in the mid-90's.  Luckily, I had planned a short, circuitous route to Carpenteras where we would spend two nights.

We wanted to get an early start to beat the heat, so we bought bread and pastries and headed out. Unfortunately, our attempt to avoid the construction sites only resulted in putting us on high-traffic roads - I guess everyone was trying to avoid the Avignon construction. However, we soon on smaller roads taking us through the towns of Morères-les-Avignon, Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne, and Le Thor.  We made a quick stop at Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne for coffee and at Le Thor to check out the market. We stocked up on fruit and bought some delicious cheese made from a mix of goat-sheep milk from a friendly cheese seller.  The guys at fish stand were tossing out balls of ice - I caught a big one and promptly put it on the back of my neck to cool down. 

Town of Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne
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Looking back on Chateauneuf-de-Gadagne
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Ice ball - great for cooling down on a hot day in Provence
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Suzanne GibsonDid you then smell like fish?
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5 years ago

Shortly after leaving Le Thor, we caught our first glimpse lavender. After the obligatory stop for photos, we hopped back on the bikes, rounded a bend, and there in the distance was the unmistakable crown of Mont Ventoux.  A double whammy!  We came across a short stretch of unpaved road, where we crossed a small bridge in a wooded area between Les Chaumes and Velleron.  As indicated by a plaque, the bridge played an historical role in fostering trade between the Chaumes and Velleron regions. We decided the ample shade and bucolic setting was a wonderful spot for a leisurely picnic lunch on this sweltering hot day. 

Our first lavender field
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Mont Ventoux in the distance
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Carolyn unpacking some provisions at our wonderful picnic spot in the woods
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After lunch, headed out toward Pernes les Fontaines and rolled into Carpenteras in the heat of mid-afternoon.  Our lovely day of cycling ended at an ice cream shop on the town square.  A double scoop - melon sorbet and coconut for me - it was the best ice cream cone, ever!  Carolyn was in a trance, ready to sit there all day along with the other town square regulars. Finally, we headed to our Airbnb, a light and spacious apartment a few blocks away.  Carolyn headed off to Tourist Information for info on bike routes and I attended to laundry. We found a pizzeria for dinner and afterwards wandered the streets - enjoying the public artwork, banners and balloons.  After the last few stopovers in tourist towns, it was nice to spend time in a place that felt like a real lived-in town, which some folks happened to visit. It is a town with a sense of whimsy, and one that I would certainly return to.  With a name like mine, how could I not help but love Carpenteras! 

The whimsical streets of Carpenteras
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Carpenter jazzin' it up in Carpenteras
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Today's ride: 27 miles (43 km)
Total: 969 miles (1,559 km)

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