The new "flexible metric system" only in France

Trip Start Apr 01, 2011
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Trip End Jan 26, 2012


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Flag of France  , Provence,
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Back when we were in Arles, we had asked the tourist information office where we could go to visit vineyards and wineries and to taste wine.  They told us that taking a bus from Avignon was our best option as it was "only 10 Kilometers from Chateauneuf-du-Pape," a world renown wine region.  So jump on a train and off to Avignon we go! 

When we arrived in Avignon (marked with an "A" on the map) we went to the bus station to ask about a bus to Chateauneuf-du-Pape ("C" on the map) and were told that the bus only went once a day and the bus out was at 5:45 in the afternoon with the return trip to Avignon at 9:00 in the morning the next day...  Not that handy for going to a village with limited accommodations.  The helpful lady at the bus station suggested we instead take the bus to Sorgue ("B" on the map) and then take a taxi to Chateauneuf.   "It's only 10 Kilometers from Sorgue to Chateauneuf" she said so it would cost a lot less than a taxi directly from Avignon.  ??  I thought we were already only 10 Km from Chateauneuf...  Does this place keep moving away from you as you get closer?  I would consider riding a bicycle there but I'm afraid I could not pedal fast enough to catch up with this moving village!

The next day we wake up bright and early (OK, not THAT early) and head to the bus station.  There is a different lady working there today and she tells us, "You can take the bus to Orange ("D" on the map) which is PAST Chateauneuf and then catch a different bus from Orange that takes you to Chateauneuf."  We figured, "hey that sounds like a good option," however the only bus from Orange to Chateauneuf leaves 9 minutes after our bus is scheduled to arrive in Orange...  9 minutes should be enough time, everything runs like clockwork over here right???
We arrive in Orange 5 minutes after the only bus to Chateauneuf for the day had left.  So off to the tourist information office we go and the helpful guy there tells us "I can call you a taxi to take you to Chateauneuf, it's only 10 Km from here..."

We eventually arrived in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and I'm happy to say it was worth the work to get there.  We visited 5 different tasting rooms, tried some excellent wines and learned more about wine production and French wine regulations.  It was also a very beautiful little village, even when you ignore the fact that every second doorway in the village is a wine tasting room.  The trip back to Avignon was a little less eventful.  We took a taxi to Sorgue but the taxi driver didn't know where the bus stop was so we went to the train station and caught a train that took us back to Avignon in 6 minutes.  I think it took us longer to figure out the ticket machine at the train station than it took for the train ride to Avignon.

I read somewhere on the Internet (so it must be true) that you need to work hard to find a bad meal in France and so far, every meal we have had this last week has been amazing.  We decided to try dropping the bar a few notches on the places we went to and see if the food was just as good.  There was a parking lot down the street from our hotel that had a small trailer sitting in it advertising "Indian Food - Snacks" and you could get a combo with: pakoras, rice, dahl and either vegetable or chicken curry or tandoori chicken all for 6 Euro.  It smelled good so we gave it a try and it was so good, we went back again the next night.  One thing that was kind of cool is that the owner of the curry trailer was from Sri Lanka, he was living in France and had never been to Canada but the first day we went there, he was wearing a t-shirt that had "Vancouver" and a picture of a maple leaf on it.  He asked us how far it was from Vancouver to Toronto and we told him it was about 5,000 Km.  He seemed quite shocked at the distance.

We spent a day walking around Avignon, went to see the Palace of the Popes, which was the official home of 7 different Popes who did not want to live in Rome in the 1300's.  Then I got a haircut and we just generally took it easy as it was a nice hot sunny day meant for relaxing.
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