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Provence Itinerary

Day 7

Chateauneuf du Pape, and Back to Avignon

The Palais des Papes, Avignon, Provence

A pretty flat day, just a short climb at the end of the day. Leaving Orange, we've a short ride on back roads to the world-famous wine village of Chateauneuf du Pape. It's a thriving place, completely devoted to its famous wines, and we'll visit the Domaine de Nalys to find out what the fuss is about. We'll also learn about olives in their beautiful olive groves, where we'll picnic when weather permits (this is Provence, weather nearly always permits!)
 
After lunch, we'll cycle along a series of islands in the Rhone as far as Avignon. We'll have plenty of time to explore Avignon, it's a wonderful place. Completely surrounded by its 3-mile wall. In the 14th Century, fleeing chaotic violence in Rome, Pope Clement V moved the papacy to Avignon, which became the base for a total of 7 popes. 
 
One of these, Benedict XII, supervised the completion of the largest gothic building in France, the vast, fortified Papal palace. We'll have time for a look round, but in fact the most spectacular aspect of the palace is to view it from the outside and marvel at the sheer size of the thing. There's a marvellous atmosphere in the centre of Avignon, open squares full of cafes, restaurants and street performers.
 
Leaving Avignon, we cross the Rhone for one last time and climb the short hill back to Villeneuve les Avignon and the Residence les Cedres. That's it, one final dinner together at the Hotel Les Cedres, and tomorrow we part company. Temporarily, I hope.
 
Distance: 22 miles / 36 Km
Click this link for Day 7 route map on mapometer.

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