Provence: Legendary Light, Wind and Wine, ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Vintners know the quality of the barrels and the characteristics of the wood contribute to the personality of their wine. It's a mix or blend of anise and other herbs and you cut it, dilute it, according to taste. It's another fine example of Roman engineering…and Roman propaganda. While only a few arches survive, the bridge was huge — extending all the way to the lonely Tower of Philip the Fair, which marked the beginning of France. Rick: No way. The far end of the ward was a chapel. Steve: Bonjour, monsieur. They can be very good and are respected along with whites and reds. To the connoisseur a visit here is a kind of pilgrimage. It's also fun to be in the breezy middle of the river with a sweeping city view. In the village of Pommard, vineyards like La Cave de Pommard offer free tasting and an education in wine appreciation at the same time. See the Travel Details above for recommendations highlighted in bold, excerpted from Rick's guidebooks. This was the most fortified palace of the time — with 10-foot-thick walls, it was a symbol of power. There are two on a team — one lobs the ball as close to the target as he can. 12 232 en parlent. We'll marvel at an ancient aqueduct, savor Côtes du Rhône wine in its birthplace, experience the quintessential Provençal market, play a little boules, follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh, and dodge bulls in a 2,000-year-old arena. Relaxed tree-shaded lunches, long dinners, and lazy afternoons at outdoor cafés are the norm. Nearby villages stage courses camarguaises in small wooden bullrings nearly every weekend; tourist information offices have the latest schedule. Rick: So tasting is different than drinking? see our FAQ. We'll dine on fresh seafood at the fisherman's harbor in Cefalù, ponder ancient Greek greatness in Siracusa, commune with monks alive and departed in a Capuchin crypt, sleep in an olive orchard at an agriturismo, and eat our way through a classic Sicilian banquet with a famous chef. France is a country with lots of variety, from grand cities to awe-inspiring mountains. Aix thrived thanks to its aristocratic population. My Playlist: Add a video to start a new playlist! The Calendal provides just the mix of comfort and economy I look for when researching my guidebooks. The bridge itself has no mortar — just ingeniously stacked stones. That's the summit of Mont Blanc. This compact city is alive with Roman ruins, an eclectic assortment of museums, and welcoming pedestrian zones. Boats come with bikes, and the pace is relaxing enough to allow for excursions. That starts with ancient Rome — the building itself seems to embrace an evocative old temple. Visitors are presented with a list, and from that they can sample from an enticing selection. All this work was designed to bring water into the still-grand Roman city of Nîmes. While Beaune's real charm is the colorful town itself, it does have one must-see sight, its Hospice de Beaune — a medieval charity hospital. Avignon retains its quaint Industrial Age souvenirs. Except for the rare farm vehicle, the service roads are the domain of happy bikers. Our day on the canal was an ideal family vacation: three generations, the scenery coming to us, a capable skipper, and not a care in the world. It's the same grape everywhere. I hope you've enjoyed our look at this small, but endearing slice of France. Freestanding wedding armoires were given to brides by parents and filled with the essentials to begin a new life. After about 70 years, a later pope moved the papacy back to Rome. Lyon, France: City of Capitals. He'll help you plan where to go and what to see, depending on the length of your trip. Carved wooden cages — called panetière — hung from the walls, keeping bread away from hungry critters. Cairo, Egypt: The Egyptian Museum. Guests enjoy Internet access, an enticing breakfast buffet, and the shady, Provençal-chic courtyard. Today, only one tower and part of the transept still stand. While the grand city of Rome could afford exotic beasts like tigers and lions from faraway places, smaller towns like Arles made do with snarly local beasts like wild boar, bears, and so on. For about half the price of a typical hotel, a gîte comes fully-furnished — with a kitchen, cozy living room, and all the comfort you could want immersed in the country charm of Burgundy...or whichever part of France you choose to settle into. These were the first grand gardens designed not for royalty, but for the public. Merchant: Vous voulez goûter? Vive la Provence! Every other shop seems to be selling it. We'll travel on a canal barge, visit a medieval hospice and a modern monastery, build a barrel, appreciate fine Burgundy wine, slurp escargot, and eat very, very well. Rick: What is “terroir”? If you're looking for quintessential French culture, you'll find it in Burgundy. But today, Arles thrives again. Tools of the trade looked like a carpenter's kit — amputation saws, pans for blood-letting, and syringes delicate as caulking guns. Boules player: Comme ça. It was damaged several times by floods and subsequently rebuilt. By car or bike you can be immersed in the lush countryside and immaculate vineyards. Its magnificently decorated exterior is lacy Flamboyant Gothic, with lots of decor — and boasts more weathervanes than any other building in France. Rick: When you say “Burgundy,” what do you mean from a wine point of view? Travel with Rick on this video guide to Provence, France and find out what to do on your next trip. Whoever ends up with the ball closest to the target receives one point. A stream was diverted to power hydraulic or water-powered hammers that operated the forge. Sabine: Yes, absolutely. Sabine: Absolutely! When it reopens after a long renovation (some time in 2019), it is expected to resume its place as one of the top attractions in Arles. Now local daredevils still fight wild animals here, and "bullgame" posters around the arena advertise upcoming spectacles. Here you'll follow one of France's favorite wine roads, weaving through a rustic landscape carpeted with vines and peppered with warm stone villages. Listen to Rick Steves' Europe Video with 716 episodes, free! This is the Caveau de Gigondas. It goes from mild to stronger in taste with age. Oui! While its cities are packed with important sights, Provençal life feels rooted in its countryside, small towns, and vibrant markets. This pool was plumbed to handle prioritizing, prioritizing…. RICK STEVES ’ EUROPE: French Alps And Lyon Stream now or tune in Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020 at 4 p.m. & 10:30 p.m. on KPBS TV Thursday, November 5, 2020 Until next time, keep on traveling. Colette: And then you finally deserve to put that in your mouth after such a long time you've been waiting. Travel with Rick on this video guide to the Dordogne in France and find out what to do on your next trip. Nîmes' arena dates from about A.D. 100 and is more than 425 feet in diameter and 65 feet tall, with 24,000 seats that could be filled and emptied in minutes (through 60 passageways called vomitoires). No signup or install needed. Man: Merci beaucoup. As a result, with an enchanting mix of turrets and gardens, Rochepot is a little of both. Twice a week, Arles' ring road erupts into an open-air market of flowers, ready-for-ratatouille baskets of produce, and everything but car traffic. The water finally gushed out here into this modest-looking distribution tank, from where it served the thirsty city's needs. Boats have comfy staterooms, all the comforts you'd expect in a good hotel, and you'll invariably be eating and drinking some of the very best that Burgundy has to offer. The loudspeaker announces the reward various local businesses offer to the man who gets the ribbon. Threndy? Back out on the street, it seems life is good and the focus is on the here and now. While they are integrating, France is dealing with the friction any country has when immigrant laborers do its lowliest jobs. last year | 0 views. The region of Provence stretches from the Mediterranean coast up the Rhône River Valley. Towns are particularly lively on market days. Taizé is an ecumenical community, welcoming Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic Christians alike. This time we're in the south of France mixing Roman ruins, fine wine, a little Van Gogh, and even a French bullfight. We never get a car - we take the train everywhere and we always fly in and out of different towns to avoid backtracking. It's my favorite home base from which to explore France's Provence region. This time we're enjoying the edible, drinkable, scenic, and floatable delights of one of my favorite corners of France: Burgundy. At any given time there are several thousand here from about 100 countries enjoying a week-long retreat. Homes range in comfort from simple cottages and farmhouses to restored châteaux. Throughout France, self-catered houses — which rent by the week — are part of a popular lodging network called the “gîtes ruraux” [Gîtes de France]. Admire its original columns and Corinthian capitals — it's a textbook example of a pseudoperipteral temple (surrounded by columns, half of which support the roof over a porch, and half of which merely decorate the rest of the building) and a "six-column temple" (a standard proportion — if it's six columns wide, it must be eleven columns deep). In this show we'll appreciate superb Burgundy wine, visit a medieval hospice, build a barrel, slurp escargot, ponder medieval monasticism, then drop in on a modern monastic community, and explore the Burgundian countryside. Your visit to Burgundy can include about every aspect of the wine trade...even traditional barrel making. He was 35 when he moved here in 1888, and it was here that he discovered the light that inspired in him an explosion of creativity. Nîmes is an hour's drive from the sunny Côtes du Rhône region. Three of its medieval towers survive. Hello, Sign in. The traditions are strong here. Through most of the 14th century the Catholic Church was run from here in Avignon. Burgundy is a calm and cultivated corner of France, where fine living is intimately tied to nature and traditions run strong. Sur le Pont d'Avignon And macho men still face dangerous beasts: bulls. During that period Avignon grew from a quiet village to a powerful city. The floor was covered with sand to absorb all the blood. The decor in this room portrays themes of hope. Sabine: Wait until you taste those wines. But what is important is that once you have spit it out, you exhale through the nose like that, because the zone which is here behind your back nose and your back throat is so sensitive to the aromas that you keep the finish of the wine, you keep the bouquet of the wine much longer in the mouth and in your head. Gîte living comes with a relaxed rhythm that's hard to find in a hotel. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Château de la Rochepot is a fine example. The friendly staff speaks English — not unusual here in Provence. This happened just 50 years after the construction of the king's palace at Versailles, and, to the French, this people's place has a special significance. Those in Arles occupy the same seats that fans have used for nearly 2,000 years, and deliver the city's most memorable experience — the courses camarguaises in the ancient arena. With its strategic bridge over the Rhône River, Arles was a key stop on the Roman road from Italy to Spain. Published by: Anonymous User Learn about the history and culture of France. They serve an elaborate buffet breakfast and offer lunch in the courtyard or at their café/sandwich bar. The success of the abbey has been attributed to a series of wise leaders, or “abbots.” In fact, four of the six first abbots here actually became saints. The wealthy fled the city, and Aix slumbered through most of the 1800s. He discovered the light which inspired him an explooosion of creativity. Boules is played with heavy metal balls (or boules) and a tiny target ball. With the help of locks, you could actually ship your goods clear across France, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. Post questions and answers about travel in France. While all Van Gogh left in Arles was a chunk of his ear — you won't find any paintings — his legacy continues at the Foundation Van Gogh. The mill served the nearby Roman town of Arles…and that's where we're heading. Bernard created what he called "a horrible vast solitude" here in the forest, where his monks could live like the desert fathers of the Old Testament. We'll head southeast of Paris to explore the region of Burgundy, using the town of Beaune as a home base to explore its canals, vineyards, and historic sites. Fork it over. To enhance your art experience, be sure to check out Rick Steves Classroom Europe, my free collection of 400+ teachable video clips — including a visit to Monet’s garden at Giverny. Rick/Sabine: Bonjour! The Pont du Gard reminds us that throughout the ancient world, aqueducts were stone flags heralding the greatness of Rome. Attendants, who live in the historic lock houses, are friendly and always ready to help out. Aix's farmer's market is a classic Provençal scene — rustic farmers selling fresh produce under the shade of graceful plane trees. Steve: I love slowing down. The arena still hosts colorful pageantry. It's a cooperative. Your ride is punctuated by a lock every mile or so. Van Gogh, coming from the gray skies and flatlands of Holland and Paris was inspired by everything Provençal — he claimed, "the whole future of art is to be found here in the south of France." Tour Account › Travel Forum › Home / Travel Forum / France; Please sign in to post. Before posting, please read our Community Guidelines. Mary and the apostles pray for the souls of the dead as they emerge from their graves. Where else can you canoe through such charming scenery and then under a nearly 2,000-year-old aqueduct? Unlike more bloody bullfights, in Provence the bull — who, locals stress, "dies of old age" — always prances proudly out of the arena. This perfectly preserved Roman bridge supported a canal, or "aqueduct," on the very top. In France, like almost anywhere in Europe, the fastest way from A to B is the autoroute — or freeway. The tiles, which last 300 years, are fired three times: once to harden, then to burn in the color, and finally for the glaze. Sabine: And you have your herbs of Provence, you have your dried sage, thyme, rosemary. Most have at least two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a bathroom or two. Centuries ago, the king made Aix the district's administrative center. This technique, first used here, became the basis of industrial manufacturing of iron throughout Europe. Watch fullscreen. Salads are popular. And also from their beds they could ponder the powerful symbolism of a painting that stood upon the altar — now displayed in an adjacent room. Written and hosted by best-selling guidebook author Rick Steves, each half-hour show takes viewers to Europe's most interesting places, from great cities to off-the-beaten-path discoveries. In 1309, the French-born pope Clement V decided to move the papacy from Rome to Avignon. You can still see the original stones, a thin layer of mortar that waterproofed the channel, and, after centuries of use, a thick mineral build up. Aix's university gives the city a youthful energy. This time I'm joined by my friend and co-author of my France guidebook, my favorite Francophile —Steve Smith. Its river was split into canals to drive waterwheels, which powered the town's 19th-century factories and textile mills. how-to video | log in | ricksteves.com . From Beaune, you're just 10 minutes from the heart of the vineyards on a rental bike. The abbey church is pure Romanesque and built to St. Bernard's specs: Plain facade, Latin cross floor plan, no colorful stained glass, unadorned columns — nothing to distract from prayer. The palace is pretty empty today — nothing portable survived both the pope's return to Rome and the French Revolution. 0:59. We love the markets and like I said, we go every other year. Steve's family owns a gîte. Romans grew wheat on the vast fields you can see from here, then brought it down to the mega-watermill of Barbegal, just outside what's now Fontvieille, near Arles. The canalside lane — built as an Industrial Age towpath — is ideal for jogging, strolling, or biking. Château de la Rochepot is closed through 2019, and possibly longer. For coronavirus (COVID-19) travel information, Rick Steves' Europe. In Burgundy a good nose is a life skill worth developing. The French eat long and well, especially here in the south. Rick Steves Classroom Europe - National Teacher Day. Vendor: Voilà. The hospice was not a place of hope. Stairs lead from the church to an oak-beamed dormitory where the monks slept — fully dressed, on thin mats. In Provence we have goat cheese, not cow's cheese. Noble French families moved in, kicking off the city's beautiful age, or "belle époque." You'll get up-to-date recommendations about what is worth your time and money. Six centuries ago Beaune was devastated by two terrible events: the Great Plague and the Hundred Years’ War — a drawn-out battle between France and England that embroiled all of Burgundy. The lovingly tended vines of the Côtes du Rhône — grown on the côtes, or hillsides, of the Rhône River Valley — make wines that are delightful on your palate, yet easy on your pocketbook. Sabine: Well, the first thing you have to decide: What's for dinner? But notice how both Michael and Jesus are expressionless — at this point, the cries of the damned and their loved ones are useless. The colorful glazed tile roof established what became a style recognized as typically Burgundian. While monastic life in Burgundy celebrates simple austerity, Burgundian rural living celebrates simple pleasures. Colette: Just exactly the same. And each piece of land in this area has got a different terroir. Sign up. Boules is the horseshoes of southern France. To support its denim producers, the city built an extensive system of industrial canals, which was ornamented with a lavish Versailles-type park. Rick: Huh! Nearby, the Arlaten Museum was founded to give locals an appreciation of their cultural roots. Within the Côtes du Rhône, villages like Gigondas have family-run wineries. Rich sounds of medieval carols abound, simple rituals are shared by families and friends, and when days are short and nights are long, it’s customary to leave a single candle flickering in the window. Rick: So, you go to a friend's house and they're serving some game with a spicy sauce and they come up with just an off-the-wall wine…you are aware of that? Helpful English information panels combine with the excellent audioguide to give a thorough and enjoyable history lesson. It forces to you to slow down. Rick: So, the quality of the wine can be different from here to 200 meters over there. Steve's wife, Karen, knows just what to do with the escargot we picked up in the Beaune market. Log in . Information displays, however, help put the pieces of the ruined building back together. These are the scant remains of an ancient Roman power station…channeling a river to turn their mills. The Maison Carrée rivals Rome's Pantheon as the most complete building surviving from the Roman Empire. Your admission fee includes a small room that displays a 3-D reconstruction of the bridge and your only chance to walk a bit of the ramparts. In this program, we climb Roman ruins in Nîmes, explore a papal palace in Avignon, and savor vivid views immortalized by Van Gogh in Arles. In the 13th century, the monks at Fontenay ran what many consider Europe's first metalworking plant. The Romans ingeniously harnessed maximum power from the water flow. But if you're in a hurry, they easily save enough time to justify the expense. 3:06. Until the present St. Peter's church was built in Rome, the church that stood here was the largest anywhere. The nonviolent "bullgames" are more sporting than bloody bullfights (though during Easter and the fall rice-harvest festival, the arena hosts traditional Spanish bullfights — look for "corrida" — with outfits, swords, spikes, and the whole gory shebang). This is part of a 30-mile long channel — a man-made river flowed through this for 400 years. The word "arena" actually means "sand.". We're on a mission: to buy the goodies for a lunch at Steve's country home a little later, and here in Burgundy, it's got to include a pile of snails. Video: Watch France's Dordogne, an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. The rolling hills of the Côte d'Or are blanketed by lovingly tended vineyards. Our hostess Colette is ready to demystify Burgundy's wines. Then you understand and appreciate the contrast. They lined the streets with private mansions giving Aix its classy appearance. They strove to be separate from the world, and this required the industrious self-sufficiency that these abbeys were so adept at. Colette: We name the wine, never with the name of the plant; we name the wine with the name of the place. Colette: The terroir, this is the earth, the character of the earth, a combination, a perfect combination of the geology, the earth character, the exposure to the sun, the altitude on the slope. Sicily serves up a full-bodied and tasty travel experience. A Message from Rick | … Inside, well-stoked fires heat the oak staves to make them flexible, and sweaty workers use heavy hammers to pound iron rings around the barrels as they've done since medieval times. Sur le Pont d'Avignon Another dimension of Burgundy's unspoilt charm is its characteristic medieval châteaux that stand royally atop hills as if they still rule their feudal domains. Colette: So different! Constructed near the end of the Middle Ages, when castles were built to defend, it was completed during the Renaissance, when castles functioned as luxury homes. This is part of a national effort to keep village life vital in an age when young people are being drawn to the big cities. Video: Watch Provence: Legendary Light, Wind, and Wine - an episode of the Rick Steves' Europe TV show. Its foreboding papal palace dominates the old town. Lyon, France: City of Capitals. 12 New Shows 2019-2020. On y danse tous en rond. A visit to Taizé can be a thought-provoking experience, particularly after a visit to Cluny. Burgundy, like much of France, is laced by canals dug in the early Industrial Age. It needs to suffer to produce grapes of character. Let's go inside. Colorful Rick Steves Pocket guidebooks like Rick Steves Pocket Paris are perfect when you have a week or less. Tour Account › Travel Forum › Home / Travel Forum / France; Please sign in to post. But a big room near the entrance functions as a museum, with artifacts (such as cool 14th-century arrowheads) and a good intro video, and you can climb the tower for grand views. Rick: I was thinking oboes and you've got French horns! $24.99 $49.99. Prime Video. In Roger van der Weyden's exquisite painting of the Last Judgment, Jesus presides over Judgment Day flanked by the lily of mercy and the sword of judgment. An ethereal light still bathes the interior. Like Nîmes, industrial Avignon was thoroughly water-powered. Rick Steves French, Italian & German Phrase Book, Rick Steves, Rick Steves. To enjoy any small French town at its vibrant best, it's worth visiting on its market day. The Abbey of Cluny was the ruling center of Europe’s first great international chain of monasteries. Rick: In Burgundy. You drink with food; you taste the wine naked. The city of Beaune makes a handy base for exploring Burgundy. Skip to main content.us. Its famous fields of lavender and sunflowers inspire painters. In the Middle Ages, Burgundy was the cradle of real monastic power in Europe. European Christmas DVD. Rick: So, you come into a place like this and you've got like, 50 different selections, how on earth do you know which wine you want? The nearby city of Avignon is famous for its papal palace and its broken bridge. Are you going to have, shall we have grilled meat, are we going to have game, a strong, you know, a strong meat with a sauce? Threndy? The medieval monks and powerful dukes of Burgundy laid the groundwork that established this town's prosperity. And it's not so strong. Listen to Lyon, France: City Of Capitals and 714 more episodes by Rick Steves' Europe Video, free! Laid-back lunches often come with a chilled rosé — the blush wines are considered refreshing. Over time, Cluny's rich and powerful abbots were tainted with the same corruption they'd originally opposed. Historians figure that this mill produced enough flour each day to feed 12,000 hungry Romans. I'm looking for a Merlot or Syrah or something like this… And when it's in your mouth, because you are tasting and not drinking, you will chew the wine. Visitors enjoy an intimate look at Provençal folk culture, and that includes traditional dress from the 18th and 19th centuries. The most dramatic remnant of Roman Arles is its arena. The lone statue is the 13th-century Virgin of Fontenay, a reminder that the church was dedicated to Mary. 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