Lyon to Aix-en-Provence 9/28/17

Today we left the Lyon area with the intention of making it to Marseilles but willing to see where the day took us.  We decided to let the car GPS pick the meandering route and although we resorted to the highway later in the day, we were glad of that decision.  What we were treated to on our slow route was an amazing drive next to the beautiful Rhone river.  It is huge, it looked as big to us as the Seine in Paris.  I wanted to get a picture so badly but there is no place at all to stop on the narrow road with little to no shoulder without a risk to life and limb so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  One interesting thing was that we saw absolutely no water traffic on this large river for the many hours that we drove beside or nearby it.  Nothing at all.  It is clear that all the charming villages along the way had originated from the commerce that would have been aided by the river’s presence but today there was nothing on the river at all.  Hmmm, guess I’ll have to do a google search on that one.

Anyway, we were treated to a fantastic drive though the Northern Rhone wine country, the river on our right and fairly steep hills covered with grape vines on our left. We passed acres of vineyards and orchards of fruit trees.  We wanted to stop for coffee and just by chance pulled over at a little place called L’Hermitage. This place just happens to be very well known as one of the world’s best producers of Rhone wines.  We wanted coffee, which we got, and then walked by this fabulous looking wine shop and I said to Jack, “Let’s go check it out”.  Good decision.

IMG_3474.JPGJack with the box holding our purchases. 🙂

Off we went on our meandering a cote-de-rhone…

One thing we noticed the last few days of our road trip is seeing a lot of nuclear power plant cooling stacks in the middle of all this beautiful country.  Today was no exception.

IMG_6325.jpgEvidently, France is one of the biggest utilizers of nuclear power in the world. Who knew? (Jack did).

We searched for a bit for a place for lunch but then resorted to a time-honored road trip secret of looking for a big supermarket, buying some staples and eating in the parking lot.

IMG_6320.jpgIMG_6319.jpgI’ve had many worse lunches and the store turned out to be very inexpensive.  The demi-baguettes (there were 6 but we ate 2 before the picture) were only half a Euro for all and they were quite good.  This type of thing is how one can actually afford to be in Europe for a month, also, we had busted our budget at the wine store.

It was about time to get on the toll road and start blasting away since we were still several hours away from Marseilles.  I had alway wanted to see Aix-en-Provence which was only slightly out of our way so we headed there to check it out.  It is a university town, about 30,000 students attend school there so that changes the energy of the place.  Since I live in a university town myself, I like that kind of thing and I found myself feeling at home.  The city center is lovely, old buildings and narrow streets.

IMG_6332.jpgAs you can see, we had a gorgeous sunny day today.  I think it got close to 80 degrees.

IMG_6337.jpgHappy campers.

We decided to check out the museum there which has an impressive collection of impressionists in a show at the moment but unfortunately, we arrived at 5 thinking the museum was open till 7 but discovered that it closed at 6 and we would not be able to see the new impressionist show until tomorrow.  We looked at what was in their permanent collection, sculptures and paintings, some paintings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries.IMG_6339.jpgJack at the entrance to the museum.

IMG_6341.jpgWe both got a good chuckle out of this one.  I know it is Jupiter but can’t shed light on anything else about it. It is huge, almost mural size.

After the museum and a beer, we thought we would just stay the night in Aix-en-Provence and head to Marseilles in the morning.  Looking forward to seeing the Mediterranean tomorrow.

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