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3 Gordes - the heart of Provence If there is one place on the bucket list of most visitors to Provence, it has to be Gordes. It’s almost like going to Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tour, it is the iconic Provencal village. The best way for your first experience of Gordes is from afar at the lookout point, because once you are in the village, your perspective is completely different, and you simply can’t appreciate the grandeur upon which you stand. Exploring the nooks and crannies and hidden secrets of this picturesque hill top town will enchant you. Cobblestone streets, a majestic 16th century chateau and mellow, yellow stoned houses make this the town the poster boy for Provence. Take time to view the lower fountain where 400 shoemakers worked until the 19th century, when an earthquake deviated the underground water sources and ruined their businesses. Go underground and discover the Caves of Saint Firmin where dedication and hard work by a local family unveiled silos, vats and an olive mill - 7 floors under the main house! The environs of Gordes are truly marvellous, such as the Cistercian architecture of the Abbey de Senanque where the monks harvest lavender from the fields that surround it. Relax in the dry-stone huts, known as bories, that pepper the landscape and offer respite from the sun for those who choose to hike one of the many glorious trails.
4 Cassis - The fishing village “Charlemagne’s Crown” is to be found in captivating Cassis - the coronet shaped cliff hovers over the harbour offering protection. The coloured facades and wooden fishing boats bobbing on the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea are like the jewels in the crown. With this spectacular setting before you while you indulge in heavenly Bouillabaisse, you will understand the words of the 19th century writer Frederic Mistral “He who has seen Paris and who has not seen Cassis, has seen nothing at all!” The white wine from Cassis is considered a cru (the best) and was one of the first to be classified as AOP (Protected Appellation Origin). For perfect relaxation, sit at a café sipping white wine and then relax on the beach. Cassis has many benches for wanderers to rest, so if you didn't bring your swimsuit, you can still chill and watch the world go by. The morning market is on Wednesdays and Saturdays and if you stay overnight, wake up early to see the fisherman arrive to sell their catch of the day. A drive up to the top of Cap Canaille, the highest coastal cliff in France - and one of the highest in Europe, is one more highlight you won't want to miss: you’ll have the most spectacular view of the Mediterranean coastline.
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