Lost in Les Alpilles

Apr 1st, 2005, 11:30 AM
  #1  
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Lost in Les Alpilles

Perhaps a fool's errand, but I am trying to retrace my steps from a drive I took last summer leaving Les Baux de Provence and heading on the backroads toward Eygalieres. I'm fuzzy on my itinerary because I allowed myself to drift about a bit as the landscape moved me. I ended up chatting with some French people in a tiny hamlet where I had stopped, and they offered to show me a different way to drive toward Eygalieres, so I may have been off the map, at that point. I remember that not long after leaving the village, we began climbing a very narrow serpentine road that carried not too many cars but a higher number of bicyclists. I would like to go back there this summer and bike that stretch myself. It eventually led to Eygalieres, but by what route, I know not.

I am trying to rediscover the name of the tiny hamlet where I had stopped, which may have been on D78 or perhaps was in fact the village of Le Destet, heading on D24N. At a market on the left side of the hamlet I bought a bottle of Sweet William's Poire juice for my son (yet to be consumed and still on our pantry shelf)and a small basket of raspberries, which I consumed all the way to Les Bories! I also purchased a few postcards and very deliberately kept the paper bag that the postcards came in as it carried the name of the tiny hamlet, but I seem to have equally successfully lost the bag in the detritus of my home office!

The problem is that I really don't recognize the name of any of the Michelin towns along the way, and I am told by a biking service that promotes travel in Provence that the tiniest hamlets aren't likely to be on the Michelin map.

So, at the suggestion of the biking service, I have written the Office of Tourism for Les Baux to see if I can find a more detailed way of exploring the region to find my lost hamlet. But I wonder if any of you know of ways to get an even more focused map than Michelin offers.

Any cartographers out there?
letour is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 11:42 AM
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Les Baumettes leads into Eygalieres (just before Destet) Coming from the other side is Branquay.
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 01:45 PM
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We stayed in Eygalieres two years ago exploring the area for a month. One day, we drove from Eygalieres south down along the very narrow winding D24 through le Destet and les Baumettes (which I think, as Cigalechanta mentioned, may be your magical Brigadoon). We didn't encounter many cars, but there certainly were lots of bikers!

I pulled out the maps we used ... the most detailed map that I have is from Institut Geographique National - map number is Vaucluse #84 ... scale 1:125,000. It shows all of the tiny backroads in the area. I'm sorry, but I have no idea where I picked up this map ... I suspect I may have bought it in St.Remy ... maybe if you google it, it is available online.
Smudge is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 02:54 PM
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Where did you stay in Eygalieres, Smudge, I stay there every year at several places.
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 1st, 2005, 11:51 PM
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Hi Cigalechanta (I do love your name!). We rented a house (named Le Reynaude which is located about a mile west of the village and sits in the middle of a fruit orchard. We adored Eygalieres and we fully intend to go back again ... we spent a lot of happy hours at that little cafe on the corner sipping vin de pays and enjoying village life.

We are leaving in two weeks for another month in Provence. We seriously considered going back to Eygalieres but, for a couple of reasons, we decided to base just outside Chateauneuf de Grasse this time.

I've been following your posts on this board for a couple of years and I appreciate your many great Provence suggestions ... I have been making copious notes! Thank you!
Smudge is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 03:16 AM
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I can't think of any "hamlet" that has a shop between Les Baux and Eygalieres... les Calans (on the D78 - just before you go up and over the hill)
nor le Destet have shops. When you say market - do you mean like a fruit & vegetable stand ? Those pop up one year and may not show up again the next.
Otherwise I can only think you went as far as Aureille on the D24A before going on to Eygalieres.

I live on the road just below the D78 - the D5. If I can help you with information on bike routes, feel free to email me.

Patricia
PBProvence is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 05:23 AM
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Thank you all so much for your suggestions! Your feedback has sent me back several times to my Michelin 332 Local map of Drome and Vaucluse. It's become something of an investigation for me, so I appreciate your collective thoughts!

Patricia, your feedback about Les Calans and le Destet would seem to very helpfully eliminate them from consideration. Perhaps the village was larger than I realized, but the part that I traveled through, as my memory serves me, seemed pretty small. On the right was a row of small shops, including a shop for buying post cards, maps, stamps etc. Further down, toward the end of this line of shops was what I think someone described as a kind of galerie that was having an exhibition. The women whom I encountered while asking for directions suggested that I wait for them to visit the galerie and then they would lead me in the easiest route for Eygalieres. On the left side was another row of shops and somewhere in the middle was a magasin which sold fruits,juices, etc. I can't remember what other stores surrounded it, but you had to walk up some high stairs to get into the fruit store. (This sounds more and more like a dream, I know, Sorry!)It wasn't long after leaving the village that we started climbing up a winding road and I think perhaps that they were showing me a shortcut on a less marked road leading to Eygalieres. I think that it was a less developed road--would GR6 be passable? In which case, Patricia, I wonder if your suggestion of Aureille makes more sense. I just don't remember that name. I know that I looked down at the name on my lost bag from the store where I bought my postcards and map, and I thought that the name on the bag was something different from Aureille. But memory is a funny thing!

I am not sure, but I may have the vaguest recollection of seeing a large clock face upon entering the area, but it's possible that I am confusing that detail with some other moment on the drive.

Boy, next time, I am going to keep a travelogue! But somehow, I enjoy the serendipidity of exploring and I was to a degree trying to keep an eye on the clock, as I was wanting to drive through some of the Luberon en route, eventually to the Drome, where I was to spend the night that night, following the Tour de France.

Lastly, Smudge, it's funny that you mention Le Reynaude, as I had explored that house as an option a few years ago for a previous trip. I think that it was taken already, but I still have the info. on it (I do keep some things!) because it intrigued me.

In reference to the thread about screen names, I might parenthetically add that the only other Smudge whom I know is a cat! We were house exchanging several years ago and our host in Bovington, England was a wonderful cat named Smudge! We thought it was a great name, and it clearly is a name with international roots!

Thank you again for your helpful thoughts! Cigalechanta, I too am enchanted by the sound of the cigales!



letour is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 06:00 AM
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Letour ... Smudge is the name of one of my five cats ... I guess I'm really not very inventive with names because I tried to register on Fodors first with two of my other cats names, and both of those names were taken. My problem now is that I'm registered on different sites with different cat names ... and of course I can never remember which cat goes with which site!

Good luck with your quest of rediscovery.
Smudge is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 07:21 AM
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Smudge, that's the Le Progress cafe. Onc you know them they are so nice. They send us a Christmas card every year and we got to know all the locals and that's like going home and the nearest thing I'll have to living there. I never tire of passing the chapel St Sixtus. Have you dined around the corner at Petite Bru? Everywhere in that village, the people are so warm.
cigalechanta is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2005, 08:43 AM
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Cigalechanta ... that's it ... Le Progress! One of the reasons we spent so much time there was because they were so friendly and made us feel so comfortable. We got to chat a lot with one of the waitresses ... Christella. She practiced her English on us ... and helped us struggle with our French.

And yes, we had lunch a number of times at Petite Bru ... we really liked the cooking there. We had dinner at Chez Bru one evening but were a little disappointed ... I think maybe we didn't order well. We also had a couple of lovely lunches at Sous les Micocouliers.

I completely agree with you with the warmth of the people. We had our 30-something daughters and sons-in-law with us ... it was the first time in France for all of them and they loved the "living in the village" experience. They are all coming with us to Chateauneuf de Grasse and I am just a tad concerned that Eygalieres may have spoiled them. I'm sure they will have a good time, but it won't be the same village feel.



Smudge is offline  
Apr 4th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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Thanks, everyone. Dilemna solved, I believe. Thanks to your good efforts and some additional research, I think that my misplaced town was indeed, as Patricia suggested, Aureille.

Hurray for Aureille!
letour is offline  

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