HVL Travels | An American in Paris | Part II

Last week, I posted the first installment of our Paris trip.  If you missed it, you can find it HERE.  Traveling has become one of my favorite things and once I get going, I just don't want to stop! During our weekend in France, we took the TGV train down to the Provence region of France.  It's much quieter and quainter in these small towns and was a nice little getaway.  We also learned a bit about Van Gogh's time here and ate at the Cafe Nuit, styled after one of his famous paintings.  

Arles

Arles

Arles Coliseum

Arles

Arles Coliseum

1. Provence - I had never heard of this area before, but it's beautiful and quaint and we were able visit several little towns with stunning vistas.  I wasn't aware of this before, but for all you art history people, Vincent van Gogh spent time in Provence.  He stayed at the asylum in Saint-Remy and painted while he was there.  We also swam in the Ponte du Gard - an old roman aqueduct (Great idea, Christy!). 

Arles

2. Locals - We stayed at the Hotel Bastide de Boulbon during our little excursion south and the hotel owners were the kindest people and gave us tons of great suggestions and even driving directions to help us see the best views.  They also pointed us in the right direction for an olive oil tasting at Moulin de Calanquet.

3. Driving - We had some excellent scenic drives while in Provence with a lot of thanks going to our Hotel owners.  It seemed relatively easy to get around, though we did get turned around quite a bit.  At one point we turned around in this nice older gentleman's yard and he noticed obviously that we spoke English and asked if we were British because he was going to ask us about the Brexit haha.  The nice part is, most of the intersections were round-a-bouts so if you need a second to figure out where you are, you can just look like a fool driving in circles.  

The Rhone

along The Rhone

4. Cars - I learned some new car brands while we were there.  Ever heard of Renault or Peugeot? I hadn't, but they're everywhere.  Though, I did find it odd that we saw a Ford dealership, but only saw one (just one) on the road. Hmmm.

Hotel Bastide de Boulbon

Hotel Bastide de Boulbon

Hotel Bastide de Boulbon

5. Bueno Bars - They're delicious.  Eat them and buy them in bulk at the "Franprix", but if you see some in the vending machine next to the TGV platform and your train is coming, do not be tempted! (KG and AG - you know who you are!) That train stops for about 60 seconds. 

Other things to buy at the grocery store - water bottles.  They're about 30 cents as opposed to 2 euro anywhere else.

Gordes

Gordes

Lavender fields in Gordes

6. Credit Cards - I liked that at a cafe or restaurant, they brought the credit card machine to your table.  It makes you feel secure and it's convenient.  Most credit card machines required chips - we're just about there here in the US, but if your credit card doesn't have a chip, you might want to bring one that does.  Also, cash is a commodity! Banks won't exchange currency for you and it costs about $5 any time you want to withdrawn from an ATM.  Some places don't take credit cards so save your cash when you can.  On our trip, I feel like we just kept owing each other (mostly Kimberly) money because whoever had the most cash at the time (Kimberly) was always picking up the tab.

Avignon

Avignon

There is still so much to see and tell you about, but you'll have to wait for Part III.  In the meantime, if you have any suggestions on where I should visit next, shoot me an email or tell me in the comments below!