Exploring Gordes France

Gordes South East France, France vacations
Gordes, France is located in the heart of Provence and facilitates an experience unlike any other in France. Due to its Roman beginnings—Provence was the first Roman province settled west of the Alps—the region has a unique culture compared to others within the south of France.  And during our new France: Slow Road Through Provencewalking vacation you’ll have the chance to experience much of this history while on a day trip to Gordes.

The commune of Gordes is located on a hilltop in southern France’s scenic Luberon region. It has served as an Roman Aquaduct Ruins-XL, Gordes Franceinspiration to artists like Marc Chagall and André Lhote, with its cobbled streets lined with close-set buildings that are made of honey-colored stone. History and beauty abound while walking the streets and it’s likely to stay that way, as any new buildings must be made from stone with terracotta roofs, all telephone cables are buried underground and no fences are allowed—just stone walls.  You’ll have the opportunity to take all this in as you walk through the commune during your free time on our walking vacation, and also bask in the sprawling views of the valley below. You can even see Roman relics that still exist today like the ancient Roman road that runs through the town, connecting Apt and Carpentras.

Abbaye de Senanque, Gordes France

One highlight for VBT Travelers is the walk from Gordes up to the nearby Sénanque Abbey, a 12th-century Cistercian Abbey set among lavender fields and oak groves in a small valley. Due to its unique placement in the valley, the abbey’s apse faces north rather than the typical liturgical east. Over the years the property grew and reached its heyday in the 13th and 14th centuries when the monks operated a handful of mills and granges on the property, as well as other estates within Provence. However, during the late 16th century the Hugeuenots looted the abbey and destroyed the monk’s quarters which effectively ended any residence at the abbey for hundreds of years before the abbey was resettled in 1854. Today, there is a small community of monks who live and work here cultivating honey and lavender on the abbey’s grounds.

To read more about France: Slow Road Through Provence vacation please click here. To request a walking catalog or learn more about any of our other exciting walking destinations from New Zealand to Yellowstone National Park to Italy and beyond, please visit http://bit.ly/VBTWalking2014. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868, available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.

Meet Rita: VBT’s Traveler of the Month for December 2013

Rita bt the coast

Recently we received a note from a traveler linking to her pictures from a biking vacation to Sicily. Turns out it was Rita Cary—Morning Drive DJ for 92.5 the River, Boston’s Independent Radio—who is also a longtime VBT traveler. Rita has been traveling with VBT since 2003 and has gone on both biking and bike & barge vacations with us, so we thought it would be fun to sit down with her and find out about how she learned of VBT and why she continues to travel with us on an almost yearly basis.

Rita loves to travel and often goes with avid bikers so an active vacation is the perfect fit. After traveling with bike ritasome other companies, she heard about VBT and decided to try a bike trip to Italy with us. She chose The Tuscan Coast because the vacation seemed to  “pack a lot of bang for the buck!” She—along with her tour group—really enjoyed the different route options which allowed Rita to take her time and enjoy the scenery while others on the vacation could challenge themselves with longer rides. Since that first vacation she hasn’t looked back and has been everywhere from Puglia to Vietnam to Spain and Croatia with VBT. What she really loves is that VBT “takes care of you from the minute you leave the airport” and arrive in your destination. Rita said she loves having local Trip Leaders that can offer insight into the best places to shop and dine when there is some free time off the road or trails. She also appreciates the knack VBT has for choosing nice hotels that really reflect their surroundings—especially the masserias in Puglia.

seafood ritaHer most recent trip to Sicily was actually the second time Rita had been to the Mediterranean island with VBT. She took our old Sicily: Island and Volcanoes vacation back in 2005 and was quite delighted to find how different, yet equally rewarding an experience the newer Sicily: Biking the Southern Coastal Villagesvacation is. Where volcanoes and the Aeolian islands highlighted her 2005 trip, Rita was more than happy to immerse herself in the warmth and nice summer beaches of the southeastern part of Sicily on the 2013 trip.

With her 10th vacation with VBT coming up this fall—she is going on our Heart of France Bike and Barge vacation with some friends she met on a previous VBT trip—we asked Rita what her favorite vacation has been so far. Although she has had a great time on her many trips, she said that traveling to Vietnam is an experience she’ll never forget.  While she appreciated the easier bike routes on the tour, it was the quality of the hotels and the cultural differences that really stood out.
ruins ritA