We have been to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (the Venice of France) several times, and – on the advice of one of my nurses – decided to do a day trip to the source of the Sorgue River, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.
“The Source” was discovered in the village now named Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and is considered one of the natural wonders of Provence. The river begins underground in a closed valley above the village and develops into the river Sorgue, with tributaries that drain to the Vaucluse plateau, an area of around 800 sq. miles. This is a major sightseeing attraction in the area, and can be crowded, but, fortunately for us, the village was relatively empty of tourists when we arrived.
It took us about 40 minutes to reach the center of Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. It has a permanent population of around 600. Most of the commerce in the village is the restaurants situated around the river itself and the many tourist shops. Other than that, there is a speleologist’s museum, a history museum tracing the Resistance during WWII, and Museum Petrarque where the poet lived for 16 years.
Once we parked the car we walked down a steep incline, as the village/terrain is almost in a bowl. We decided to have lunch first, and then walk around the village. David had read that Fontaine was one of the most-visited towns in France and is usually overrun with tourists. When we arrived we found that it had very few tourists, but buses were arriving, so it seemed wise to dine before the tables at the restaurants filled up so we could get a table with a view. We had lunch at the Hostellerie le Chateau, a large hotel set overlooking the river. We got a front row table overlooking the Sorgue and some ducks that swam up and down, navigating the currents. I started out with a country salad (prosciutto, goat cheese, and tapenade) and David with salmon. For our main course, I had the sandre (a mild white fish) and David the trout. We both had Fromage Blanc with a raspberry coulis for dessert. We had a nice Tavel rose wine with the meal, which went well with all of the courses. The meal was just okay, and the service pleasant but extraordinarily slow. While the lunch was not terribly memorable, the views were great.
After lunch, we strolled around the village. Once you see the photos, you needn’t visit as that’s all there is to see. Good day trip though!
Then it was back to Eygalieres where we relaxed at the Cafe du Centre with a carafe of chilled white wine. We then hit the local store and bakery to get a few items for the mas, dinner, and breakfast in the morning.