Most of the time when we take day trips while traveling, we’ll decide on our final destination and then fill our day with things that are along the way. On this day, one of our last in this area of Provence, we had received an invitation to have lunch in Avignon. It was a special invitation, which we couldn’t pass up, as you’ll see further down in this post, so we worked it into our schedule and planned a whole day around it. Our first stop was the hilltop town of Venasque, about a 45 minute total detour. Afterwards we headed to Avignon, for our lunch invitation. Finally, we spent the rest of the day wandering through Avignon, capped off with meeting my dear friend, Rose and her fiance for dinner at La Mirande.
Before arriving in Venasque we knew only that it had received ‘Les Plus Beaux Villages’ designation, which is an accolade given to small villages in France that are known for their beauty. There are around 150 villages in France that are part of this association and each of the villages that we visited all lived up to their reputation. In fact, that’s how we discovered a few of the great small villages we visited. Venasque sits on a point of a cliff, so both sides look down at the valley. At one point we stumbled onto a bed and breakfast, which we thought was a cafe, the owners, seeing our confusion, were quite happy to invite us in to come see their impressive view. Unfortunately we didn’t get the espresso and croissant we were looking for, but did snag a few photos and made note of the darling Inn for our next trip.
As we were walking through the town, we noticed one pottery shop, and then another, and then another. It was clear that there was a theme going on. We searched through a few shops until we discovered one called Atelier de Camille that had a lot of designs we wanted to take home with us. With only so much space in our bags, we bought two blue and white bowls, (which I’ve used everyday that we’ve been home) and a gorgeous blue and white pitcher (that I’ve been using as a vase). After finally finding that croissant and espresso we were looking for, we got in the car and headed towards Avignon.
At the beginning of our trip, I had received an invitation from a reader to come visit and have lunch at their home just outside of Avignon. They gave a little bit of a backstory, sharing that they bought the 18th century farmhouse a few years ago and have been restoring and renovating it ever since. After looking at some of the images, Thomas and I couldn’t wait to see it in person. The home owners generously invited us over for a wonderful lunch and we got a tour of the exquisite property- it is an absolutely dream. Every inch of the place is beautifully decorated- I was in love from the moment I walked in! You can also follow along their Provence journey on Instagram over here.
After our lunch, we made our way into Avignon for an afternoon of exploring. Two years ago, we spent one night in Avignon at La Mirande, but it was during their summer festival, a time when the city is flooded with people, so we felt like we hadn’t actually seen the city. It was one of the warmest days of the trip, so we made sure to take an ice cream break. In fact it was so warm that my ice cream in this photo didn’t last much longer, leaving pistachio ice cream all over my hands, a very sweet shop owner noticed my struggles and he invited me into his restaurant to let me wash my hands (it was so sweet and I was so grateful!).
A little later we met up with Rose and her fiance for a relaxing dinner at La Mirande. Like always when we get together with them, we have the best time and were for sure the loudest group at the restaurant!