Easter Sunday, far from home… Both homes, that is.
Having had the experience of Paris on a Major Religious Holiday – nothing open, nothing doing – we asked the girl at the hotel for suggestions for the day.
No problem, she assured us. A small town not far away has a big antiques fair every Easter! It’s where everyone goes! We would LOVE it!
Or, there was also Fontaine de Vaucluse, she added as an afterthought.
We drove out to the little town. Saw people parking on the roadside 3 miles out of town. Crowds walking in tight packs toward the antique fair. Apparently, “everyone” meant the entire country of France…
We kept driving.
You had already guessed that, hadn’t you?
Unsure of exactly what we would find, but certain it would be better than the teeming mass of humanity we’d just come through, we pulled our rented car into the first public parking lot we came to.
And stepped out onto a calm, green Paradise.
After a restorative lunch, eaten in the shade of an old stone church, we set off to explore.
Vaucluse, the name of both the town and the département, comes from the Latin vallis clausa, or “enclosed valley.” The first historical mention of it comes from Strabo (58 BC – AD 25) in a Geography volume. Seneca (4 BC-AD65) mentions its surging spring as a site of worship.
It was this spring we were walking into the valley to see.
Along the way, we saw canals dug in Roman times.
As well as more recent additions. This water wheel is a reproduction of the ones that lined the river from the late 1600’s, used to power paper presses. A restored, functioning press uses the power generated by this wheel to make paper today.
We soon arrived at our destination: the source of the Sorgue river.
All of the rain and snow in an immense area filter down through this limestone plateau, where they come together in an underground river. At this spot, the river surges upward, into the light.
The spring’s depths are as yet unknown – even modern technology hasn’t been able to reach the bottom.
Like so many others before me, I had to get a closer look…
Unlike most of them, I also had a man with a camera to document it! (Look, Dad – Weezer got a new hat…)
A very Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom, Nana, and the Butterfly – it’s her first one, you know! – as well as all the other Moms out there who read this…