May 11, 2014 – Vienne environs

We start today with the incredibly expensive breakfast at the hotel. It’s a special treat for Mother’s Day. The eggs especially are cooked about as perfectly as you can cook a scrambled egg.

We want to go up to see the castle ruins above the city but we are told at the front desk that part of it fell down recently so it is no longer open to the public. Another great vista point, however, is the Belevedere at Mont Pipet. We drive up there and are treated to sweeping panoramas of the valley and the Rhone River.

The view looking south down the Rhone
The view looking south down the Rhone

The view looking north up the Rhone
The view looking north up the Rhone

The massif Pilat in the background
The massif Pilat in the background

View of the castle ruins
View of the castle ruins

Tower of Phillip the Fair (Phillipe le Bon), king beginning 1285
Tower of Phillip the Fair (Phillipe le Bon), king beginning 1285

Our main concentration of the day is the Gallo-Roman Museum.

Omnia Gallia est divisa in tres partes – the opening sentence of Caesar’s commentaries on the Gallic wars. Vienne was an important outpost on previously conquered parts of modern France. When Caesar started his campaign to conquer the other three parts was begun in 58 B.C., the thriving city of Vienne would have been important as a supply depot. The area around Vienne had been brought under Roman rule about one hundred years previously and it was a decidedly Roman city with amenities rivaling those of cities in Italy.

Romain-en-Gal, across the river from Vienne, is still being excavated. The museum and outdoor museum display various artifacts and the layout of the town.

Mosaic floor
Mosaic floor

Mosaic
Mosaic

Before the day is over, we also are interested in a place called the Isle of Butter. It is a natural area within the Parc du Pilat which extends all the way to the river here. Who wouldn’t want to see an island of butter. As it turns out, we walk down a path in the woods along with chirping birds and beautiful flowers to overlooks onto the Isle of Butter. The butter, though, is the way beaver used to be written. So it is really the Isle of Beaver. We didn’t see any beavers or sticks of butter floating by but it was a nice walk.

Entrance to the Isle of Butter walk
Entrance to the Isle of Butter walk

Beautiful red poppies are everywhere
Beautiful red poppies are everywhere

Later, we eat at the bistro at the hotel again since there doesn’t appear to be anything else open on Sunday. The meal is semi-successful.


Tomorrow we head to Provence and a self-catering apartment for 5 days. I am looking forward to fixing some of our own food and relaxing. It has been a food and sightseeing intense vacation so far.

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