Vineyards in Gigondas
Rick Steves has steered us correctly again. He suggested Gigondas as a nice place to visit for wine tasting. Only 700 people live in this little village. Among them we found a great cook and his restaurant. We had a delicious lamb dish with the local wine then went to the nearest shop for a wine tasting. The region began to grow wine after great frosts in 1929 and 1957 destroyed the ancient olive trees. Today the area puts more than five million bottles on the market each year. They are described as powerful and generous, robust and well-balanced.
Orange, Roman Theater
The day was still young and and Orange was on the way home. We stopped to check out the Roman Theatre. The Theatre is described as the most impressive still existing in Europe. I would have to agree. The Theatre thrived as a major role player in disseminating Roman culture. The people spent great amount of time there watching plays, pantomimes, poetry readings, etc. that lasted all day. But, as the Roman Empire declined, Christianity became the official religion and closed the theatre. The church regarded the performances as uncivilized spectacles. By the Middle Ages it became a refuge for the townspeople from the religious wars. They built and incorporated housing into the spaces and Great Wall. In the 1800s excavation began to remove the housing and restore the Theatre. Today all the seating has be restored as have major parts of the stage, orchestra and walls. Today the Opera Festival is held here. Pictures of our day at flickr.