By the time everyone came back from the Truffle Farm and Grignon Castle I was bursting to get out and do some exploring. Being sick is awful, double that when away on holidays. Poor Muriel, as soon as she came back I was like “come on let’s go exploring in Viviers. ” A quick bite to eat and I was dragging her off the ship. Sorry Muriel.
What a wonderful little village it was. Full of surprises. This is one place I would really like to go and stay for a while.
As we turned the corner from the where the ship was berthed came across a tree-lined street. It was beautiful and so cool in the heat of the day. Napoleon is said to have planted trees all over Southern France for his troops to rest. Along the street are benches so even today one can rest. Although I don’t think the seats were around when Napoleon was. Thank you so much Napolene!
There were narrow laneways and given more time I would have loved to wander in and around them.
The street opened up into the Town Square. A gorgeous fountain was in the centre. It was very quiet, however we did go past some older men playing Boules. We could see people on the top of the hill. I even used my camera lens to zoom onto them. It looked interesting so decided to see if we could get up there.
Doors! Yes doors, I love taking photos of doors. So many interesting doors in this town.
Many shutters were closed to stop the heat from getting into the homes.
We didn’t notice for a while that we were actually slowly going up a hill. We even found a house to buy!
These little lane ways were like a maze. We passed some of our fellow cruise folks and they pointed us in the right direction to the Saint Vincent Cathedral. Its said to be the oldest Cathedral still in use. As we walked up the steps we were in awe. These photos do not do it justice. We asked the priest in broken English and French if we were able to take photos. He gave us permission to do so. I think it went a bit like this. I point to my camera and the tapestrys go click -click he nods and says Oui.
Behind the Cathedral is a wide open space with views so stunning, that at first I think we were both speechless. It was also very windy up there. Hang onto your hats for sure! You could see the Rhone River where our ship was berthed and also the Nuclear Power Stations that are scattered all along the Rhone. The roof tops of the old town just stunning.
We slowly made our way back down, clicking all the way. I look at how many photos I have of this village. Loads so lots will be uploaded onto Instagram. We even took photos of hotels that perhaps one day we could go back and stay.
Look at this picture below. Ignore me, I think I was still a bit seedy/sick. Isn’t it fascinating. Those walls and the archways. I’m glad it wasn’t raining. The cobble stones can be really slippery when wet!
We got back to the square and noticed by now a couple of cafes were open. Probably closed earlier during the heat of the day. As many small villiages still close between 12-3. I like that idea. Close the shop and go home for a nap.
As we approached the ship, many people were walking their dogs. There were 2 golden Labradors having so much fun in the river.
We boarded the ship for a well earned drink and get ready for dinner.
I am so glad that we went for a wander through this villiage. What a wonderful place it is. I feel very lucky to have been able to visit Viviers. I hope you the reader get that opportunity also.
Thank you for reading.
This was in our brochure from APT so I thought I would add it here.
Viviers is located in the southern Ardeche, south of Montelimar, on the banks of the river Rhone. In the 5th Century, Viviers became the seat of a bishopric and the town grew around the Cathedral of Saint Vincent, which dominates impressively over the town. In 1307 Viviers was attached to the Kingdom of France. Walls were built to shield the growing population from attacks during the 100 years War – a series of conflicts from 1337 – 1453 between the House of Plantagenet (rulers of the Kingdom of England) and the House of Valois, over control of the Kingdom of France. The 15th and 16th Century saw great growth and Viviers emerged as a leading town of the Bourgeois, grand houses were built, including the Maison des Chevaliers owned by Noel Albert, a rich merchant enriched by the salt trade on the Rhone. The important clergy and wealthy merchants would have lived in the upper town, close to the Cathedral, with the less important townsfolk living closer to the river. Like many medieval town, its best years and peak population 30,000 are well behind it, but a walk through sleepy Viviers is to take a walk back in time. Take a moment to imagine life in medieval France as you pass the old merchant houses and market squares on your climb up the steps, cobbled streets to the beautiful Cathedral at the top of the Town.