We were approaching the end of our Provence stay and had one more daytrip planned: The Abbey de Senanque nestled below the hilltop village of Gordes. The Abbey road was treacherous—extremely narrow and hugging the mountain all the way down. I kept expecting a car to come tearing around the corner towards us. At least we were on the mountain side going down, I thought, but going back up would be another story. Only on the way out of the Abbey did I realize this was a one-way road, thank goodness.
Our French goddaughter Ines had put on her best summer dress and flats for the Abbey. We had not packed too many nice clothes, so we went in the best we could muster: white jeans and a white shirt for Alex; solid navy T-shirt and knee-length khaki shorts for me (it was daytime and hot out after all). Jen had shorts on too, but they were almost short-shorts. A big sign at the front of the Abbey displayed pictures of appropriate and inappropriate shorts, and Jen’s were pushing the limit—more Daisy Duke than Deity Duke.
We were fine outside the Abbey taking pictures, but on the way in there was a sign with drawings of appropriate and inappropriate attire. My shorts just made the cut, as they came to the knee. Alex and Ines were fine. Jen and her shorts could have modeled for the inappropriate drawing.
We looked around and noticed other similar, or worse, versions of inappropriateness going in, so we followed. Once inside at the ticket booth, Jen was given a serious once-over by the attendant, but he didn’t seem to be the dress-code-police type. Unfortunately, the previous tour had just left and the next one was not for another half hour. It was also a two-hour deal, all in French, and “Daisy Jen” didn’t know a lick of French beyond a southern-accented bonjour, so we decided not to wait.
Gordes seemed like the highest village we visited. Maybe it was the approach from the Abbey below, or the incredible perched-views of the village along the route. The town also stood out for its use of indigenous rocks. Similar to what they do with Tennessee stone in the nice countryside around Nashville, these rocks line every wall in Gordes in a uniform, but jagged, fashion.
We asked a local where the best view-spot was for a drink and he pointed to a bar tucked in a corner that we never would have noticed ourselves. “Don’t expect much for food, or service for that matter,” he said, “but the small deck in back has great views.”
Small was an understatement– this deck could barely fit three tiny round tables for two– but boy was he right about the views! After a ten-minute wait and some misunderstanding about ordering at the bar, or ordering from the table, we got our drinks and toasted. This was the life: I was sipping a cold Cigale beer (named for the cicada that was so prevalent in Provence); we had the best little hidden spot in town; and Jen’s Daisy Dukes may not have even been the shortest shorts in the place.