Sunday, May 13, 2018

Water, water everywhere from the Sorgue

On the last day of a weeklong stay in Avignon, we made a day trip to see the Sorgue river. We took the bus to L'Isle sur la Sorgue, then walked (no buses AT ALL until later in the summer) to the source at Fontaine de Vaucluse.  It was a very windy day, so no bicycling for me. For someone that associates wind with natural disasters such as typhoon and hurricanes, I have been learning and getting used to the Mistral here. I am glad to have made this trip.

Even though the name of the source is Fontaine, it is not what I thought of a spring with fixed output.  Instead, Fontaine de Vaucluse has unknown depth and indefinite origins, its output is associated with snowmelt and rainfall.  On this day in the first week of May, there was a lot of water.  No wonder they have over a hundred weirs to manage the river.  In L'Isle sur la Sorgue, it was great fun going around to look at old water wheels (both for water and power).

Furthermore, a part of our walking route took us along the banks of the Carpentras Canal which takes water from the Durance river 69 km from Mallemort to Carpentras.  It was super cool to walk on its viaduct over the Sorgue.  John and I both find all this water management fascinating.  I guess at core it is a manifestation of civilization.

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is such a watertown that the Tourist Office's self-guided tour is of the town's 13 or so waterwheels + the church....Here are a few waterwheels.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

Sun-Ling leads the walking tour.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

Near the bus stop.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

This wheels was used by a convent to water their vegetable garden.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

Upstream, just at the edge of city center, is a pond called "the basin" where the water from the Sorgue is dispersed around town. A lovely spot.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

We continue upstream a kilometer or so following the road and bikeway. The clear moving water is invigorating to the soul.
Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Then farther upstream the river is diverted by weirs into two distinct flows. From here we head west and north to follow the road to the Carpentras Canal.
Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Walking along the manmade Carpentras Canal with its pleasant path was full of surprises: a golf course, nesting swans, and the canal aqueduct over the River Sorgue.
Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Took this shot during our lunch break.
Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Swan's nest at left.
Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

As we near Fontaine Vaucluse and the Sorgue river, we find that the Carpentras Canal is not diverted from the Sorgue as we thought, but instead crosses over it (and a road) on a bridge. Wow! And one can walk over the canal bridge. Wow!
Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Walk from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

And great views below to the Sorgue river waterworks and weirs.
Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Time to head up to the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse. Following the Carpentras Canal will have to wait until another day. So we climb down to the road and walk up to the Fontaine going under the canal bridge.
Canal de Carpentras - Walking from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Once in the town of Vaucluse, we spot a bench that demands we take another break. ;-)
Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

A lower pool where weirs control the flow.
Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Along the last stretch towards the source, there is a museum and of course a cafe/resto.
Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

And finally the source; the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.
Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

It's a dramatic setting, with water rushing along, and a Chateau above.
Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

On the 10 kilometer walk back to L'Isle we see some canoeists about to enter the Sorgue.
Canoes - River Sorgue - near  Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

Sun-Ling's Van Gogh-ish photo.
Walk from L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, France

We take a detour to a Fishing Club outpost along the Sorgue. Very peaceful.
Along the Banks of the River Sorgue - L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France

Arriving in Avignon, we see green leaves in the gutters, evidence of the strong Mistral winds of the day.
After the Mistral - Avignon, France

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