Thursday, July 30th ~ Viviers and cruising toward Avignon
The well written Uniworld brochure describes Viviers as:
“an enchanting village where time seems to have stopped centuries ago. Viviers has a long and storied history that goes back more than sixteen hundred years and a splendid architectural heritage to match.”
This was so evident in the stone buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, and medieval houses. Sycamore lined streets, some say planted to give shade to Napoleon’s soldiers, add charm and provide appreciated cover for us today.
The history tells of a division of the population based on religion, with the clergy living in the upper levels of the town and the masses down below. Our included 2.5 hour walking tour would take us past historic buildings, colorful windows adorned with flower boxes, slowly working our way up the hill to the fortified section for stunning panoramic views.
Here is a slide show to give you an idea of what the town looked like as we wound our way through it. The streets were surprisingly empty, with us only catching an occasional glimpse of locals as we passed through.
The Cathedral of Saint-Vincent is the smallest cathedral in France. The interior was certainly not as lavish as most of the cathedrals we have visited around the world. In fact, although nice, it was relatively unremarkable. But we were here to hear a very special organ concert.
But sometimes the best laid plans…
After we had taken a few minutes to examine the front of the church, snapped several pictures and settled into our seats, the concert was to begin. BUT, for the first time EVER, the organist was not able to get the organ to make a sound. He very apologetically announced that he would not be able to play for us.
Of course we were let down, but we mainly felt sad for the musician who was noticeable disappointed and embarrassed.
Oh well, moving on…
The evening before our cruise director, Emmanuelle, had promised us we would have a surprise on our morning tour. We were pleased to know that the non-concert was not the surprise she was referring to 🙂
So what was our surprise?
It was an invitation inside our local guides home. After seeing the stark exteriors of the buildings, it was a real treat to see what was behind those stone walls.
How lovely! I must say that her home was a hidden gem. She graciously invited us to wander around, check out each room, and then join her for a wine and cheese party on her private outdoor patio.
After returning to our ship, we set sail toward Avignon. As we slowly motored on, Tiffany and I both had a facial. What a relaxing time.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for those little unexpected moments. How fun it was to see “behind the walls” and get a wonderful insight into what life is like living in a small french village.
What a memorable visit, though sad for the organist. Until I joined our church choir a year ago, I hadn’t quite realised how complex an instrument the organ is. Sometimes the electricity that joins the keyboard to the pipes has to run under the floor across great distances. What a treat to be welcomed inside a local’s home, as well.
Seeing behind the walls was wonderful. It was a great surprise.
What a lovely experience! How was the wine and cheese?
I sure learn so much from your blog and photos.
The view from the fortified hilltop is gorgeous. What a treat to your 2 1/2 hour walk.
How lovely that Emmanuelle welcomed you into her home. Such an added bonus to your already beautiful day.
I just returned from my Uniworld trip and did have the privilege of hearing a concert by the talented musician who played for us in the cathedral. I was also fortunate to be in Frances’ tour group and treated to wander through her home and to enjoy a wine and cheese and homemade olives spread in her backyard. The organist came over to join the group at her home too. It sounds like you had a different guide but similar experience. Other groups did not get a visit to anyone’s home, so it really was special that some of us got to do that. The history of the house was fascinating as they hid people in secret rooms and passages during the war. It was a lovely town!!!
Laurie, I’m so pleased that you got to hear the concert that we missed. I agree that we were both the lucky ones who got to visit a local home. I hope you enjoyed your Uniworld cruise as much as we did!
I loved Uniworld! I’m usually cruising on Oceania, but 7 of us decided to do a river cruise (my first river cruise). We had a blast! Added a week before and after in France for an amazing 3 weeks trip. Started posting some of the photos and video clips on my open Instagram account (lmtaddonio).
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