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Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Provence, France

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is a small town in Provence, located about 20 km east of Avignon, where the largest karst spring (source of water flowing out from under the rock) in France and fifth in the world is located. In addition, the town is also known because of the poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) who lived here. Most likely he created ​​famous sonnets to Laura in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse.

Parking in Fontaine-de-Vaucluse

The town provides several parking lots. The first one is located at Route de Cavaillon (PC; GPS: 43.919396, 5.127059), and is the largest so therefore we suggest to leave the car here as it may be that other parking lots will be full. Then you can move on foot about 200 meters along the Route de Cavaillon street, passing in the Av. Francois Petrarque street to find yourself on a bridge over the river Sorgue, which is located practically in the town's center. Next parking lot - Verdun (PV; GPS: 43.921714, 5.125117) - is located at Av. Robert Garcin. Finally, the last three parking lots (P1; GPS: 43.923264, 5.126190, P2; GPS: 43.922464, 5.127010 and P3; GPS: 43.922197, 5.126436) are located next to each other in the Chemin du Prieure and Jean Moulin streets. You can enter them either from the main roundabout, located nearby the bridge, or from the Jean Moulin street.

The home of Francesco Petrarca and the bridge

Walking along the Route de Cavaillon street, you pass on the right (just before the bridge over the river La Sorgue) the house (A; GPS: 43.921946, 5.128330) - the home of Francesco Petrarca. Today it houses a museum (admission: 3 €, children under 12 come for free). Then you can go to the bridge (B; GPS: 43.921954, 5.127788) and enjoy the view of the flowing river and neighbouring buildings. The rivier is very clear. There grow green plants in the water, so it seems the water itself is green. Next to the bridge there is a water mill.

The paper manufacture

After turning to the right on the roundabout you can enter the path that leads to the source of the river La Sorgue. On the right you can see the entrance to the underground gallery of shops (C; GPS: 43.922684, 5.128877), offering between others glassware and crystalware. If you have a little luck, you'll see their creation live. Going forward, you pass the Vallis Clausa paper mill that produces the paper using old medieval technology. We go out to the surface next to the water mill (D; GPS: 43.921483, 5.130414), which is the propel mechanism for the paper manufacture.

Toward the source of the river La Sorgue

The road changes to the path (E; GPS: 43.920942, 5.131248), pleasantly shaded by plane trees. You can go down to the riverbank and admire its colors. A source in the spring time is very efficient, which results in the formation of local waterfalls. However, later or in case when the spring was dry, the main stream dries. Water flows in this case using other routes.

You come to the source (F; GPS: 43.918546, 5.132461). In the spring, it forms a small lake, from which the water flows in the form of babbling waterfall. In summer the water has significantly lower level.

The church of St-Véran

There is a Romanesque church of St-Véran (G; GPS: 43.921705, 5.125996) in the town, built in the eleventh century. Nearby the church we can see a monument, depicting the Saint Véran's fight with the monster Couloubre.

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