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Tarascon Tour

Is a visit to a castle on your bucket list? It was on our friend, Jerry’s, and he was especially excited when the opportunity presented itself on day 2 of our Viking River Cruise. After a tasty lunch onboard, we set off on foot to see Tarascon Castle, or Château de Tarascon, as it’s called in France.

Rebuilt by Louis II, Louis III, the Dukes of Anjou, and the Counts of Provence in the early 1400’s on the site of the previously destroyed castle, Tarascon Castle was used both as a residence and a military base. When the castle was later converted into a military prison, graffiti engraved by prisoners appeared on the walls and is still evident today. None of the sumptuous furnishings that would have once filled the space remain but one can imagine how resplendent it looked.

Jim and Jerry on the bridge at the entrance to Tarascon Castle

Tarascon Castle

Jerry at the Castle door

The old moat

Tarascon Castle

Tarascon Castle gardens

Tarascon Castle

Tarascon Castle

Studying the brochure


Salle des festins where banquets were held, Tarascon Castle

I was fascinated to see the toilet that emptied down the side of the castle wall

View across the river to ruins of Beaucaire Castle from Tarascon Castle

View of the town of Tarascon from the top of the castle

Decorative drain spout at Tarascon Castle

Jerry and Lori on the roof of Tarascon Castle

View of the Rhône River from the roof of Tarascon Castle

View from the top of Tarascon Castle with the Viking Buri on the right

View across the top level of Tarascon Castle

View of the garden from the top of the castle

After making it all the way to the roof and back down, we discovered we hadn’t visited all the rooms so we went back through to see what we had missed. The rooms containing graffiti engraved by prisoners were some of the most interesting to me.




Jim and I at Tarascon Castle

Jerry told us his first visit to a castle exceeded his expectations and he looked like he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Jerry at the end of our visit to Tarascon Castle

When we left the castle, we continued into the town of Tarascon.

Jim, Jerry, and I walking in medieval Tarascon

Another view of Tarascon

The Church of Sainte-Marthe was built on the site where Martha, sister of Lazarus and Mary, lived in Tarascon. According to the Golden Legend, after the resurrection, Martha traveled to Provence and preached the word and converted the people to Christianity. She also tamed a fierce dragon, the Tarasque, by sprinkling holy water on him, after which the people of the town killed the dragon. Sainte-Marthe’s relics are entombed in the church.

Church of Sainte-Marthe

Interior of Church of Sainte-Marthe

Interior of Church of Sainte-Marthe

Crypt of Sainte-Marthe

Sarcophagus of Sainte-Marthe

After a full day of touring first Arles then Tarascon which racked up more than 15,000 steps on my Fitbit, we were more than ready for dinner that evening. We decided to take our waiter’s recommendation and ordered the chef’s choice. We enjoyed a delectable dinner accompanied by French wine and authentic French bistro music.


Lobster and shrimp bisque



Poached asparagus with prosciutto, ricotta panna cotta, quail egg, and balsamic reduction    






Soufflé au chocolat


Following dinner, we enjoyed nighttime views of the Bridge of Avignon as we returned to the city where we would begin day 3 of our cruise.

Based on events from October and November 2016.



Tarascon Castle brochure obtained at the castle


























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