This is a picturesque cobbled street well away from the bustle of the main town, and feels completely different to it. Lined with mature plane trees, it runs alongside the canalised Sorgue River, with carved limestone blacks provide seating.
There are many large and splendid houses along the street, including house of Jules-François Pernod, founder of the alcoholic drink bearing his name. Many of the buildings are now cafes and restaurants.
From the C14th to the C19th this was the centre of the textile industry with power being provided by water wheels. Originally the main products were wool and silk. Later brightly coloured cottons were produced and the large number of dye works gave their name to the street. Now the industry has gone, but four of the waterwheels still survive although they no longer work.
On the corner of Ruse des Lices is the chapel and bell tower of a C13th Franciscan convent. Further along is the doorway into the Grey Penitents’ Chapel.
I had found reference to the street in several guide books which described it as ‘rural backwater.’ The industry has gone and it is off the usual tourist beat. It was very quiet the morning I explored and cafes were still shut. It made a pleasant change from the bustle of the main centre.
I visited here on the last morning of Burgundy, the River Rhone and Provence, a river cruise with Riviera Travel.
My full account with all the pictures can be found “here.”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/rhone/index.html here.