Wednesday, 29 June 2011


Taking the TGV (Train a Grand Vitesse) to Avignon was quite an experience.  No security check, no ticket check, no bureaucratic hassle - it truly lived up to its name.  Avignon was three and a half hours south and 10 degrees warmer.  Our host Francis picked us up at the station and walked us the long way round to the modern apartment in the 17th century house where we would be staying for the next two days.  The detour was to show us the Papal palace, practically our next door neighbour.  I was worried the wheels on our luggage would break on the cobbled streets but they survived.  You see below the house and the street leading up to the Palace.

5 Rue du Gal

The Papal Palace was vast and awesome, particularly when you think of the history of the popes associated with this era of chicanery and intrigue - the stuff of great historical fiction, which came back to me as I drifted through the medieval hallways and secret passages.  There also happened to be an outstanding exhibition of contemporary paintings on bridges in the great chapel.  The French are very supportive of the arts this way - many historical sites have art exhibitions installed, giving the artists a lot of exposure and bringing art to the masses.  But for the architecture photographer, not so great.

Support for the artist was also outside the Palace - musicians rotated through the Place and we were pleasantly surprised by this excellent guitarist playing all our favourites, including the classic Romance.  What a backdrop!

The famous Pont d'Avignon
The local story has it that while the dancing was "Sur le pont" the action was actually all "sous le pont".  Here we found a couple not quite making out, but sitting quietly enjoying the view.

View of the Rhone and that other bridge from the chapel below the bridge

What seems like an affluent residential section of Avignon with walled gardens and courtyards

The lush green wall of Les Halles, the daily market

Inside Les Halles, your choice of spices and shrimps (I have never seen so many varieties).  But when asked, the honest fish lady told me they were previously frozen; so we bought Mediterranean fish instead.  The "loup" was outstanding!

The old town was enclosed by this great wall 

Avignon at sunset - you can still take pictures at 9 pm!

The next post - Avignon Museums


  1. oh ma that shot of the Rhone from the chapel is breathtaking!

  2. Tks! That was a staged shot - since there was no one around, I half-closed the gate to help focus on the view.