L’on y danse
L’on y danse
Sur la Pont, d’Avignon
L’on y danse, tout en rond
Last weekend we took the train to Avignon. It’s the place with the unfinished bridge pictured above that the children’s song was written about. If you’d like to hear it, check it out on YouTube, the Avignon song. I’m sure it will be familiar to you. The bridge once had 22 arches, now it has four due to continual flooding of the Rhone River.
All week I’ve been thinking of how I can share our experiences without boring you with our personal photos and blah, blah, blah. How to keep the blog from being as boring as watching someone else’s home movies?
Here’s an idea, show more of this hunk. Doug is looking quite French in the Jardin du Rocher des Dome. It’s been interesting, three times this past week we’ve been stopped and asked for directions, in French of course. Hmm, do you suppose we truly do look French? Of course our response is ‘je ne parle pas francais.’
I’ve mentioned that the French make a point of looking nice when they leave the house. As opposed to this time of year in the states, many French women are still wearing white. Very interesting…
Avignon is not only known for the song about the unfinished bridge. It was also the Franco Vaticano or the home of the Roman Catholic Papacy for 94 years (1309-1403). This is when wine became prominent in Provence, i.e. Chateauneuf-du-Pape. A favorite appellation of Doug’s.
In Avignon Doug humored me as we visited the Musee du Petit Palais which houses many, many, many pieces of religious artwork from the Medieval era. After our walk through the pictures of Saints et al, we wound around the old city in the little tourist train flanked by women from Spain.
The next day we toured the Palais du Papes, the largest Gothic building in Western Europe, then through the Jardin du Rocher des Dome to the Pont (bridge) d’Avignon and a walking tour of the backstreets of Avignon. It was a 16,000+ step day if you’re counting. Some scenes below.
Entrance to the old, walled city of Avignon. Train station is right through the pillars.
Water wheels are still functioning in the city canals.
The train ride from Pierrelatte to Avignon was good. Much faster than what we rode from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. This was a forty minute ride. The people in the ticket booths spoke enough English to make buying our tickets a breeze.
A couple other noticings about France. Smoking is alive and well here. People aren’t allowed to smoke inside public places, however, most of the time during the day everyone sits outside. Sidewalk cafes are abundant. The French sit for hours at theses sidewalk cafes. We took a break and Doug had a glass of wine, I had a cafe for 2.8 euros or $3.15. Old rock is played everywhere. If you’re in a cafe/restaurant in one of these old buildings, bathrooms are tiny. Usually the wash area is shared between men and women. Sometimes toilettes are also shared. Even if they aren’t, the toilette space is so small there is no place to put a purse, rarely is there a hook on the back of a door. I have to always remember to leave it behind. Otherwise I’m juggling a bag and trying to pull my pants down then up. Yup, a real challenge in the provided space. And I’m short. Imagine!
Pedestrian exit from the city wall.
Chapel of the Black Penitents. The confraternities of Penitents were from the South of France. We live half a block from the Chapel of the white penitents. The primary role of the black penitents was to assist convicts in their final hours and provide for their burial. We also saw the Chapel of the Grey Penitents in Avignon.
View from the top of the Palace of the Popes.
My mantra for this year is “I am here.” Yes, I am here. This travel life can become lonely if you begin to focus on what you may be missing back where you’ve come from. It’s important to be present and remember I am here. We’ve been ‘here’ for just a month now and as we talk about what we still would like to see and do, it’s hard to imagine there will be enough time. Today, I am here.
I am here at the Friday Pierrelatte market. It’s cold here. I broke down and bought a sweater at the market. Now to find room in my bags for one more thing…
I am here with beautiful golden pomegranates
We spent time this week planning our next adventure. It’s getting cold here as it is for all of you in the states. With the wind it’s coat, hat, scarf and glove cold. Our time in Pierrelatte ends October 31. Then we’re off to spend a couple weeks farther south in France. We’ll see our former exchange student, Stella, in Saint Remy, where she will be vacationing and climbing in the Luberon. Then on to the French Riviera hoping to find a bit warmer temperatures. Maybe we’ll see some rich and famous.
After the Riviera we’ve planned a week in Paris. Our HomeAway is in the center of the city. The only catch to our plans is we are waiting to hear back from French Immigration to finish up our VISA paperwork. Hopefully that will happen between now and November 17.
November 17 we’re off to Lisbon then on to the Algarve. This is the coastal area in the south of Portugal. It won’t be swimming weather but sunny in the high 60’s. That’s as good as we can get without heading to the Canary Islands. Although that might not be a bad idea. We have a small apartment in Faro for two months. That should give us time to explore Portugal and southern Spain. This cold weather is just not fun anymore.
Well friends, I’ll leave you with a few more shots from Avignon.
This is the day the Lord has made,