Avignon


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Europe » France » Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur » Avignon
November 26th 2021
Published: November 26th 2021
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I said this was a Fancy Schmancy trip and that fanciness started with flying business class. I really liked sitting in business class. Business class was a two three two configuration. John and I were facing each other with him facing forward and me facing backwards. Instead of a seat, we each had our own pod. They were very comfortable, and we could lay flat or sit up. We were handed champagne as we boarded and a kit containing socks, face mask, ear plugs and assorted toiletries. After takeoff, they served us dinner and drinks. Then about 730, I lay down (flat) to fall asleep. I pretty much slept five hours until they started getting ready for landing.

Navigating Heathrow took about 90 minutes because we walked, took a train and a bus and had to clear security a second time but when we got there, Janet was waiting for us.

With only a bit of trouble, we flew to Marseille, took the bus to the train station and the train to Avignon and walked to our hotel. Then we went to dinner at a restaurant our host recommended called Alice which is not a person’s name but the name of the barren earth around the city wall.

The next day we explored Avignon. We started by going to the main square where we started a walking tour by Rick Stevens. It took us to the Palace of the Popes. There we learned how the Vatican had moved its HQ to Avignon in the 1300’s and simply bought the whole town and converted it to the palace for the popes and smaller palaces for the bishops and other high-level church administrators. Continuing the walk, we went around the palace and found a very interesting little walkway where they had built the palace on the natural bedrock. Our next stop was the market building called ‘Les Halles’. We purchased cheese, bread, fruit, and wine in order to have a picnic lunch later that day. Our final stop on the walking tour was one of the several hundred-year-old waterwheels that had been used to power textile operations in the town.

After returning to the hotel we had our lunch. Then I rested while John and Janet finished up the walking tour of the Palace of the Popes area. So, they went to the top of the park and saw the famous Avignon bridge. We’ve heard it is the topic of a nursery rhyme or song, but we’ve never heard it.

They came back to the hotel and we headed back out for a nice evening sojourn. I saw a woman riding an electric standup scooter in two-inch heels...interesting site. Next, we perused a menu for a restaurant in city hall square before deciding to go in. Our waiter there was very French, but we were able to communicate what we wanted to eat and drink successfully after showing our vaccination passes. Covid 19 you know.

Home and then to bed after finishing our bottle of wine we purchased for lunch.

On Wednesday we got up early and caught the 8am train to Arles. It was market day, so we headed to the market where we saw a lot of meat, vegetables, fruit and bread along with cooked ready to eat food include a three foot wide dish of Paella. After walking through the market we ended up at the start of Rick Steves’ Arles walking tour.

Arles is known for Vincent van Gogh who spent two years there painting the city and the countryside. Scattered throughout the city are “easels” with the paintings he made in front of the subjects. It is amazing how little the paintings looked like the subjects.

Next, we saw a Roman arena which dated from 500 BC and was still in amazing condition. Parts had been built on during the middle ages and were not in as good of shape.

We wandered for awhile and found a restaurant for lunch. The food was good but even after we asked for the bill, waited for 20 minutes, got up and put our coats on and stood at the counter they still ignored us. They made no effort in that 40 minutes to tell us why and after they did tell us (their credit card machine was down) we waited 15 more minutes and finally paid cash. As a warning to anyone coming to this part of the world, double check your bill. We have purchased food here about a dozen times and, except for the market, we were overcharged every time.


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Van Gogh EaselVan Gogh Easel
Van Gogh Easel

Night over the Rhone
John on BiteJohn on Bite
John on Bite

Bite is pronounced beet and is French for penis.


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