Bonjour. We are in Avignon, the city of the Popes. In the 14th century it became the capital of the Christian world. We visited the Palace of the Popes today. It was amazing. We went on a tour of the huge castle-like, medieval building. It is incredible the amount of time and effort that must have gone into constructing it. We toured through the inner chambers where the different Popes (nine of them over the years) dined, met important people, and made decisions about the religious world. We went down into the crypts where some of them are buried, and up to the towers where Le Corps de Suisses soldiers stood on guard. Afterwards we wandered down to the Rhone River and sat on the banks admiring the Pont D’Avignon bridge which was built in the 12th century. Mmmm, it was time for lunch and we headed for the many cafes and restaurants in the Place du Palais. We chose wisely and I enjoyed very nice fish and polenta (I ordered in French and thought I was asking for chicken!!) “Charlotte de Frais” followed for dessert (the best ever!!) Donna had steak and a trio of petit desserts with coffee washed down with another refreshing local Rose wine.
We arrived yesterday to a blustery, windy welcome, which continued on into the night. Pierre, a very gay local garcon, let us into the digs. It is a bit more basic than the lovely villa in Puimisson, but is clean and tidy. But no internet! Donna had asked for it when we booked and was informed that there was . . . yes . . . but down the street at the Subway Sandwich bar! Doh. Never mind, we will survive. Avignon is surrounded by large, ancient walls or ramparts, which encircle the whole city. Our apartment is just inside the Porte Sainte-Lazare entrance and it is close to the University, which in old times was the Saint Marthe Hospice. Again, it is very beautiful. There are a lot of young people in our area and most of the other residents in our apartment are students.
We drove from Puimisson to Avignon via Saint Guillam de Desert, a medieval village in the hills and up a narrow gorge. It was well worth the detour. Again, beautiful old buildings and an ancient church and monastery filled the landscape. We arrived at midday and just as we explored the church, six women in monks attire (white cloaks with hoods) were making their way to the altar. They sang heavenly prayers which echoed around the large chapel for about 20 minutes. Donna and I were transfixed and remained there until they finished. Donna lit a candle for Ariva and said a prayer. Lunch followed and we continued on our way.
The previous day had been beach time. Portiragnes and Serignon were the most recommended beaches in the area and they didn’t disappoint. Afterwards we drove into Magalas for dinner for our last night in the Beziers area. We will miss it.
Thanks for the Fathers’ Day wishes boys. Au revoir for now.