13 PICTURE ALBUM
Monday, October 13
Paula: We spent the day exploring the town of Avignon
and its Palais des Papes (Pope's Palace). We entered the city through one
of its beautiful gates and were immediately impressed by the high walls (covering
nearly 3 miles) and 39 towers. We began by exploring the many shops and restaurants
along Rue de la Republique, having lunch in one of the outdoor cafes. We have
been eyeing the Terre-e-Provence pottery, and found a shop where we could
communicate (just barely) with the woman who worked there. We have now learned
enough about the options and pricing, and now need to decide whether we'll
make a purchase before we leave.
After completing our shopping, we walked through Avignon's streets
and squares, and finally made our way to the Rhone River to tour the Pont
St-Benezet. This bridge over the Rhone River was started in 1177. The bridge
held special significance during the Middle Ages as a major route for traders
and the pilgrimages made between Spain, France and Rome. The bridge has been
repaired and rebuilt many times, and most of it was finally washed away by
the River in the 1600's. The banks of the river in Avignon are
beautiful and clean. They have been protected from commercialization and have
walk and biking trails on either side. From the bridge, we climbed the Palace's
rampart up to the Rocher des Doms. These pretty gardens provide landscaped
open space and excellent vistas of the town and countryside.
Finally, we toured the Palace itself. The fortress-like palace was built
in just 20 years time in the 14th century to provide refuge to the popes during
a period of unrest in Rome. It is considered the biggest Gothic palace in
the world and its shear size is most impressive. Although popes only lived
here from 1309-1377, Avignon was ruled by papal legates until 1791 when it
was annexed to France. Unfortunately, much of the palace's interior was destroyed
in fires but the exterior is still a very imposing structure.
We enjoyed another nice meal in Arles, this time at Restaurant l'Escaladou
on the way back this evening. We selected another restaurant serving traditional
Provencal food. To our delight, this included several seafood dishes including
terrines, a wonderful bowl full of tiny clams drenched in garlic and herbs.
The kids were pleased to find Zeus waiting at our door when we arrived home
and he was again invited to spend the night.
Tomorrow we will return to St. Remy-de-Provence and have made reservations
for a walking tour that follows in Van Gogh's footsteps.
Distance Walked: 4.53 miles