Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Arriving in Avignon

We have heard a lot of great things about Avignon, but never made our way there.  Now, it's time and we take a day trip from Montpellier, catching a mid-morning train to the city.

Avignon was the center of the Catholic Church and seven popes resided in the city between 1309 and 1377.  Pope Clement VI purchased the city from Joanna I of Naples in 1348 and the city was under papal control until 1791, when it joined France during the French Revolution.  The city is a UNESCO World Heritag Site due to its architecture and importance during the 14th and 15th centuries and currently hosts one of the worlds largest festivals for the performing arts:  the annual Festival d'Avignon.

We leave the train station, see the medieval Avignon city walls, enter through one of the gates, and wander through the streets of the old town.

Wander through old town

Walking around Palais des Papes (we'll explore inside later), we pass small gardens, residential streets, and then reach steps up to the gardens at the rear of the palace.

Small gardens

Residential streets, steps to the palace gardens

Palace gardens and views

We stop for lunch in the gardens, dining on the edge of a pond, watching the swans paddle around, and consuming a croque monsieur and a tartine with goat cheese and herbs (accompanied, of course, by two glasses of rosé)


View from our table


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