Monday, April 9, 2012

Sur la Pont d'Avignon...le mistral!

On Easter Sunday, after another lovely breakfast with Michelle, we headed out to explore Avignon. Avignon is about 30 minutes from St. Rémy and it quite a bit larger. There are two major attractions here, the Palais du Papes and the St. Benézét bridge. We were a little nervous about anything being open on Easter, but Avignon is a tourist town and it was bustling with visitors.

We first toured the Palais du Papes, where some French popes basically tried to move the heart of Christendom away from Rome back in the 1000's. They were only successful for a few years before the Italians declared a second headquarter in Rome, which eventually won out. Sorry France, the Italians really love them some popes.

The palace was pretty cool, there were some very impressive frescoes inside and the audioguide our was extremely thorough in giving us a good description of the history of the popes that lived and worshiped there.


After we were done touring the palais, we sought out a lunch spot as we wandered through Avignon. After wandering through an adorable but extremely touristy main square, Rick Steves saved the day and we found a much quieter spot for an absolutely delicious lunch.

They gave me ice in my coke!!! I was so excited.

I can't talk about our trip to Avignon without mentioning "le mistral." This is an INTENSE wind that runs through Provence during certain times of the year, and tends to be particularly harsh through Avignon. It is a cold wind, and let me tell you, it ain't playin' around. Luckily we were prepared with warm clothes because even though it was a beautiful day, that wind was cray!

After our yummy lunch, we made our way to the St. Bénézet bridge, made famous by the French song. Sur la pont d'Avignon, l'on y danser, l'on y danser. Sur la pont d'Avignon, l'on y danser tous en rond. Every French child knows the song, and I learned it in French class, and we alllll heard it about a thousand times on this trip because it's very easy to get stuck in your head, lol. And because we love us some cheese, Dad and I acted out the song (dancing in a circle) on the bridge while singing the song. We may or may not have a video of that happening. And we may or may not have done it twice because Dad wasn't happy with the first video.

After our bridge excursion, we wandered through some cute little touristy shops and bought some ridiculously delicious pots of chocolate caramel- so delicious that the first pot is already half gone! After that we decided we needed a break from the mistral, so we took the little tourist choo choo train around Avignon. It was just ok, but it was good, quick (warm!) way to see the rest of the city.

On the way back home, we stopped in St. Rémy, bought some sandwiches, wine, and of course some baguette, and just went back to our bed and breakfast to eat. It was the perfect end to our stay in Provence! I can't say enough good things about this beautiful, amazing region. I am so sad that our France leg of the trip is over, I'm excited to see what is in store for us in Spain!

Goodbye to sweet Michelle at Le Mas de la Menouille!


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