Day 8 of our 14 day tour of France brought us from Monaco to Avignon in the Cote D'Azur of France to Provence which is supposed to be sun-drenched at this time of year. A long day on the road but arrived in Avignon, the seat of the French Popes from 13th to 15th Centuries, late in the afternoon. On the way we visited the City of Aix en Provence - Roman town which is little gem. It was Market day and oh if we had the ability such wonders in the form of antiques we could have brought back with us. We had an hour long stroll down the main thoroughfare then back on the coach. Our Hotel in Avignon is at least 200 years old but very comfortable with large rooms and modern conveniences - particularly after a long day on the road. After arrival we decided to eat in an out-door cafe next to the Hotel and near to the ancient city wall which protected the city and its Popes from harm. Unfortunately the rain started and and resulting waterfalls from the large umbrellas wet a number of the patrons - but not us. Everyone took this with great humour and we proceeded to taste the local cuisine. An enormous Salad Nicoise for Celina and Smoked Salmon for me.
We are very close the the famous bridge at Avignon which has only 4 spans across the Rhone river left out of its original 12 or 15 spans - the rest were washed away in one of the Rhone's frequent floods several centuries ago.
Sur Le Pont d'Avignon June 2010
After this we trudged in the rain to the Palace of the Popes
Palace of the Popes, Avignon, France
Palais de Papes Avignon
- home for the 7 French popes of the 14th Century during the great schism of the Catholic Church made famous recently as the background to the story of the Name of the Rose. Unfortunately the French Revolution lead to the destruction of much of the decoration of the Palace but we still enjoyed our tour. In the afternoon we visited the hill-top town of Les Baux and its ruined Fortress and enjoyed wandering the medieval streets.
Celina at La Baux de Provence
Celina at Les Baux de Provence
Tonight we dine at the Hotel then its off tomorrow for Carcasonne - a walled city founded by the Romans.
The Tourists Prayer (?Anon)
Heavenly Father, Look down on us your humble, obedient tourist servants who are doomed to travel this earth, taking photographs, sending postcards and buying souvenirs. We beseech you, O Lord to see that our plane is not hijacked, our luggage is not lost and our overweight baggage is not noticed. Give us this day divine guidance in our selection of hotels. We pray the telephones work and the operators speak our language.
Lead us to good, inexpensive restaurants where the wine is included in the price of the meal. Give us the wisdom to tip correctly in currencies we do not understand. Make the natives love us for what we are and not for what we can contribute to their worldly goods. Grant us the strength to visit the museums, cathedrals, palaces and if we skip an historic monument to take a nap after lunch, have mercy on us for our flesh is weak.
Dear God protect our wives from bargains they don’t need or can’t afford. Lead them not into temptation for they know not what they do.
Almighty Father, keep our husbands from looking at foreign women and comparing them to us. Save them from making fools of themselves in nightclubs. Above all do not forgive them from their trespasses for they know exactly what they do.
And when our voyage is over, grant us the favour of finding someone who will look at our holiday snaps and listen to our stories so our lives as tourists will not have been in vain.