Avignon – France

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Avignon  is located in southeastern France bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river.

It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is a place I have dreamed of visiting since I was around ten years old.

When we checked into the hotel and opened the window, we were greeting with an amazing view of the Palais des Papes

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Often referred to as the “City of Popes” because of the presence of popes and antipopes from 1309 to 1423 during the Catholic schism.

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Avignon is one of the few French cities to have preserved its ramparts.

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In addition, its historic center, the palace of the popes,

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 and the bridge of Avignon………..

……… Pont d’Avignon  Only four of the eighteen piles are left; on one of them stands the small Romanesque chapel of Saint-Bénézet.are well-preserved.

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But the bridge is best known for the famous French song Sur le pont d’Avignon.

In 1309 the city, still part of the Kingdom of Arles, was chosen by Pope Clement V as his residence, and from 9 March 1309 until 13 January 1377 was the seat of the Papacy instead of Rome.

The Palais des Papes is an amazing building….

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By choosing to “move” the Vatican to Avignon Clement caused a schism in the Catholic Church.

At the time, the city and the surrounding Comtat Venaissin were ruled by the kings of Sicily of the house of Anjou.

The French King Philip the Fair, who had inherited from his father all the rights of Alphonse de Poitiers (the last Count of Toulouse), made them over to Charles II, King of Naples and Count of Provence (1290).

Nonetheless, Philip was a shrewd ruler. Inasmuch as the eastern banks of the Rhone marked the edge of his kingdom,

when the river flooded up into the city of Avignon, Philip taxed the city since during periods of flood, the city technically lay within his domain…..interesting tax laws!

Here the flood levels were recorded ….

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The Popes who resided in the Palais des Papes were

Clement V: 1305–1314

John XXII: 1316–1334

Benedict XII: 1334–1342

Clement VI: 1342–1352

Innocent VI: 1352–1362

Urban V: 1362–1370

Gregory XI: 1370–1378

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This period from 1309–1377 – the Avignon Papacy – was also called the Babylonian Captivity of exile, in reference to the Israelites‘ enslavement in biblical times.

The inside of the Palais is eerie and haunting…

europe2 799It feels strange to walk these empty rooms and hallways….

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….and of course there is the garden of the Rocher des Doms…

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Now time for some lunch at 46 Bistro……….escargot …….of course…

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…then a walk about town……to the place to be…………the Place de l’Horloge..

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….looks like these two have been sitting around here for a while…

…amazing Carrousel…La Belle Epoque…

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We visited the most wonderful Musee Lapidaire, CLICK HERE to read about that visit…..

……………..we encountered wonderful architecture, as we strolled about….

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….of course the cafes attract our attention….

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….and we decide to have dinner at lou Mistrau….beautiful outdoor dining with wind shields….good because it is quite nippy….

we begin with………….you guessed it escargot…..the best we have ever eaten…

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….followed by my very favorite dish on the planet…..Cassoulet……

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….then perhaps some beef and potatoes….

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……ahhh but let us not forget dessert and cappuccino ….

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walking about we encounter these wonderful ladies dressed in vintage clothing….

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It has been a most wonderful visit, filled with discovery, wonderment, lavender, culinary delights…..

…..but we must move on….

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18 responses »

  1. How wonderful for you to have fulfilled a dream! You got some amazing angle shots. Inside the Palais really was haunting with the light coming in. Thanks for the history lesson too. And of course you tempt us with incredible meals and escargot twice. Splendid post! Ah, to travel like the Tin Man!

  2. Thank you, dearest Jo Nell. It was amazing for me to be able to go on this journey. We actually arrived at night and when I opened the hotel window and say the Palais…….I almost fainted! The food was just simply over-the-top wonderful. Thank you for visiting and for your delightful words.

  3. The carrousel music was playing .. Avignon is a fairy land. The ancient buildings shimmering silver. Romantic castles, elegant gardens, bigger than life monuments. Overhead a bluer than blue sky. Then the food … oh the food. Those sweet garlicky buttery snails. the most classic of bean dishes, the richness of chocolate and cream. Oh Avignon – poets sing your praises. I dance to your music in my ruby slippers, Avignon – fulfilling Tin Man’s childhood dream.

    • Oh Virginia……………your words are pure poetry! You have managed to encapsulate my entire visit to Avignon into a paragraph that breaths life into the memories! You are a sorceress, you are able to give life to words…………to enchant us with your descriptions………I will dance with you, spinning around in the Place de l’Horloge…………thank you for your visit…..

  4. I absolutely must try cassoulet. Can you believe I’ve never had it?? Soon, very soon :-) Tell me, what was it that made you want to visit Avignon when you were a little boy?

    • I have always loved history and one summer during bible school we studied the history of the popes and it was then that I fell in love with Avignon. Seemed so magical. You MUST have Cassoulet!! Ask around as to where the best is. This one had pork belly, donkey sausage and venison, it was marvie.

      • That makes sense! I was just wondering how a little boy could even know that the Pope’s Palace in Avignon exists… leave it to the TinMan!

        Donkey sausage, now that’s one you don’t hear every day! From what I hear, to have the best cassoulet I need to go over to Castelnaudary, very close to Béziers! Once the weather cools off a little bit and the longing for comfort food settles in, I’ll be there in a heartbeat. I’ll keep you posted :-)

  5. Oh, Tin Man, your photographs are beauties. I especially love the shots of the carousel and your desert, of course! Avignon. Avignon. Avignon. A few years ago, I attended the annual film festival. The entire weekend, I walked and shopped and walked from sunrise to sunset. Sweet memories! I’m feeling very dreamy now. Thanks for that! T.

  6. I wish I had had your post available before I went to Avignon. I would have seen it with much more understanding and keener eyes! (I did enjoy it, but rather mindlessly and without knowing much.)
    I am so happy for you to live out a dream. And eat escargots, and whatever else is your greatest pleasure. The Hub already felt he knew you through your comments on my blog, but now that he knows you love cassoulet above all else — well, he is your soul mate!

    • I LOVE it! Yes Cassoulet………..pure heaven, we are soul mates!! I eat it in every country and every town I can. Avignon provided the most beautiful and succulent Cassoulet I have had……..oh the pork belly was pure perfection, the donkey sausage and venison salami…….exquisite……..buttery, creamy …………oh I may swoon! Thank you for your very kind words! I did so love Avignon.

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