Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sous le pont Avignon...

This was our second visit to Avignon. The first time was in the mid 70's and memorable for the fact we planned a fabulous lunch-time picnic along the Cotes du Rhone, only to discover that all the wine shops were closed from 12 to 2. In despair we went to a gas station to buy some Perrier, only to discover that it had a dozen or so Cotes du Rhone reds and whites on a rack next to the oil and windshield washer!  It was a great picnic.
This time we lamented our Rick Steves guidebook. We decided to stay in his "top four-star choice..right on Place de L'Horloge". While I won't go into details, my TripAdvisor review was headlined "Not a four-star hotel!"
I should add, however, that Place de L'Horloge is an impressive space enclosed by the city hall, a theatre and a variety of restaurants and religious structures.
A portion of the ancient wall that surrounds the city.
The Popes Palace
Avignon is a popular tourist attraction for good reason. Not only is it an ancient walled city, it was home to a couple of Popes, and has the famous nursery-rhyme bridge.
Chuck Brook tells me that according to french law you cannot alter historic doors...other than to repair damaged portions
While the visit to the Pope's Palace was worthwhile, I was just as interested in "the Pope's Jews" who were protected by the Vatican. (How things changed over the years!)
The synagogue
The original synagogue, now destroyed, dated from 1220s; however a Neoclassical Greek-temple style synagogue was designed by a non-Jewish architect in the mid-19th century and remains today on Place Jerusalem.

This is what you use to make fish soup in France
We spent the morning browsing through Les Halles, the relatively new public market building. It is a very ugly structure; however it does have an extensive green wall.

Whenever we can we take a boat cruise in a town or city. So we did so in Avignon. I can honestly say it was the most boring river cruise we have ever taken. However it did offer a good view of the Le Pont when it wasn't blocked by other river cruise boats! What we did enjoy was walking along the narrow streets inside and outside the extensive pedestrian zone.  

There's a lot of creativity in and around Avignon!
When I went into the Orange telecommunications store to purchase a SIM card, the salesman told me he didn't have any. Really I thought. Sally suggested that maybe they just didn't have the room for storage. Afterwards, in Arles we found a very helpful assistant in the local Orange store.

I was also intrigued by real estate listings in the many real estate shops since it is the law in France that before a home can be sold, it must have an energy audit, and the energy rating must be prominently displayed on the real estate listing. Now here's a good idea we should promote in Vancouver!

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