5 hours in Avignon

This is one of the most relaxing and the most beautiful cities I have visited in Southern France while the most lovely season was there. I felt quite depressed when I noticed I have no time for a wider Provence trip when I was there, while things always go like this! When you put your expectation at a lower level, something will come to you, impress you and even wow you unexpectedly!

Well, it is a small city indeed, well, in my 5 hours first visit, I would like to highlight these to you…

1. The white “Castle”, Le Palais des Papes

Well, you probably will argue with me about “white”, because it looks super old and gets some black “shadows” from the settled dust in the past centuries. Le Palais des Papes, is the world’s largest Gothic building, which was built up in 14th century when the Popes fled during the corruption of Rome.

2. The melody of spring, the free musician playing in the plaza

Right below the shadow of Le Palais, there is the flat natural stone plaza where people enjoy the sun bath, sip their coffee and where I found the solo musician. He was totally in his own music world, while I never listen to the similar melody in my life. It was flawless, non-stop, just like the running little spring, rushing from inside the mountain to join the party of big rivers.

3. Lost in clay & stone, wandering in the back lanes around Le Palais

The buildings and streets are influenced by the style of Le Palais a lot. In the shadow of the sky-touching walls, I was only able to get a line of blue sky and a line of clay-color stone lane, which always has a turn at the both ends and tried to confuse the wanderers way.

4. “Jump” out from the stairs when going up

Continue my feet-journey, I got a very good bird-view even I hadn’t reached the top of the hill. Just standing on the stairs, those red-color roofs scatter in the green blanket, are the typical signature of Avignon’s history. Avignon was settled since stone age (that old!) and was influenced by Romans whose city walls were buried long time ago. The city grew to be a main trade port in the medieval times.

5. The destroyed bridge, Pont d’Avignon

Getting to the top, and I had another view of the backside where the other very famous landmark of Avignon, Pont d’Avignon. The bridge was one of those line-ups to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon cross Rhône in the Middle Ages. The bridge was built between 1177 and 1185 while it got rebuilt after the the siege of Avignon by Louis VIII of France in 1226. Unfortunately the rebuilt 22 arches bridge was not strong enough to face to the flooded Rhône, and it finally got abandoned with the 4 arches left until now.

6. Coffee break in the glass house

I met this secret garden on my way back to the town. The lovely pond was lively with the beautiful bronze statue and relaxing green ducks. The water was just above my ankle and it was nicely printed by the natural sunshine going cross the gaps of tree leaves. I was sitting outside with a cup of cappuccino, and did nothing in the next 20 minutes.

7. Bring Southern France back home

After the short break, I was energetic enough for my last round of the city centre. It was definitely Avignon’s trick, that made me relax and fill up my energy then presented me a fantastic shopping area once I was back to the ground!

Going through the colorful and narrow stone stairs, it even had a bit Mediterranean style. Hundreds of local shops came into my eyes. From kitchen equipment and cooking materials to bath soaps and towels, you can find everything lovely and yummy there. My favourite was  a combo deal of 3 small bottles of homemade sauce for only 10 euro! I had mushroom, olive and black truffle! What else, the aroma and the color from the lavender handmade soap… got a pack together with a soft cotton-made face towel with lavender silky band.


歐洲最美的春夏交際之極,我來到位於南法普羅旺斯區的白色城市,阿維尼翁(Avignon),我沒有去拜訪遍野的紫羅蘭花田,卻在這個平靜的城市找到屬於自己的美好記憶。有的時候把期望值放低了,往往會有意料之外的收穫。

話說回來的,到底也是個小小城市,5個小時只靠兩條腿走個大概也綽綽有餘,來說說有哪些好看好玩的。

1. 白色“城堡“,Le Palais des Papes

老實說,這真不算是你想像中的白色了,不過怎麼說呢,人家這建築長久以來也有做不少功夫的護理,但到底時間久了,顏色褪了髒了。 Le Palais des Papes是世界上最大的哥特式建築,俗稱“教皇宮”。 14世紀的羅馬教皇從羅馬逃亡到這裡,便起了這座宮殿,成為現在艾維尼翁的中心景點。

2. 教皇宮底下的泉水之音

聽不到天主教的頌歌,中午意外溫和的陽光下,教皇宮底下的廣場上卻是泉水之音叮咚不斷。廣場是由只有手掌般大小的石塊鋪成的,正對著雄偉的教皇宮,一邊是法國風情的小咖啡館,坐滿曬太陽的遊客,另一邊是一路向上的大塊階梯,通往阿維尼翁的後山。廣場中央坐著一個打扮有點“街頭”的年輕人,完全沉浸在自己的演奏中,木吉他連著小喇叭,像泉水一樣的韻律不斷流出,沒頭也沒尾的,一點都聽不出章節之間的間隙或者接近尾聲的影子。

3. 繞道教皇宮的背面,在粘土和石頭砌成的巷子裡晃悠

教皇宮的後面是密集的居住區,小小的巷子舖滿粘土色的石塊,有些泛黃的石牆和教皇宮一個調調。巷子基本都挺窄,抬頭就只有一線藍天,就這麼瞎晃悠的話,動不動就撞個死巷子了,倒也挺好玩。

4. 爬高點,眺望全景

從皇宮的另一邊一路走上去,也沒話多大腳裡,就算是半山腰也足以看到整個阿維尼翁的全景。這座南法城市從石器時代(有這麼古老么!)就已經形成,之後受到羅馬帝國的統治,定位了整個城市的風格,當然羅馬帝國的毀滅也一起帶走了當時的護城牆。中世紀時,這個城市就成為當時的主要貿易點,鏈接地中海與歐洲各國。再來看看現在的這個城市,少了之前的繁榮,多了幾分寧靜和安逸,土紅色的屋頂好像是叢林的點綴物一樣散落在綠色的城市植被裡(空氣質量可是好了 :D)。

5. 遠望斷橋(Pont d’Avignon)

爬上後山山頂,便能遠遠看到另一個著名景物,斷橋,也俗稱貝爾澤橋。這座橋曾是橫跨羅納河的石拱橋之一,在1177年到1185年間建起,1226年重建過,但是這座原來22個拱的石拱橋最終還是抗不過頻繁氾濫的羅納河,現在置身下4拱,斷橋這個名字也這麼來。我們有斷橋的典故,其實人家也好典故這一口,貝爾澤橋的名字來自15歲模樣少年貝爾澤。傳說,少年受申領啟示,要在羅納河上建一座橋。並靠一人力量將巨石搬到河岸,當地人驚嘆之餘便追隨少年的建橋方案,橋建成之後,人們為了感激少年的壯舉,便用他的名字為橋起名。

6. 在玻璃屋旁喝咖啡

從山頂下來回城裡的路上,便會經過這個半隱藏的小水塘和玻璃屋。綠頭鴨悠哉悠哉的在水塘里,水塘的水也就到腳踝那裡,相當淺。綠蔭下,點一杯咖啡,坐在稀疏的陽光裡,不知不覺就過了20分鐘。

7. 把南法風味帶回家

咖啡小憩之後,精神飽滿腿腳麻利。這絕對是阿維尼翁的壞點子!精神抖擻的一下山便是滿街開得玲瑯滿目的小舖。

顏色鮮豔的巷子,又是橘色又是藍色,印在半鵝黃色半白色的石牆上,很有地中海風情。鋪子裡廚房用具、下廚的各種調味品到手工皂和浴巾,各種小法式風情。我最喜歡的是10歐一組的homemade調味品,有好多口味可以選,最愛黑松露、野蘑菇和橄欖油口味的!紫羅蘭味的手工皂也是一買一大籮,外加一組繡有紫羅蘭的天然棉面巾。

從山頂下來回城裡的路上,便會經過這個半隱藏的小水塘和玻璃屋。綠頭鴨悠哉悠哉的在水塘里,水塘的水也就到腳踝那裡,相當淺。綠蔭下,點一杯咖啡,坐在稀疏的陽光裡,不知不覺就過了20分鐘。

 

5 hours in Avignon

 

5 hours in Avignon

5 hours in Avignon

 

5 hours in Avignon

 

5 hours in Avignon

5 hours in Avignon

 

5 hours in Avignon

5 hours in Avignon

5 hours in Avignon

 

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5 thoughts on “5 Hours in Avignon”

    1. Hi, thank you for the comment. I love Avignon so much, such a different place in France, I wish I could stay there for longer time and experience more.

      xoxo

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    A must read article.

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