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.
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。
5. 遠望斷橋（Pont d’Avignon）