When I hear Provence. I see oleanders, olives and lavender. I think of a slower pace of life. Romantic walks alongside sunflower’s fields. A ‘cafe creme’ at the lazy sidewalk cafe. Castles. Little villages clinging on the side of the mountains. And narrow cobbled – stoned streets. A lush vision. Often brought to my mind by scent of rosemary or a fierce wind.
This time I’m traveling with Mr Wrong. I have decided that few days in peaceful place will do me well after insane week in Spain. Followed by cuckoo week in Tel Aviv.
We are driving here from Switzerland and I’m loving it. Because I can exhilarate my eyes with the beauty of the region.
We are starting in Avignon. Fortified city of the Popes will not leave you indifferent.
Avignon is a place of magnificent cultural and architectural heritage. Strangely cohesive mix of strong medieval influence, Baroque and Classic French and some 19th and 20th century buildings.
Entering the Old Town through any of seven gates feels like traveling back in time. Cobbled streets. Lovely cafe. People reading newspapers over cafe au lait and croissant in the morning. Little shops selling handmade lavender soap. Since the arrival of the popes and their court, the city has been an important cultural center.
In 1947 with creation of the Theater Festival by Jean Vilar. It became one of the world’s greatest theatrical meeting places. While our stay city is getting ready for this annual event. It looks like a pin board covered with millions of sticky notes. Young performers act little performances on every corner so you can get a little glimpse of their plays.
City is perhaps best know for its fabled bridge know as the Saint-Benezet Pont. It was joining the two banks of the river until floods carried away its twenty two arches. Nowadays one can admire only its shortened profile and imagine its former splendour.
Take your time wandering around the streets of Avignon. Visit Collection Lamber. Sip coffee in a cafe while watching people passing by. Admire monuments. Stroll over the Halles to sample local specialities and products. Go to the show and finish your evening in a discotheque.
Avignon for Foodies!
Avignon is a capital of ‘a la Provençal’ cuisine. Garlic, bay leaf, thyme, basil, savoury, rosemary and olive oil are always present. Without any recommendation or ‘google help ‘, led by our great tastes (How modest of me!). We discovered an amazing place called ‘La Fourchette’. Delicious food, quirky decor with forks and old Michelline’s guides.
If you are not fluent in French do not forget your dictionary. Luckily I had Mr Wrong with me. Who worked that evening as a translator to many tables around. Until end of my days I will bear in mind that ‘courgette’ is zucchini. It was not the only night in the city but definitely most memorable one.