Sunday, April 17, 2016


14th April. Avignon on the Rhone river was an overnight stop for us on our way to Nice.  Another ancient city.  We saw some first century Roman ruins.
Sue beside some first Century AD Roman ruins, across from Palais des Papes.
In more recent history, the1300s saw the papacy move to Avignon. That's still 700 years ago - I'm still blown away by the depth of history here.  This became the seat of Western Christianity for the 14th Century and a palace/fortress was built here, described as one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe.  Got to love all these claims though - every town and city has "something" that is the biggest, or most important, or... in Europe.
Sue and Sophie in front of Palais des Papes

Here we found the best coffee so far in France.  My strategy has been to order cafe espresso, because most French cafes don't texture milk the way we do in NZ for a latte or flat white.  I haven't worked out whether they don't like it that way, or just can't be bothered because most people have espresso (without milk).  Here I used my few words of French to thank and complement our barista for the coffee.  I was rewarded with a smile, but also a reply in French which I couldn't understand.  That's the trouble.  Sophie is a great help here.  Here French seems excellent and she if often complemented on her accent (or lack of it).  She says the French vowel sounds are almost identical to Maori, so NZrs should have a head start.  Sue and I are trying to discipline ourselves not to rely on her to speak for us, although I only have two years of high school French.

Avignon retains much of its original city wall, now functioning as a border for the old city.  Also a bridge (Pont d'Avignon) which will be known to some of you from the song.  A good friend of ours lived here for a year or so.  I include a photo of part of the university for her.
Pont d'Avignon (Pont Saint Benezet) built 1177-1185 across the Rhone river.  Photo from the city wall.

Universite d'Avignon

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