A Travellerspoint blog

Our Provençal Weekend, Revised

Snow was falling on the rooftops and sidewalks of Paris as we walked downhill to our métro station, Pigalle. But as our TGV, Train de Grande Vitesse, headed out of Paris towards Avignon in the south of France, the sun was shining brightly. Despite coughing, chills, and general malaise gripping my body, I tried to appreciate the little clusters of red-tiled roofs with a single church spire rising from the middle and the large swaths of farmland with grazing sheep.
When our train pulled into the Avignon station, Maryse and Jean were there to meet us. Maryse took me, arm in arm, directly to the pharmacy where I was directed to take massive doses of Tylenol, fizzy aspirin and a throat spray for my mal à la gorge.
We walked on the famous Pont d'Avignon where St-Benezet was told by God to build this bridge over the River Rhone. After dinner we walked down the main store-lined street and saw Esprit, Pandora, Foot Locker, McDonald's and their French counterparts.
Sunday morning we stepped out of the hotel onto the Place de l'Horlage. The sun was
shining but the wind was icy cold. That did not deter Catherine from wanting to endlessly ride the carrousel, so her daddy and Papi lovingly obliged. We walked across the cobblestoned street to the Palais des Papes which is the largest Gothic building in the Christian West. In the beginning of the fourteenth century, Pope Clement V appointed a majority of French cardinals who then elected French and not Italian popes. This caused the church to be divided from 1378-1417. The palace was built in 1334 and, since the Avignon popes had a greater desire for comfort and luxury, they created not only a fortress, but also an ornate urban palace.
Next we drove to the Pont du Gard which is located between Nîmes and Avignon. To get there we drove past small vineyards and olive groves. It was a beautiful walk towards the Roman aqueduct where we passed by an olivier that dated back to the year 908. This aqueduct was built around the year 50 to bring water from its source near Uzès to Nîmes and is the highest Roman aqueduct bridge in the world. Looking at this incredible feat of engineering, one can't help but be totally humbled by the construction. With Tom's help, I made the trek up to see the panoramic view of the bridge which was a great feat for me since I felt sick from the tips of my fingers to the tips of my toes.
We walked through the Provençal town of Uzès and bought cookies, some filled with chocolate, almond, lemon, or apple spice. The drive back to Avignon seemed especially long since Catherine had lost all patience with us. Luckily she loved flirting with the customers at the restaurant, Le Vintage, where the duck, steak tartare and Paris Brest for dessert totally exceeded our expectations.
After a quick tour of Avignon's back streets and sitting at a café drinking a café noisette on Monday morning, we said our goodbyes to our friends, Maryse and Jean and promised to try to return again someday. As the TGV entered the Paris environs, Catherine said, "Almost home?" And I answered, "Yes, Baby. We are almost home".

90_3C43C708EAA631D22CC1C68CED55DBB5.jpg

3C448F7BAF0F695C6A5C16BB55135C82.jpg

90_3C4572049B0D0CA2308E94970D8088D6.jpg

3C462FCFD6842DAB87F406FC54281393.jpg

3C46DA1AC0C0E8E49D37A8952C97DDE6.jpg

3C47BC16A62053A5811A3CEF86192D16.jpg

Posted by victorybw 12:45 Comments (0)

Our Provençal Weekend

Snow was falling on the rooftops and sidewalks of Paris as we walked downhill to our métro station, Pigalle. But as our TGV, Train de Grande Vitesse, headed out of Paris towards Avignon in the south of France, the sun was shining brightly. Despite coughing, chills, and general malaise gripping my body, I tried to appreciate the little clusters of red-tiled roofs with a single church spire rising from the middle and the large swaths of farmland with grazing sheep as we whizzed by.

180_3B8C8C27922CFB78D777F016C020D584.jpg

3B8D1F2B91894CCF6C6AB66EE93096D2.jpg

Posted by victorybw 12:25 Comments (0)

Marais and Malade

Last night I was awake all night coughing and by the time it was time to get going my throat was on fire. After a caffeine pick-me-up at Starbucks, I thought I was feeling a little better. We took the métro to St-Paul in the Marais. The church of Saint-Paul-Saint Louis which was built starting in 1627, looked so inviting that we decided to take a peek. On the second of September, 1792, five priests were massacred in this church. Anne spied Fromagerie Laurent Dubois, Catherine was getting very antsy, so Anne told me to run in and buy some cheese. Cow, goat, sheep, raw or not, I tried to make a spur of the moment decision. My first choice was 89 euros per kilo, and I felt like the fromagère was trying to have patience with me. I felt like a kid in a candy store and was very relieved to leave with my bag in hand. We were now off down Rue de la Turenne in search of the Marché des Enfants Rouges. It was quite a long walk and on the map it was clearly to the left. Anne believed the turned-around sign, and after walking in the wrong direction, we righted ourselves and finally found it. We ate fabulous hamburgers, one of the best I've ever had, and I thought that a vin rosé might help me feel better as I could tell my temperature was rising. Catherine was sleeping, so we stopped at Musée Carnavalet, a museum devoted to the history of Paris. The gilded interior designs and wall murals were sumptuous but it was the artwork that told the story of the beginnings of Paris. I could barely make it through the museum, however, but did manage to stop at Tumbleweed, an adorable toy boutique. Catherine's eyes lit up with so much excitement that we could not refuse the l'hippopotame puzzle and l'éléphant de bois which walks down a little ramp. Anne and Tom went on without us, as I was now burning up with fever and feeling incredibly sick. They walked down the Rue Rosiers, the Jewish street which felt like being in the Middle Ages and brought back creamy and delicious Polish cheesecake from Sacha Finkelsztajn, a little yellow boutique, which I hope I will be able to see in person this trip and not in pictures.

A4A29A1DA6A136BBCE2A54A066EE7CDD.jpg

A4A38513E54BF007EB7295F918C56064.jpg

90_A4A47B44C889FCD144338125E56F3C9D.jpg

90_A4A5DB07D78072615DC358824F6296F5.jpg

90_A4A6C51AC93241FD36CD6F4916BCD63E.jpg

A4A7D9D9EBEC0BABE4E7E3D88A3E80EA.jpg

90_image7.jpg

image8.jpg

Posted by victorybw 14:05 Comments (1)

Along the Quai of the Cité

Jet lag is affecting all of us, especially Catherine who is still on Central Standard Time. By the time we began our walk past the sex shops on the Boulevard Clichy to Starbucks, it was well past noon. We descended right into Blanche, our métro station, where, with coffee in hand, we are truly designated as Americans. Tant pis. We exited on the Île de la Cité and crossed the lovers' locks laden bridge, Pont Neuf, to the Square du Vert Gallant where Catherine was delighted to watch the pigeons and ducks on the tip of this island in the Seine. Walking along the quai, bouquinistes were selling vintage Edith Piaf records, Astérix comics as well as the ubiquitous plethora of souvenirs. Delicious chocolat, noisette, and pistache gelato at Amorino's on the Rue du Chat qui Pêche was our mid-afternoon snack on our way to Nôtre Dame. The solemn silence and filtered light from the stained glass in the cathedral was the perfect atmosphere to lull Catherine to sleep. Once outside, the ever-present gendarmes with machine guns in hand were a sad reminder of the not that distant Paris attack. Heading towards the Île St-Louis, an American bride was being photographed on the Pont St-Louis. What a beautiful and lucky bride.
The day was delightful, for nowhere would I rather be than meandering through the streets of this beautiful city. Tom confessed to me that he didn't understand my love of Paris, until today, when he saw its beauty and its soul unfold before his eyes. We may have missed the boat, the last Bateau Bus had passed, but we did not miss the concert of the six o'clock bells tolling the angelus from the tower of the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame.

72353552D10B94037DB28572CD97F723.jpg

Posted by victorybw 14:35 Comments (1)

Our Eiffel Tower Day

Sent from my iPad

3B7DFD9B998E051BA1ECDF4323CDC971.jpg

3B7EE2E9FC1D0A81887637E8D1F02749.jpg

90_image3.jpg

3B8046E6B765C8C71B83F64A866E06DB.jpg

90_3B80E178EBA32D966545BF0C402E3109.jpg

3B81A72E0466BE60444623536FF1F813.jpg

Posted by victorybw 13:05 Comments (0)

(Entries 16 - 20 of 44) « Page 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 7 8 9 »