…and an early, early morning for me.
after spending much of the night trying to erase the memory that very thin walls and very close neighbours imprinted in my mind, i woke up three hours later to catch the first bus to avignon with some of my favourite people, caitlin, claire and josh. by 7:30am we were grabbing brioches, pain au chocolats, and [unfortunately very bad] coffees from in town (the roaster wasn’t open yet), then onward to the bus station.
1.5 hours later, we were walking under the old walls of the city of avignon, and the familiar feeling of apparition–i mean…time-transporting–came over me. the skies were crystal clear and blue as anything, and although the breeze was cold, we chased the sunshine through parks and down old cobblestone streets until we found a café terrace still warmed by the morning sun (and helped by some patio heaters). a crèpe and a much-needed coffee later, we began to wander, somewhat aimlessly, through avignon’s old downtown centre, to the gates of the old palais de papes (the largest gothic castle in europe), up the hill it is built into, and to a stunning vista of avignon and the bouches-du-rhône. when we stopped taking photos of distant castles and snow-capped mountains, we sat down in a sheltered place for awhile and pondered our next item – lunch.
caitlin and her cute toque
palais du pape
basking in the sunshine
me, at the palais
fountain atop the les roches les doms
prior research directed us to a lovely spot off the main drag where we waited awhile for our menus, but it turned out to be worth it. i had a delicious pork tenderloin dish, served with a sweet potato and potato purée, the others had tuna with saffron risotto and a tarte à la provençal. this was only topped by the fabulous dessert we allowed ourselves (i felt i deserved to treat myself more-so than usual, what with my harrowing experience from the night before): gâteau au fromage blanc, avec sorbet aux framboises, and of course a chocolate gâteau as well. after taking ample digestion time, we ventured out again to see the famous pont d’avignon (built between 1171 and 1185, and no longer spanning the entire rhône river due to a number of floods and such), and turned down the 3.50€ fee just to walk along it (seriously?? 3.50€ to walk on an old bridge that doesn’t even go anywhere??).
the afternoon found us window shopping–lèche-vitrines en français (window ‘licking’)–and just meandering around the old streets. we relaxed with magazines and tea until it was time to head home.
a few episodes of arrested development and a phone chat and i fell into a deep, and thankfully undisturbed sleep. now it’s sunday, and i’m planning the next excursion with the girls… monaco next weekend??