Monday, December 11, 2006

Avignon --Cite des Papes

Avignon (pronunce avinion (silent ending "n") will be our base for the duration of the trip. Avignon is known as the city of the Popes. From 1309 to 1403, the siege of the papacy moved from Rome to Avignon. The imposing pope's Palace, classified today as a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the largest medieval palace in Europe. The interior is unfurnished for the most part but you get to view the Grand Audience Hall, the Pope's bedroom, the large kitchens and the Grand Tinel Banquet Hall. Avignon is a lively city with lot's of boutiques, restaurants and outdoor cafes. There are also a number of worthy museums to visit such as Musee Calvet and Musee Angladon Dubrujeaud. Avignon's reknown was spread throughout the world via a little nursery rhyme about a little bridge. It goes like "sur le pont d'Avignon on y dance on y dance...". That little bridge does exists. Built in the 12th century, it crosses the Rhone river. Only 4 of its original 22 arches survive.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Spring in Provence-A feast for the senses

Spring appears early in Provence. First indication it is a spring is when the almond trees are in bloom in early March. In April the fields are laid in their crimson red carpet as poppies are in bloom. Best of all, are the produce markets-- staple of every villages and towns. Here you will see the bounty of nature in multi-color--fresh green and white tender asparagus; red cherries; green aromatic herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, basil); purple garlic and eggplants; mount of black olives. It is a feast for the senses!!!