Today we went to Avignon, home of half a bridge... hang on, why is there only half a bridge? (there used to be more of it, but the river Rhone flooded a lot, and, well, they weren’t very good builders! – LT)
They really weren’t very good builders, they don’t even seem to have bothered putting glass in the windows, look what they did instead:
We went wandering round the streets in the morning, and found LT’s dad’s favourite hat shop to take photos of. It’s been there since 1860, and I’m sure some of the styles are that old too... We did love the lampshades on the sign though:
Continuing the bad building thing, they don’t seem to have remembered to maintain whatever was attached to this tower:
They did have some fun building signs though:
After lunch, where LT had to build her own main course of nems (Vietnamese spring rolls) LT and her dad and I came back up to the palace area. Opposite the palace, Pope Paul V knocked up this little building for the people of the town, which is now the music school. Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to carve all those little bits?
This is the palace, quite a pile, isn’t it?
They had this wee church next door too. Please note the golden Mary looking down over everything:
Next we wandered up into the gardens. This is the war memorial in the grounds for WW1, WW2 and Vietnam:
Just round the corner is the memorial for the Jews from the area who ended up in the concentration camps in WW2. The ones with the crosses next to them survived, and the ones in white are the children:
This is looking down from the gardens on the famous Pont D’Avignon, which is the half bridge. Behind it, on the other side of the river, is the tower built by King Philippe V of France who wanted to spy on the popes – guess they didn’t trust each other much in those days!
They also built this big fort further up the hill from the tower:
Look, see in the background there’s a whole bridge!
The boats going up and down the river go round the bridge – no wonder, I’d be afraid of the rest of it falling on my head too!
We decided to risk life and limb going out onto the bridge itself – this is looking up from the bottom of one of the arches toward the town – see Mary keeking over the wall:
This is looking back from the end of the bridge towards the town:
And here we are dancing on the bridge like in the song. It was a very windy day, notice how LT looks like she’s been dragged through a hedge backwards. (Hey! – LT) I was being kind...
And a wider view from the bridge. If it looks like everyone walking around is on the phone, that’s because they were all listening to their audio guides. LT didn’t get one just for me, I had to share hers, wasn’t that mean? (It was twice your size, you couldn’t have held it! – LT) I’d have tried!
Here I am sitting on the bridge having a rest from all the walking around (uh, which one of us was walking here? – LT) Details, details... Apparently people slipped and fell off the bridge quite a lot, I think these railings are a bit of an afterthought!
I have to say, I didn’t think much of the locals:
I think she was eyeing me up for lunch:
Look at that big white cloud that’s blown in, doesn’t it know we’re on our holidays and the weather’s meant to be fabulous every day?
Back up in the garden, they have lots of fountains, just perfect for little bears, but LT wouldn’t let me go in and play:
She said the fish might eat me! (I should be so lucky – LT)
She let me sit next to this fountain, guarded by this guy with the big sword, but he was mostly ‘armless... (groan – LT)
Look at the zig zag of paths leading up to the main gardens:
Round the corner, there’s the church again:
This is looking down the square to the town hall tower in the background:
We went back down to meet LT’s mum again, and this is the town hall itself, with its flags all in a tangle from the wind. For the main ones, the European one is on the left, the French flag is in the middle, and the one for the Vaucluse is on the right, wrapping itself around everything else – it must think it’s the most important one!
This is the carousel outside the town hall. We’ve read about these on Sebastian’s blog, but I didn’t get to try one, LT wouldn’t let me :o( (They wouldn’t let adults on it, only little kids, and you’d have fallen off by yourself! – LT)
It doesn’t look like the forums, banquets and conferences in this hotel across the square from the town hall are much fun:
There were lots more of the painted windows round here too:
We found a sweet shop that I was drooling over. LT’s mum went in to get candied fruit for the Christmas puddings and Christmas cake:
Don’t they have a funny market hall?
I would have thought the Bank of France would have been in Paris, but then maybe they liked the idea of moving down to the sun...
Well after all that walking about, we just needed a drink to recover. This beer seemed appropriate for the cafe outside the palace:
It was 10.5% alcohol though...
We ate a picnic dinner in the car on the opposite side of the river to the city centre while we waited for sunset. Here I am sitting on a bench on the river bank:
You can see lots of wispy clouds in the background of the one above, which turned out to mean that we didn’t really get a sunset, so we’re going back again another day.
(PS, we never did get back, maybe next year...)