A visit to Avignon

The south of France is a beautiful destination pretty much any time of the year.  I have done a few road trips through the region over the years, and my favourite in the area will always be Avignon. Possibly this is because I get a laugh from standing on the bridge and singing that grade school French song, “Sur le ponte d’Avignon”.

What does Avignon have to offer?

The city of Avignon isn’t really all that big, with less than 100,000 people. This small population is part of the charm, allowing the city to retain a lot of its historical feel. The old city is my favourite, surrounded by ancient ramparts and filled with incredibly old buildings.  Much of this part of the city is clearly influenced by the period from 1309 to 1423 when there were two Popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon.

Avignon

Even if you’re not much of a fan of “old buildings”, you cannot help but marvel at the history that oozes from every street corner in Avignon. The Notre Dame Des Doms, built in the 1100s is stunning, and the mausoleum of Pope John XXII is incredible to see. Right next to this is the Palais des Papes, the castle that the Pope lived in; it is so big, it even has its own vineyard on the upper part of one of the walls.

Old buildings aside, there is a lot of cultural events on the go here throughout the year as well.  This year, the festival will be held in July, and it’s really quite something to see. There are nightly and daily theatre performances as a part of both the “In” and “Off” Theatre Festival. To give you an idea of just how much goes on during the month, in 2008, they had 950 shows and individual performances.

View of Avignon from the abbey outside town

So, will you join me on the bridge in Avignon this summer and sing along?

Sur le Pont d’Avignon

L’on y danse, l’on y danse

Sur le Pont d’Avignon

L’on y danse tous en rond

 

© hsivonen /flickr.com
© M^3 /flickr.com

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