Wake up and smell the lavender

Trip Start Dec 11, 2012
Trip End Oct 17, 2013

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Flag of France  , Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azu,
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Like the popes escaping Rome, we went to Avignon - however, we weren't fleeing from corruption, just looking for a bed between Nice and Toulouse. I will admit to picking it for its Joan of Arc connection - it being the town she was captured in - as I've had a nerdish soft spot for her ever since my Grade 8 English teacher spent an entire lesson devoted to Joan of Arc instead of conjunctions.

The journey did not start well, however. We forgot to check whether we needed to reserve our train (we've been spoilt by our Eurorail). The train conductor was not impressed. €40 later, we were sitting between carriages next to the outside door. Stumbling out of the train station, we consulted the map and the directions to our hostel. Walk through city gates. Ahh, did that arch count as the city gates? Ok then... Suppose a few houses qualifies as a city... The outskirts at least... Go straight. We can do that! Keep walking. Oki doki! Look for number 17. Ummm, we see a highway... And a shed... The shed doesn't have a number.... Are we sure we're in Avignon? Tourist sign says Avignon.... We consult crappy free map. Map does not show any of the streets surrounding us. As said, crap map. We turn map the other way round. Still no closer to finding street. But then something catches my eye at the bottom right corner of the crappy map. It's a train station. By a highway. We are at the wrong Avignon train station. Crap.

Despite the rather rocky beginning, Avignon is the best place we've accidentally landed up in. It's one of the biggest medieval cities in France, surrounded by a massive stone city wall. All the streets are either tiled or cobblestoned (except the Main Street, but allow me some poetic license over here). And the best part? Pots and pots of lavender everywhere! THIS was exactly how we had imagined France.

Caught up in the French spell, we sat in a small restaurant at the edge of the square (chosen because of its white tablecloths and lavender hedge) and proceeded to spend our entire day's budget on lunch. While we realize that sirloin and salmon steak, followed by berry tiramisu and three types of creme brûlée is not what you're supposed to eat as a backpacker, we just couldn't handle another side of the road cheese and baguette fest. So cheers to us for being the worst backpackers ever!

We're embracing it.

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Judith Herbig on

Aaah... sounds like you two are having such a good time - so proud of you! Love reading all about it. Judith (Bastie also jealous!)

Wolfi on

In German the Girl is called "jungfrau von Orleans" could it be Joan was not in Avignon but in Orleans? Enjoy the food!

feilo on

I was staying 30 min from Avignon in Ménerbes

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