Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  ,
Sunday, August 12, 2007

Avignon could keep you busy for quite some time. It is consumed by history and culture, packed with countless museums, and surrounded by 14th century ramparts that once protected its holy resident... The Pope. In 1309 Pope Clement V fled political turmoil in Rome and for nearly 70 years 7 french born Popes called Avignon home. All of them managed to invest fortunes in building, expanding, and decorating the Papal Palace.  It is the largest Gothic palace in the world and an impressive site. Touring the beast of a home leaves much to the imagination. The rooms are largely intact but mostly empty (see pictures). You must rely on your audio guide to fill in the details. Only a few frescos and a couple paintings remain. It was pretty amazing to stand at the same window and overlook the same courtyard that many Popes stood at to greet the masses shortly after being newly chosen as leader of the Christian world. 
We also got to see the Pont St. Benezet (Le Pont D'Avignon... Or Benedict's Bridge). You may be familiar with the french nursery rhyme "sur Le Pont d'Avignon". It goes...
Sur Le pont d'Avignon
L'on y danse, l'on y danse
Sur Le pont d'Avignon
L'on y danse tout en rond... And so on.
Meg did a little jig at the bridge and sang a verse or two. It was pretty cute.
The weather here was also perfect. 31 and not a cloud in the sky (well actually we did see one at about 7pm). It wasn't the southwestern Ontario 31 degrees where you sweat just breathing, but a humidity free 31 that left you comfortable in the sun or the shade.  Meg even managed to get some colour (red). 
We did have to take in some refreshments however because as we walked down the main street, Meg somehow could sense there was an Irish pub that served her favourite cider across the way.
We ended the day and our last evening here by having a picnic in the gardens behind the Papal Palace. Not bad, even if it was a baguette and a can of brown beans while drinking red wine out of a diet coke bottle. Not bad at all.
Off to Annecy!
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