PROVENCE DAY 3: Avignon

Usually, It happens that the time passes very quickly when you travel!  April 25th was our last day in Provence.

After an abundant breakfast,  we said  goodbye to the lady of the b&b where we had been staying and we moved to Avignon, as planned.

We left the car in one of the many free parking that Avignon offered and we moved toward the old town centre, thanks to a shuttle from the shuttle service of Avignon that serves the city for free. I was pleasantly impressed by the will to reduce pollution by promoting the use of public transport.

In the old town centre we could admire The Popes’ Palace, built between 1335 and 1364 in a medieval Gothic style. This building became Unesco world heritage site, in 1995. That Palace is so spectacular because it is built on rocks.

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The outside is so majestic as well as the inside. Visitors can take a look at 25 rooms. My top  3 list is indicated below:

  • La sala della Grande Udienza : of Jean de Louvres; 52 m long, 16 m wide and 11 m high. the Apostolic Tribunal of the Causes (it changed name in the Sacred Rota) used to take place here.
  • The room of the Pope: the Pope used to sleep in this room. Legend has it that you could find, under the floor, the Pope’s wealth.
  • The room of deer: private studio of Pope Clemente VI. It is finely decorated with scenes of deer hunting.
  • The large Dining room: the living room. It is 48 meters long and 10.25 meters wide with a wood ceiling.

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You can also admire the beautiful decorations and frescoes, dating from  the middle of 1300. Simone Martini from Siena was the supervisor. After his death, Matteo Giovannetti da Viterbo continued his work.

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We had lunch in a nice square close to Popes’ Palace, and we moved toward our final destination:

Ponte di Saint-Bénezet. This building is Unesco world heritage site.

Legend has it that a shepherd called Bénezet,in obedience to the will of God,  built this bridge. They say the young man who went in front of the king demanding  the bridge construction was initially ignored.  Later, the sovereign, intrigued by the perseverance of the shepered,  decided to accept his request as long as he was able to move a huge rock.  He succeed in the difficult task and ì, finally, he could build the bridge. There are not so much information about it. We know that was finished around 1185 and rebuilt several times. Several floods destroyed the most of the building and ,nowadays, you can admire  the main chapel and 4 arches only.

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That’s all!

I had high expectations for this travel. Fortunately, I was not disappointed. I recommend to everyone to visit Provence once, at least. I hope I will have the chance to visit again those wonderful towns, maybe around June, when fields will be covered by lavender!

I hope you had fun with my travel stories.  So I look forward to seeing you at the next adventure!

Stay tuned

Chiara

USEFUL INFORMATION:

  • Official site of the Popes’ Palace and the Saint-Bénezet Bridge where you can find opening times, discounted rates and more: Popes’ Palace
  • Site of the Tourist Office with useful information about the city of Avignon: Avignon Tourist Office

Where to park:

  • Parking des Italiens, Avenue des Italiens. Free, open Monday to Saturday, except on public holidays, and supervised from 7:30 to 20:30. A free shuttle service to and from the city center is available.
  • Others parking: Parking Avignon

Where we slept:

  • Nizza: Hôtel Du Baou A few miles from Nice, we only recommend it if you are in the car and you can move freely. Cheap hotel suitable for short stays.
  • CavaillonB&B Les Vigneres, Super super recommended !! Cheap, great location as a base, very nice owner and super helpful and above all cleanliness and quality of the impeccable structure.

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