Yesterday and today, we relaxed in Avignon, acting like “regular” tourists. We arrived yesterday, riding from Gordes, 50 or so kilometres, getting a little lost coming into town. Avignon is the biggest city that we rode into and finding the old town was a little complicated. (Bordeaux, which we visited a few weeks ago, is larger, but we arrived there by train.)
We toured the key sites in Avignon: the Papal Palace and the Pont d’Avignon.
Pope Clement V moved the Papal Curia to Avignon in 1309 to avoid violence in Rome over his election as pope. Six popes were elected here before returning the papacy to Rome in 1377. This period is referred to as the Avignon Papacy. (I didn’t take any photos of the facade. Here are a few interior shots.)
Pont d’Avignon is actually called the Pont de Saint-Bénézet. I had always assumed that this bridge was never finished. In fact, it was completed in 1186, sacked by King Louis VIII in 1226 but rebuilt in 1234. Damaged over the years from numerous floods, the bridge has only four of the original 22 arches remaining. It, of course, is famous to all young school girls from the song, Sur le Pont d’Avignon, originally published in 1503.
Today, we packed up the bikes, preparing for our trip to Paris tomorrow and home on Thursday.
Today was my birthday, so of course, we did a little shopping. Sad to report, Dennis bought more than I did. He is now fully “French-ified”. Check out the following before and after shots. New shoes, new jeans, new sweater, and the must have accessory for every Frenchman – the scarf.