Preserved here today are places of medieval intrigue —certainly several major foci of major events that touched Christian practice during the entire 14th century. Encouraged by the king of France at the time, and nudged by the frequency of Papal assassinations in Rome, the Papal court decamped the Tiber region in the early 1300s, and took up residence on what was relatively inexpensive farmland along the river Rhone.
Still to be seen are grand edifices of that religious-political turmoil—evidences of vastly powerful despots whose alliances for influence were shifting, and of the forays of former (but now unemployed) crusader-knights-turned-plunderers who routinely ransacked and burned peasant villages in the region. Each nearby castle has its own stories, each surrounding village its tales of woe. As I say, they are all here waiting for a traveler's eyes to see and ears to hear.
Thursday - Thursday
27 October - 3 November
Street fairs, bistro tables, an indoor market called Les Halles, the vast fortress known as the Pope's Palace, a storm-truncated bridge that still extends part way across the Rhone. A charming little kids' song still is sung about this: "Sur le pont d'Avignon, on y danse ..."
It's a town with visible archaeology, yes, but also one with a history of manufacturing and trade; also there remains an artistic inclination: an almost bohemian element survives and prospers here. Thus, the Street of the Dyers, which parallels a water-wheel-punctuated canal of the Sorgue river, finds its stonework "combed and brushed" still. Thus cultivated it is an atmosphere meant to feed the souls of poets and painters and coffee shop philosophers alike.
Last time here—
—and homey scenes expected this time. Oh, and food.
Now by rail to