Saturday, October 01, 2016


Yes, there is a bridge, an old one (although it is only partial and hasn't been used for a long time as an actual bridge...they build a modern one). The Rhone River runs under it, right next to the walled city of Avignon. Prior to 1309 it was a tiny town, but then the Catholic Church had their first French Pope. He didn't think that Rome was safe enough, so he moved the whole organization to Avignon and turned it into a real town! For almost 100 years the Popes lived here and all the administration of the Church took place from here. That required the building of a massive fort/palace for protection and to house all the workers. It took decades with 400-500 men working all the time to create the Palais du Papes, or papal palace.

The papal palace is enormous, stately and sort of brooding. It was eventually used for a state prison sometime after the Pope left and returned to Rome at the insistence of the Romans. In the early 20th century they started to reconstruct the building, and that work is still going on as you can see if you look at the large arch in the photo below.

As you can imagine after centuries of neglect, some of the frescoes are damaged, but even fragmented or faded, they are still beautiful.

Inside the Palais there were numerous gargoyles. I spotted this fellow and he reminded me a lot of a similar creature hiding under the Fremont bridge near Seattle. What do you think?

We are staying a very short walk away from the Palais and can see the bell tower from our room in the hotel in the old section.

We hear the bells peal every hour. Since the same happened at our last place, I'm thinking this is the trip of the bells.

The plaza in front of the Palais du Papes has lovely cafes and one of the days we were there an amazing musician was playing jazz. One of the days we were here we walked up to the gardens just to the right of the building behind the cafe in the photo below and had a picnic. We were pretty fortunate with the weather. It only got cloudy the morning that we left town.

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