Friday, August 9, 2013

Les Baux to Avignon

   Les Baux de Provence is  a couple of hours west of Cotignac. It sits atop a rocky hill and is an ancient, walled city.  It has been magnificently restored and the tour is very interesting and informative. They do a mock sword fight - entertaining but all in French which I could not understand. I expect it was a good history lesson that we could have used. We missed it, but there are also catapult demonstrations that were surely entertaining, as well. The castle remains are really impressive and we all enjoyed exploring every inch of it.
   After a quick lunch, we walked into the village to see an art installation set up in an old limestone quarry now named Carrieres de lumieres. The present show projects images from Monet, Renoir, Chagall and more impressionist artists on the walls, pillars and floors, set to music in the cool, quiet atmosphere of these old quarries. This was a real pleasure and we all absorbed the magic of this show, gazing around the huge area, for over an hour. As it was nearly 100 degrees outside, it was a huge temperature relief, too!
   Later that day, we headed to Avignon to check into our hotel, wander the narrow streets and have a very pleasant dinner at a streetside brasserie. The old nursery rhyme/song led us to find the bridge first thing in the morning which was great as the crowds were thin and yes, we did a little dance sur la pont. Pont d'Avignon was build over 800 years ago. It no longer spans the length of the river, but hand held audio tours offered alot of interesting info. The kids version was the best as it was slightly briefer then the long winded tour I got. My choice genre was disco (good thing since there is so much of it in France) while the kids leaped skyward in a sort of Heavy Metal/Rock dance move. It was a great way to start our tour day of Avignon.
   We then headed to the Pope's Palace for a self guided, non- tour - not a good idea - as the line for the audio tours was WAY too long. Most of the placards are in French, go figure, so it was tough to learn much. But, I bought a small book in English so we can read about what we saw now that we are back. It was quite a sight. The palace is immense. It was fun to imagine what it looked like furnished and what the grand meals must of looked like.
   We are safely and happily back in comfortable Cotignac. Where our next adventure takes us, we do not know. Everyone is happy to sit back and relax...for a few days anyway.

An old windmill
Narrow streets within the walled city of Les Baux

Terrible picture, but shows the size of video projections 

Huge quarry walls with impressionist works shown by video

Pont d'Avignon

Inner courtyard - I think these were the maid's quarters - of Pope's Palace
View of Pope's Palace from outside the walls

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