Friday, June 29, 2012

Avignon, City of the French Popes

Wednesday started leisurely as we did not have to board a train until midday for our next stop, Avignon, the City of the Popes.

Lyon newspapers were screaming
for the end of theEmbargo on Cuba

Interesting Café

It was right across the street from our hotel so we thought we would give it a try.

Interesting on the inside too

We were the only people inside the café, after about ten minutes of waiting without sighting a single worker we gave up and went to a . . .

A pastry shop

Very tempting but we settled for croissants and coffee at another café.

We boarded the high speed French TGV train which left right on time and got us to Avignon on one hour and seven minutes.


Welcome to Sunny Provence

Avignon was a walled city
when the Popes lived here

35ºC = 98ºF

Grabbing a seat in the
shade was a good idea!

Memorial to the
WWII Resistance Fighters

Dancing at the Memorial

It is what little girls do at this age.

The Palais des Papes

In 1309, a French Pope was elected to head the Roman Catholic Church. He was known as Pope Clément V and feared for his safety in Rome so he unilaterally moved the Church's Headquarters to this small city in Provence.

By 1378, the Italians grew tired of this set up and elected their own Pope thus creating what became known as the Western Schism.

There would be a toatal of seven French Popes who resided in Avignon for a total of 108 years. The Papacy returned to Rome in 1417 and to this day there has not been another French Pope.

The Catholic Church has a very long memory indeed.

We decided to visit this Palais on Thursday.

Blessed Virgin Mary

She sits atop of Avignon's Cathedral Our Lady of the Doms which pre-dates its next door neighbor, the Palais des Papes, by about 200 years.

She was added in 1854 in order to make the cathedral taller and thus more important than the home of the French Popes.

Can you say grudge?

A Papal Crest

Every American home
should have a gargoyle!

Or maybe a dragon or . . .

. . . a lion

Madonna and Child
A different perspective

It was HOT in Avignon

We opted to go into Avignon's Cathedral to beat the heat and see some religious art that is so hard to find in Europe.


Bald is Beautiful

Mr. Christopher

Did he ever get reinstated to full sainthood?

Many of the murals in European churches are either faded or covered with soot and grime. For some unknown reason, my camera brings out the colors through some form of Nikon Mural Magic.

Here are some examples . . .

Not sure who the man is

Mary I would venture to guess

Madonna and Child

My Bride

She was hot too.

In many ways.

French War Memorial

Many lost their lives in
French Colonial Wars too

A timeout by a pond in
Le Jardin du Rochers des Doms

Laurie's favorite pond duckling

Pont d'Avignon
The Broken Bridge

Made famous by the 15th century children's nursery rhyme, this mighty bridge spanning the Rhône River was comprised of 22 arches when completed in 1185.

The twin ravages of flooding and time have left us with only these four arches today, two of which are out of the camera's view.

Why is this man smiling?

St. André Fortress

Across the Rhône River from Avignon.

Old grape vines turned into
a colorful scarecrow

Citron Glace . . .

Given the dental work,
he must be British

Ornate door at
the Church of St. Pierre

Close up

Happy Boy

Just like Kevin and Jacob, I suspect.

More Nikon Mural Magic

I need an aspirin

Joan of Arc

The Holy Ghost

The Sacred Heart of Jesus


Angels Everywhere

Pagan god Bacchus

Why is this lustful god atop the Church of St. Pierre?

Well, the French do know how to enjoy life after all.

Official Business Only

The Avignon City Crest
with an extra bird today

We opted for the less touristy backstreets of Avignon where we found lots of . . .

Goofy signs like . . .

The Petition Against Tagging
and . . .

High Octane Suicide

The Penitents Gris

They would don these hoods starting in the 13th century to anonymously do good deeds. Nothing to do with the Klan at all!

Street of the Dyers

This tree lined, shaded lane with a peaceful stream running through it is my official favorite street in Avignon.

It has several little shops, cafés and wine bars offering a serene break from the heat and the sight seeing.

Back in the day, this was Avignon's dying and textile center, thus the name.

A Waterwheel on Rue des Teinturiers

Cobblestones as Art

They did tire out our legs as the hot day wore on.

School of Fine Arts

Today it has been converted into high rent condos.

Old, old shutters

Happy to Live in Provence

Near our Hotel

No Bailout For Us

France is much cheaper than Switzerland.

Dinner and Football

We dined al fresco while watching the EURO2012 semifinal game between Spain and Portugal.

Spain won in the best of five Penalty Kick Shootout 4-2 after the game ended 0-0. They will now play Thursday night's winner of the Germany vs. Italy game


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