When we were staying in Avignon we booked a Vineyard tour for the day. We hopped on a bus with 4 other people and we whisked away to tour some vineyards with our guide Francois. We visited two wineries and saw their winemaking process as well an an extensive tasting. The tour included lunch at a nice restuarant: Sous les Micocouliers as well as side stops at Beaux, Saint Remy and the Eygalières markets.
The vineyards we unbelievable and the countryside was visually stunning. I enjoyed the tours but loved the tastings even more. The tour was great and definitely worth the 75 Euros a person.
We were dropped back off at our hotel at 7pm with our purchases. We had purchased some Champagne as well as some ceramics, candies and chocolates from Beaux.
I loved this.
One of the walls of Les Halles, the indoor market building, is entirely covered in plants.
At first, from a distance, I thought it was painted. then I thought it was fake/3D. Then I saw the plants moving in the breeze and realised they were real.
Very, very clever. Very effective, and very pleasing to the eye in the middle of a busy town.
Tucked away off Rue St Agricol (which leads from Place de l'Horloge) is the 15th century Palais du Roure.
I happened to spot its sculpted entrance way as I passed by (it is down a little alleyway) and went to explore.
The Palais dates from 1469, built for Pierre Baroncelli (from Florence). Although the building is now used for temporary art exhibitions and suchlike you can still have a look at the entranceway and the courtyard. there are even faint traces of fresco decoration in one or two places, and hgher up you can see where the original arched windows were replaced by the more 'modern' sash type.
Worth seeking out.
Housed in the old Jesuit chapel since 1996, this museum holds stone monuments (sculptures, carvings, coffins etc) from ancient Egypt through to early Christianity. I didn't have chance to spend long there, but I was impressed by what I saw.
There are several bits and pieces from Avignon and the vicinity (including some lovely Roman mosaics).
Worth having a look, I think. It's only 2 euro to get in (half that if you have an Avignon pass from the Tourist Office).
Rue de la Republique
If you walk through the rock-carved, narrow R. Peyrollerie from the Palais des Papes you will emerge into a tiny square (Place de Mirande?).
Here, more Roman remains were discovered when renovations were taking place. As with those behind St Agricol little information is given (or known, probably), but they are worth a look: some lovely arches still stand.
You can see the remains of a guard tower and a bit of the Roman city wall behind the church of St Agricol (14th century, but closed when closed for restoration when I visited).
There isn't a lot of information given, but I was pleased to see that Avignon is taking the trouble to conserve and display what bits of the Roman town are exposed when renovations/restorations take place. I beleve these stones are fairly recent discoveries.
The Barthelasse island lays between two river arms. Just facing the Avignon's city walls, it spread on 700 hectares, making the biggest river island in Europe. It is criss-crossed by little roads and pathes very pleasant to walk, run or bike.
When Avignon's medieval popes needed a break from the hubbub of their walled city, they crossed a bridge to this island in the middle of the Rhone River. Centuries later, Ile de la Barthelasse and adjoining Ile de Piot--whose vineyards, vegetable gardens, and pear, apple, and cherry orchards cover more than half of their nearly three total square miles--still make for a wonderful getaway.
The best way to reach the island, is to hop on the boat (navette) which runs just up river from the Pont St Bénezet to the Ile de la Barthelasse. A five-minute ferry service is free and crosses frequently every day. It runs between easter and end of summer. Watch out, it is France so there is a lunch break!
Visitors can take a bicycle and ride around the paths or just stroll or explore the islands on horse at Centre Equestre d'Avignon (+33(0)4-90-85-83-48, cheval-avignon.com, reservations required).
Once there, you'll feel truly out in the country, walk along the riverbanks, Chemin des Canotiers, for magnificent views over the Palais des Papes, the city ramparts and the St. Bénézet Bridge.
300 metres from the drop off point of the boat you'll find Le Bercail. While away an afternoon, have an aperatif on the leafy terrace, enjoy the magnificent views of the river, but be aware the food is less than mediocre! It closes in Autumn & winter.(162 Chemin des Canotiers, +33 (0)4-90-82-20-22)
The fine view on the bridge and the river opens from the Rock which I have climbed up as soon as we were released on freedom after excursions. On another coast of Rhone there is the city of Vilnev-les-Avignon where there is the biggest monastery of France.
Two towers of fortress Saint Andre of XIV century are seen in the distance at the top of a hill.
Swans in the garden of Pope's Palace attracted my attention after very intense excursion day. I had only five minutes to admire these beautiful birds. It was quite enough to have a rest and continue strolling around Avignon.
I imagined how Popes were watching swans while walking the garden. It seemed to me as if centuries came back...
About 20km's north of Avignon is the town of Orange which has some well preserved Roman architecture.
There is the Triumphal Arch which was built between 10 and 25 AD and also a Roman Theatre with a 103m long facade.
These doors are somewhat famous, and on the walking tour of Avignon, near the end. If you make it that far, spend a few minutes grokking their intricate details, including, if I'm not mistaken, a Thanksgiving scene from the New World.
This garden borders the path up the hill to the Parc Rocher des Doms. I love gardening and am always amazed and gratified to see both private and public places landscaped to add to the beauty of a trip. Avignon has a lot of gardens throughout and strolling through the streets can be a lovely experience.
This old section of the wall caught for me the stark contrast of past and present. There are autos, lamp posts and a plethora of traffic signs, but what still stands out is the centuries old wall. I am not even sure in what part of the city we were, but sights like this are all around. As in any city, just take off and see what there is that might be of interest.
The city of Orange is a bit northeast of Avignon. Located in this city very close to a large parking area is one of the oldest outdoor theatres built by the Romans. You can buy a ticket and sit in the stands and pretend you are watching a play from centuries past.
Street markets. You'll find them in almost any city, mainly wednesday and saturday. Might I suggest the one in Vienne and Uzes. There, you'll have everything, from fruits and veggies, spices, artcraft, jewelry to sandwich and clothes. And you'll meet the people of the region...