Sometimes our memories can play tricks on us if we aren’t careful. Sometimes you visit a place again and you think “why did I like this place so much the first time?” It’s true – the spell the place cast upon you seems long gone the second time around – except for Avignon (and Provence) -it’s just as magical this time as it was six years ago. And sometimes you need that!
After the hectic pace of Paris, we needed a place that would allow us to slow down – we needed a place that would let us catch our breath – and we found it here.
The city’s charm can still resonates in its medieval walls, pleasant parks, Gothic palaces and river walks, including the Avignon bridge that dates back to the crusades.
The first day back we walked up the hill, above the Palace of the Popes, to the Rocher des Doms which is one of our favorite parks. You can see the entire town, including the lovely “golden Mary” to the Avignon bridge, from this viewpoint. After leaving the garden, we walked down to the river and took pictures of the Saint-Benezet bridge.
This time around we also took a tour of Provence through a private company. Thanks to our knowledgeable guide and incredible weather we enjoyed five different hill towns, a monastery and a Roman aqueduct (Pont du Gard). This tour tops all of our other tours – even the ones we had in Ireland six years ago. Normally the tour takes eight people, including the guide. Well – we lucked out and had the guide all to ourselves. She was passionate for all things Provence and really loved sharing her knowledge with us. Thanks to her, and Provence, it was a day well lived.
Our week in Provence is almost up and we have to move on – but we know we will return again because certain spells last a lifetime.
Postscript: We visited Arles today. The less said the better. Unlike the rest of Provence some magic is black magic. Now we know why van Gogh cut off part of ear while living here.