Our 2012 Cathedralquest to France day 13 Avignon .


Day13, Saturday, September 15


 We had planned on going to Arles today, but we decided after we got up that we needed sort of a down day, and we hadn’t seen all of the wonderful sites in Avignon, and today was our last day.  So it was after 9:00 before we had breakfast.

The cathedral is located high next to the Palace of Popes.  It sits up high near the top of the Palace.  We climbed more steps.  The cathedral was first built in a pure Provencial Romanesque style in the 12th century, but was soon dwarfed by the Palace of Popes that rose beside it. An attempt to remedy this was made in the 14th century with the addition of a cupola, which promptly collapsed. It was rebuilt in 1425 and it is Byzantine like marvelous stacked arches. Baroque galleries were added in the 17th century and crowning the top of the cathedral is a huge gilded Virgin Mary lantern from the 19th century, whose glow can be seen for miles around.



Inside, the cathedral contains Flamboyant Gothic tombs of some of the Avignon Popes. Like most of Avignon churches, the cathedral was sacked during the revolution. It had a wonderful interior, mostly Romanesque with a square tower in the crossing and a number of chapels. 

When we came out we discovered a wide pathway to the left of the cathedral- it is called the Promenade du Rocher–des–Doms.  We followed it up the hill to a large square area with magnificent views of the surrounding area.





We were very high with a wonderful view of the Pont d’Avignon.  Across the river was some kind of festival on a little island across the river which had a camp ground.   There were water skiing events and music. 

 We decided to take the little train ride around the city but we were hungry so we ate in a very nice café – Restaurant Le Lutrin in the Hotel du Palais des Papes.  We both ordered omelets which were delicious and met our hunger needs for the moment-with a small bottle of wine, of course!

   We walked back up to the Palace and got the little train – it had a small engine with rubber wheels and five open coaches.   The trip lasted 40 minutes.  It saved a lot of walking in and we saw a lot of interesting buildings, which we might otherwise have missed We learned when we got back from our train ride that the “little palace” which is now an art museum was open to the public today for free.   This museum exhibits paintings from the Italian school of the 13 to the 16th century, with works from Florence, Venice, Siena, and Lombardy. Salons displayed 15th-century paintings done in Avignon in several galleries contain Roman and Gothic sculptures. This was a very enjoyable experience and we particularly enjoyed seeing a Botticelli.   

There were huge crowds in town today celebrating a festival weekend.    Then we walked back through the large square.  In the square is the Hotel deVille (city hall).  A wedding party came out – bride in a white gown.  


 Outside the city hall in the square is a large merry-go-round.  The bride and groom and the wedding party got on and the guest stood around it cheering them as they went by.   A few minutes larger another wedding party came out of the city hall and headed to the merry go round.  Seems like it’s a tradition, get married at City Hall, then ride the merry- go-round! 

  We walked a few blocks and looked at stores.

We didn’t have dinner reservations for tonight so we went around the square looking a menus and restaurants.  In France almost all of the restaurants have large outdoor seating areas.   Some are glassed in to protect diners from the weather.  One of the problems in the outside eating area is that smoking is allowed – and we have discovered that many Europeans love to smoke in public.   Inside the restaurant, smoking is not allowed, and no one smokes. 

  We found a restaurant, Lou Mistral, which had a good menu (all the restaurants post their menus outside) and an attractive inside dining room.   We ate rather light tonight and service is very good.   Kathleen had duck and I had salmon.  Both were delicious.  I had tiramisu and Kathleen had a lemon tart. 

We were finished before 9:00 and came back to the hotel. We have had four nights here in Avignon and have really enjoyed this town. The population of Avignon is 92,000.  In the morning we head for Marseille for 3 nights.  Marseille is the second largest city in France with a population over 1.5 million.



Day 1 - Paris

Day 2 - Sens

Day 3 - Vezelay 

Day 4 - Abbey Fontenay, Semur-en-Auxois, Vezelay -

Day 5 - Beaune

Day 6 - Beaune, Autun, Citeaux, Chateau du Clos Vougeot-

Day 7 - Cluny  

Day 8 - Cluny 

Day 9 - Paray-le-Monial and Clermont-Ferrard

Day 10 - Le Puy-en-Velay 

Day 11 - Avignon 

Day 12 - Avignon to Nimes

Day 13 - Avignon

Day 14 - Marseille

Day 15 - Marseille

Day 16 - Marseille

Day 17 - Marseille to Aigues-Mortes

Day 18 - Carcassonne 

Day 19 - Carcassonne to Toulouse  (posted 10/6/15)

Day 20 - Toulouse

Day 21 - Albi

Day 22 - Toulouse