Aug. 22nd – We next intended to visit Nîmes and Arles, because of the Roman ruins in the former and Vincent van Gogh’s association with the latter, but between the morning interrogation at the Aix-en-Provence Police over the missing suitcase and Amber needing to replace her lost essentials (toiletries and underthings, to start), we instead went straight to Avignon to drop off my backpack and go shopping.
Our AirBnB was in a sketchy-looking location just outside the round city (like Lucca!), but the straightlaced host was very helpful, giving us recommendations both for immediate lunch and evening entertainment at the Palais des Papes. We dropped off my backpack, and went to the best French lunch ever, where the speciality was open-faced sandwiches. Fortified, we then grabbed tickets at the Tourist Office for the 10pm English version of the light show within the Papal Palace. Then we went to get Amber some clothes. We stopped at Monoprix for toiletries, H&M and Zara for stylish European clothes. I even found a pure linen T-shirt to purchase (ever notice how hard it is to find clothing made of natural fabric?). We dropped off our acquisitions in our room, and began touristing.
Amber led us to Avignon Cathedral (Notre Dame des Doms d’Avignon), then the garden surrounding the Rocher des Doms. We next took the free ferry crossing the Rhône river, to photograph the famous Avignon Bridge (Pont d’Avignon). I don’t know how many selfies and panoramas we took here, walking along the Chemin des Berges, but Amber was in ecstasy. We crossed back into town via the Pont Daladier, still photographing pretty Avignon in the evening sun.
After so much walking, we were ready to start hunting for our evening foraging grounds. We were mindful of the time, because we needed to be early to get into our ‘light show’, and service isn’t the fastest in this country, what with multiple courses and Slow Food. After a very good French dinner, we waited in front of the Papal Palace in the dark, tickets in hand, to be herded by security into a cordoned-off arena. The light show was visually excellent, with four cameras from windows each projecting onto the opposite walls of this inner courtyard that we were sitting on the floor of, but content-wise… it felt like some sort of pope-centric “historical” vocal propaganda mixed with mythological legend and I’m not sure what. To illustrate, at one point, there were unicorns and dragons. Perhaps it was meant to be taken metaphorically or artistically, or perhaps the French version would have made more sense than the English one, but, afterwards, I felt as though the narration had made me stupider. It was pretty at least:
best lunch: Ginette et Marcel (25-27 Place des Corps Saints, 84000 Avignon). So good. So popular. My favorite lunch in France! Tartine, an open-faced sandwich, was made with great, fresh rustic bread and pretty awesome toppings. We ordered a meat and cheese platter which we actually would have been fine without. But it was the most affordable French meal thus far, so we went a little crazy. 😉
best dinner: L’Epicerie (10 Place Saint-Pierre, 84000 Avignon). Really good. Fortunately we could sit indoors since we didn’t have reservations (outdoor seating for only reservations — the French love to see and be seen whilst dining). We started with shrimp, and I gave Amber the extra prawn, knowing her seafood love. Our main dishes were great too. No disappointments here!