We traveled to Avignon our 1rst weekend in France. Thank God Cédric had planned this excursion to his hometown, because I highly doubt I would have been capable of planning anything for myself. Unfortunately, we had an early wake-up call that morning. I had to be out the door by about 7:15am. I tried really really hard to tiptoe around my homestay and not wake them up at 7:00 am on a Saturday. All of a sudden, Caroline leapt out of bed “Let me make you a coffee. I packed your lunch. Do you want me to drive you to the bus?” So Caroline and I drove off and she even picked up my friend who I was supposed to meet.
Since I’ve been in France, I’ve noticed a “hurry up and wait” sort of attitude. Meet at 8am, but we won’t leave til 8:30. This suits the French well, since they are never on time. For the punctual, we wait a lot. This time we had to wait because the bus went to the wrong place to get us.
Eventually, we made it to our first destination, the Fountaine Vaucluse, a beautiful town nestled into the moutainside. It’s the kind of town you go to a feel like you’re in a postcard. Pretty French houses with painted shutters and vines all over them placed right next to a rambling river. The center of town consists of a just a small circle surrounded by a few buildings and a view of the fast moving fountain. The source of the fountain is a pool of water at the base of a huge rocky mountain. Gorgeous.
We had some free time to mosey around, admiring nature and visiting the shops. The shops were filled with lavender, rose scented stuff, spices, and cicadas. You could buy a ceramic cicada, a cicada magnet, a lavender sachet with a cicada embroidered on it… I don’t know why they love cicadas. No one has been able to provide me with an answer either. The shops were also filled with santons for the Crèche (Nativity Scene). In Southern France, the whole town shows up in the Crèche from the milkman to the gypsies. This means that a Southern French Crèche contains many many handpainted figurines.
After window shopping (in French they say lèche-vitrine, which literally translates to licking the windows. I don’t know about the French but the only person who lèches vitrines is the little brother in the opening scene of a Christmas Story), Brittany, Kate, and I see that everyone is still hanging out getting food/drinks at a café at the bottom of the hill in the center of town. To avoid the mass of ‘muricans at the bottom of the hill, we told a few girls that we were going to a different café up the hill to grab something since the bus wasn’t back yet. We went to a snack shack named Snack the Big Fred. We did indeed snack the big Fred. As we walked back down the hill, it became increasingly obvious that the bus had left. We called our friend Siobhan who informed us that the bus was already on its way back because they realized that another kid, Josue was not on the bus either. No one noticed that the 3 of us were missing, but they sure missed Josue. Ouch.
We (thankfully) made it to Avignon, a beautiful little town where all of the narrow cobblestone streets lead to the Palais du Pape. But first a stop at the Café In and Off for a chocolat viennois.
The Pope beats all of those rap star fools on MTV Cribs. His crib could easily fit 10 of their cribs. The coolest part of the Palace was the Pope’s bedroom where all the magic… doesn’t happen. It is painted floor to ceiling with birds, vines, and scenes of people hunting.
After checking out the Pope’s old digs, we went to see the Pont d’Avignon which now only goes out halfway into the river. The Rhône is now a peaceful and gentle river because they dammed it, but it used to be fast paced and dangerous. Now the view off the Pont d’Avignon is tranquil. Keeping with the Church theme, there is even a small Chapel on the bridge.
I even warmed back up to Ceddy (who was responsible for accidentally ditching me) after he obliged me in singing the famous tune about dancing on the bridge.
He’s got ‘tude, but he’s adorbs.