Destination: Avignon, France (2018 Edition)

Bonjour!

This past weekend, I visited Avignon, a city located in the south of France. I chose to visit the place for two reasons: 1) to see a fellow English teacher who’s my friend and 2) as my honorary birthday travel time. Especially for the latter, I’d been going out of town for my birthday weekend since living in France for the past three years, so it was the tradition to do so!

Even though I’d already gone to Avignon just two years prior, it’d been a while, and I was keen on revisiting the sites and perhaps discovering new ones. That said, after my last class ended at noon on Thursday, I caught a ride from my city over to Avignon in the late afternoon. It was a pleasant 2-1/2 hour journey, and I arrived in the city around 19:00.

I dropped off my belongings in my friend’s flat and together, we headed out to dinner in town. She took me to a Vietnamese restaurant, where we got a great deal with a meal that cost 11€. Afterwards, we headed back to her flat– it happened to be an *extremely* windy evening, as it was the mistral wind blowing throughout the south of France. Any case, we returned to her place where we rested for the night.

My friend had to teach one class the following morning, so I re-explored the city on my own as she worked. Avignon is a small city: its history dates back to as early as the Middle Ages, and it’s surrounded by fortified walls– to walk from one end of town to the other, it would only take a mere 30 minutes tops. That said, I had no trouble covering the main sights in less than two hours.

First stop was the Rocher des Doms, a park-terrace located just adjacent to the Avignon Cathedral. Besides its tranquil environment, it also boasts some incredible views of the famous pont Saint-Bénézat, aka Avignon Bridge, along with the neighboring village of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon. It was a blue-sky, sunny day, and it made for excellent photos!

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On the way to the Rocher des Doms.
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View from the Rocher des Doms.

Next, I popped into the Avignon Cathedral before checking out the Palais des Papes, another notable monument, from the outside. The latter’s known for being the former seat of Western Christianity in the 14th century, and today is a major tourist draw from all over the world. I’d visited the inside the last time I went to Avignon, so I didn’t have the need to pay and revisit it this time around.

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Palais des Papes.

Of course, I had to pay my respect to the iconic pont d’Avignon, so I headed over to see it. Famous for being only half-constructed, the bridge had actually been completely built back in the 12th century, but had been destroyed during a war in the 13th century. Efforts were made to rebuild it but, due to severe floods over the centuries, the project was completely abandoned in the 17th century. Today, it remains half-finished, and people can pay to go on top of it. I’d walked on it the last time I was in town, although I’d say it wasn’t worth it– after all, you can’t go anywhere!

It was around noon when I visited the bridge. I was to meet my friend at half-past noon for lunch, after her last class, so I headed to the meeting spot, which was a zero-waste vegan restaurant near the university. It turned out to be nothing like I’d had before in France, as everything was vegan and quite delicious. It was something that I could imagine having in California, so it really surprised me that France was onto the vegan scene, too! It was a lot of food, but for a great price and quality.

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Vegan lunch.

After lunch, we returned to her flat to do some work for our jobs in the afternoon. Ended up ordering in pizza for dinner that night and, along with some wine, it made for a chill night-in, rather than out in town.

We did a day trip to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon the following afternoon (more on that later). Upon returning to Avignon in the early evening, we popped into a cat café for a break. It was my first time ever visiting a cat café, and it was a new experience seeing cats roaming around as you enjoy food. Along with my fruit crumble and glass of white wine, I also gushed over the cats with the other customers inside.

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Cat at the cat café.
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Rue des Teinturiers in the evening.

Later that night, we made a delicious garlic pasta for dinner, along with more wine to boot. We relaxed for the night, and I stayed up until midnight to ring in my birthday, as it was that Sunday. After that, I was pooped and turned in for bed.

The following day was my last in Avignon. Before leaving early that evening, my friend and I headed to a British café for afternoon tea. It was my birthday present, as my friend ended up treating me, which was really kind of her. I ordered an incredible mocha cake with tons of frosting and a floral tea. My stomach was happy, and I was content upon catching my ride back home afterwards.

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Cake time.
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Outer walls of Avignon.

It’d been a short weekend away, but it was much-needed. Besides getting to see my friend, I also got to see the French sun, having been starved of it for months in my region. Admittedly, it was more a food-fest than sight-seeing kind of weekend, but I’m sure not complaining! If anything, I was glad to have gotten out of the house and flex my travel muscles once more.

Will recap my day trip to Villeneuve-lès-Avignon in due time. Until then!

— The Finicky Cynic

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10 thoughts on “Destination: Avignon, France (2018 Edition)

    1. rebbit7

      I agree! Avignon was a mixture of busy and relaxed, although more catered towards the latter. Weekend getaways can really clear one’s head!

  1. Pingback: Destination: Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, France – The Finicky Cynic

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