Avignon is a place where time doesn’t move for centuries. The town is fully hid behind the massive medieval wall. Some houses are more than 2000 years old – the place was founded at time before Christ. Numerous narrow (very narrow!) streets, old squares with fountains and trees that saw rising and falling of empires, palaces of noble people of the past. Buidings are made from grey stone that is not afraid of weather and time.
Creation of Avignon could be dated from 1500 to 800 AD.
We arrived to Avignon about 18-00 and rushed to Rue de la Republique in search. There we settled up in MacDonalds – wireless internet gave a chance to find a host. We hid at the end of the second floor and had dinner. After 30 minutes of relaxation we got a message from Hugo!
He was so nice to pick us up right from MacDonalds. In the Old city every point can be reached by foot in short time. And this is the view from Hugo’s house:
Huge Palais des Papes towers above the Old town. From there the whole Avignon is seen – view is stunning! This palace (it’s looks more like citadel) was constracted in 14th century – as an accomodation for Pope but more as a demonstration of power and might.
To the north of the Palace there’s a lovely garden – with sculptury, a pond with ducks and a small retaurant.
We arrived to the city just before the Theatre festival. Thousand od theatres perform for a month on streets and in halls of Avignon. Visiting an “inside” play could turn expensive but outdoors all attractions and performances are for free.
Before the festival all the city is thoroughly covered with millions of afishes from theatres-paticipants. They are on street lamps and walls, fences and traffic bariers. In the street we often met young people with piles of afishes and staircase.This is a good way from students to have fun and earn something.
At the end of Rue de la Republique, just before la porte de la republique, we’ve found a lovely market where films and books are sold. Mostly in French : ) This is a place where you can buy Tarkovsky’s film or Tolstoy’s novel.
In the eastern part of the old city we walked along the most expensive street. It has lovely conditery shop but… don’t think that budget traveller can afford something there.
Another interesting place where we dropped in – old Library near Rue F.Mistral. It has free internet (quite slow by the way) and on the second floor – original wooden sailing with carvings that is many centuries old.
We had a long walk outside the Old City – in Villneuf. There’s an old Abbey and a castle there. And a nice view on the Old city from a bridge above Rhone river. Walk was quite long so we hitch-hiked back.
Despite its age, Avignon is very touristic. As locals told us, they even prefer to take vacancecitys and leave the while fesivals like upcoming one: ancient streets become overloaded by visitors.