Avignon Day 3 June 10 – Villeneaux-lez-Avignon, Forte Saint-André
I woke at 3 am! And didn’t really get back to sleep. When I left New Zealand I hadn’t been able to buy the stuff I have taken with great success in the past – Flyhydrate – if you are travelling it is definitely worth looking at their website. I used it for several trips in 2013 and 2014 and felt great and had no sleep problems. And I hadn’t taken the No Jet Lag homeopathic tablets that also really work because I was sick.
Marion suggested I visited the market at Villeneaux-lez-Avignon – across the river. She said it would be about 20 minutes walking, or to take a number 5 bus. I decided that it was early enough and cool enough to walk – I mean, 20 minutes is nothing. But, it wasn’t 20 minutes. It was more like an hour by the time I had walked down off the bridge to Barthelasse island and then realised I shouldn’t have done that, so I had to walk back up and continue on to find the market. I asked one man who looked blankly at me when I asked for Market? – with a hard ‘k’ – and then when he realised what I meant, he replied – marché – with a soft ‘ch’….. anyway, he sent me in the correct direction and eventually I found it.
On the way I took some photos – and this sign at a park entrance made me laugh, imagining all those dejected canines being denied access to the park.
It was an antiques market and there were some interesting things for sale but the saddest thing was that so many of the items were in the full sun and would have been getting damaged by the sunlight and heat.
I saw a dog being pushed around in a pushchair! The French love taking their dogs shopping with them.
After walking around the market, I found the Information Centre, and found out how to get to the fortress that I could see above me. It was Forte Saint-André.
It was quite a steep walk up to the entrance but once up there, I got a great view over the Rhône Valley and of Avignon.
Originally there was an Abbey in this location but the fort was built in the 1360s. According to the brochure “it is a perfect example of medieval military architecture, built by John II The Good. The Fort protected what was then the boundary of the Kingdom of France.”
The bread oven room is thought to have been created in 1629 during the quarantine imposed by the plague.
Here is the link to my Google photos album Fort Saint-André. I have added the extra photos taken today – and some of them aren’t great as at this point in my trip, I hadn’t read the instruction manual for my new camera – it made a big difference to the quality of the photos once I did!
It was so hot (32 deg C) and I was getting rather tired after my early start, so I decided I wouldn’t walk back to see the other monument [Philippe le Bel Tower] so I caught the bus back to Avignon.
However, having later read the Avignon Passion brochure (which I didn’t have with me) I wish I had made the effort. Ah well, maybe another visit to Avignon will be necessary in the future! I was so close but I was focussed on finding the market and I didn’t know what this building was when I took the photo.
On the bus I met a young couple from Sheffield, UK, who were on holiday with their 5-week old baby!
Once back in Avignon I walked into the centre – and on the way I had a sugar crêpe – it was more like a large pancake really. It was ok but it wasn’t exciting and I wouldn’t get one again. Probably the ham and cheese crêpes would have been tastier but it was too early to eat that much.
I went into an arcade as I saw paintings on the wall.
And then on the other wall was a shop with 1920s style paintings. I don’t know who painted them, but they were like posters.
I wasn’t going to go out for a meal as I wasn’t particularly hungry, but I met Mary-Lou and Bill from South Carolina who had just arrived at the B&B. They invited me to share their picnic-style meal on the terrace. They had a car and that day had visited several of the small towns around Avignon. They had bought different breads and cheeses, olives, tapenade, cherries and strawberries from one of the markets, and red wine from one of their wine tasting visits. It was delicious, just what I needed and I really enjoyed their company and their food!
That night I packed as the next day I was being collected by Corinne to start the Tour of Provence.