Friday, 7 July 2017

Exploring Provence: Avignon

One of the most annoying things about growing up has to be that suddenly, family holidays are a thing of the past. Gone are the days where you'd be bundled into the back of a car at some ungodly time in the morning, whisked off to the airport (your suitcase carefully packed by you, then re-packed by your mother), ferried through security ("I'll have that passport back, thank you very much!") before arriving in some lovely location, all without having paid a penny.

So, as you can imagine, I was pretty excited when my Mum suggested a trip to the South of France as a little summer break. 

We got up early and headed to St Pancras station - I was pretty excited as every time I've been to France in the past, I've either flown, taken the ferry or the boring car bit of the Eurostar. This time however, I was looking forwards to the no-fuss experience of jumping on your average train in the center of London and comfortably travelling to my destination, a few hundred miles and a sea away.

Soon, we arrived in Avignon. The city is one of the best-preserved walled cities in France and is steeped in history. It's home to 'The Palais des Papes' or 'The Papal Palace' where 14th century popes ruled over Europe after escaping violence in Rome as well as, perhaps most famously, the 'Pont d'Avignon'. 

Pont d'Avignon is a bridge which is immortalised in a nursery rhyme I'm sure you had to learn at some point in your life if you were ever made to sit French GCSE: 

Sur le Pont d'Avignon

On y danse, On y danse

Sur le Pont d'Avignon

On y danse tous en rond

Sound familiar? 

The bridge was a really interesting place to visit - legend has it that it was founded by a Shepard who was ordered to build a bridge over the River Rhône. Regardless of the truth of it, the story was definitely entertaining!

Walking around Avignon was quite a treat, especially when armed with a large ice cream from one of the many shops. (I had a particularly nice mint ice cream which was particularly refreshing). Despite the scorching temperatures (some of the hottest in recent years), the winding stone streets were cool, lined with coffee shops and restaurants.

One evening, we stopped for evening tea and cakes in the beautiful courtyard of Hotel d'Europe. The patisseries were of a generous size and delicately presented, whilst the service was very friendly. 

However, my favouite meal had to be at La Mirande. Now, Mum had been to Avignon a few times before and La Mirande was, in her opinion, the best place to have lunch in the city. Let me just say up front - she's right. 

Lunch is a three course set menu affair, which, given the quality and quantity of the food, is exceptionally well priced at thirty nine euros per head. The chef previously worked in not one, but two three Michelin star restaurants which gives you an idea of the standard. 

The dished were all beautifully presented and delicious, with the added bonus of small amuse-bouche between each. 

We very happily tucked into them all, practically scraping the plates clean. 

It's also worth mentioning just how friendly and informative the staff were as well!

From Avignon, Mum and I were able to explore a few of the beautiful sites around Provence - more to come soon! 

1 comment:

  1. Such gorgeous photos! And that food... yum!


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