Avignon is tucked away about one hour from hustling Marseille in the south of France.
The first time I visited the place I went with my niece who would turn 14 in a couple of days and with only a blurry idea of what awaited us in Avignon. I picked the destination we were to spend the next five days by a sole picture on the Internet. In the photo a dusty city was the background for a slow paced river with an old riverboat anchored up by the riverbanks. A big green oak tree embraced the whole scene with its strong branches and I was sold.
We explored Marseille the first night before we hopped on a slow riding train to catch the first sunrays of a new day in Avignon. Overloaded with very inconveniently packed luggage we ran around in the early mist in the streets of Avignon to find a perfect spot to see the sunrise. We barely made it to the top of a hill next to the magnificent Palais de Papes to find a vibrating huge sunflowerlaba work its way over the horizon and it took our breath away.
Avignon holds an alluring sophistication only French villages posses. With city wall dating back to the early 14th century, a river that whispers quietly of time long gone, perfectly arranged lavender fields and quirky olive trees this city is wrapped in the arms of beauty. You have to pay her a visit! She will enrich your life and make sure you never forget her.
I can frankly confess that Avignon has conditioned my soul with its sophisticated beauty and tranquil lifestyle.
You will find many cute, extravagant or budget hotels in the city, but if you feel like falling asleep to the beat of the nature, rent a houseboat like we did. The calm waves from La Rhône will gently rock you to sleep, and breakfast on deck is not a bad thing either. We woke early did some yoga, eat fresh fruit from the city marked just 7 minutes away by foot, planned our day as the sun arose and mirrored it’s face in the water. Heavenly if you ask me.
Avignon also makes the perfect base for daily excursions to many small villages nearby. I will make posts of two of the villages we loved later. One will be about the famous marked in Carpentras and the other about furniture shopping in Isle sur le source. You will love these villages.
Avignon has wonderful gourmet food shops with locally grown vegetables, olives and fruit of the season. But it was the cheese "fromage" boutiques that caught my attention. I love cheese! This picture is actually from a cheese stand in Carpentras under an hour away from Avignon, but I will post it here as it might as well have been in Avignon.