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Avignon is NE of Arles (see map on the Arles page), further island, and probably is best known as the home of the Popes (is that plural for Pope? or is it Popi?) during their time in France (1309-1377). The day I was there is should have been renamed "Oven on" as it was just blazing. The use of large reflective white slabs of stone everywhere didn't help. I suppose this tainted my overall view of Avignon, but it could have also been looking at what seemed like 100 "Madonna an child" paintings. I suppose it would have been a bigger deal if I had any affinity for the Catholic church, but the actual palace was stripped of most everything except a few painted rooms and there was no photography allowed anyway...

The second part is from Aix, SE of Avignon. It was actually overcast most of the time I was in Aix, which was a welcome change. The problem with Aix is that the main museum was closed until 2005?! and that the following day everything was closed for a national holiday. It had very neat streets to walk around in though...

IMG_4236 After checking into the hotel I walked to the north tip of the old town and, since everything was closed until 2pm, I went up to the Rocher Des Doms, a hilltop garden behind the Papel palace which gave a commanding view of the Rhone and surrounding area. The bridge below is the Pont St. Benzet, of the childrens song "sur le pont d’ÄôAvignon"
I decided to first get hit the Musˆ©e du Petit Palais to get a quick overview of the kind of things that would have been in the palice. This was the Frances second hottest museum, with water on the floor in many rooms. Rooms and rooms of paintings of about four religious subjects. In the first room there were some nice pieces from Greek/Roman Avignon, and the second picture is from the tomb of Cardinal Jean de Langrange, depicting his rotting body in a style developed in France in the 15th-16th centuries. I don't know why. IMG_4237 IMG_4238
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IMG_4241 A medieval building in Avignon. Taxation was based on the square footage of the first floor, so many owners made that as small as possible, cantilevering the upper floors out over the street.
Water wheels towards the end of Rue Theirs. IMG_4242 IMG_4243 IMG_4244
IMG_4245 The ultra modern, ultra thin, Avignon TGV station. Let me rant a bit about design over function. The bathrooms here had these big thick solid wood doors. Someone forgot what all that weight would sound like closing, even at low speed. The place sounded like cargo trucks constantly slamming into the docks... must drive the attendants insane.
IMG_4246 Aix in Provence, pronounced like "X" or "Aches", or as Orly says "Acres"
Aix has many fountains, the middle one is nicknamed "mossy" as is fed by a hot stream. IMG_4247 IMG_4248 IMG_4249
IMG_4250 Having to walk by these kind of windows daily is a special kind of torture.
IMG_4251 The city has installed these brass "Cezanne" plates in the sidewalks to help you on a tour of sites, but sometimes the mysteriously end in the middle of the street...like some magic incantation "Cezzane!" and it's disappeared.
More Aix, fountain of the four dolphins, street scenes. IMG_4262 IMG_4261 IMG_4258 IMG_4257 IMG_4256 IMG_4268 IMG_4267 IMG_4266 IMG_4264 IMG_4255 IMG_4270
IMG_4271 Now doesn't this guy look like he has to "go" in a different way than just crossing the street?
Cathedral St-Sauveur. Sections of the church range from the 5th century to the 17 century.I think this was the first time I had ever seen sunflowers in a church... IMG_4281 IMG_4273 IMG_4274 IMG_4277 IMG_4280
"Good King" Renˆ©... he apparently was fairly enlightened, grapes in his hand because it was he who brought the Muscat to Provence. IMG_4272
The very neat Aix TGV station. Just wanted to show how on the ball the TGV is... before your train arrives you get a layout of the train cars on the board, so you know beforehand where to stand on the platform to line up with your car. IMG_4282 IMG_4284
IMG_4285 A brief layover in Marseille (view from the station) just enough time to walk down to the port tourist office and discover all the museums were closed anyway.