Paris pretty much empties out in August, as most of the city takes les vacances. I think at least half of them head to the south of France, and many of them leave the first weekend of August…same day that we chose – oops.
The train station was packed, but we took an uber and arrived early, which was definitely the way to go. We were on the TGV to Avignon, and it was indeed a tres grand vitesse – the rural French countryside flew by outside the window! I just love train travel; it’s so relaxing.
When we arrived in Avignon we had to wait in a long line for our rental car — boy is it hot here, so different from Paris! They are actually having an unusually hot spell this week in Provence; it’s supposed to be in the 90s every day we are here.
After getting our little silver Peugot we made our way into Avignon. Finding parking was a bit of a challenge, as it’s a walled city with no cars inside, and the signage to the parking lots was not so good. But after making several large circles (traversing the ponts), we finally found our way to a lot. We had a yummy lunch on a leafy square in Avignon; I think I’m going to enjoy the food in Provence, everything tastes so fresh and flavorful!
I really liked Avignon, though it’s quite a tourist town this time of year. The papal palace is truly impressive
and it was cool to see the Pont d’Avignon from above (from the park behind the papal palace).
The history here is so amazing. Avignon was the seat of the Roman Empire for about 75 years, and then there was a period of ‘schism’ with a pope in both Rome and Avignon.
The girls were troopers, but we decided trying to do the Palace tour would be pushing it, so we just walked around the perimeter and then took them to get gelato!
Our drive to Bargemon was relatively uneventful until I shut my eyes at a rather critical moment and we missed our exit off the highway. That set off a google maps disaster as we tried to make our way back to the highway and ended up on a dead end dirt road. We’ve had such good luck with offline maps until now, but I learned my lesson to use google maps as a guide but use my head (vs. their directions) to know which way to go!!
Unfortunately, Marji and Ron had an even harder time, as they were trying to use the rather poor directions from the HomeAway site. By the time we all got to the house, it was almost 7pm, and everyone was exhausted. The house is lovely, and the town of Bargemon is a very small, charming medieval village (about a 10 minute drive, 20 minute walk from the house).
It’s extremely dry and hot here, despite being high in the hills. However, the pool is large and extremely refreshing, so I guess we’ll be spending a lot of time there!