A week ago my friend Devan and I took a weekend trip to the city of Avignon. If this name rings a bell, you might know it from the title of one of the most famous Picasso works, "Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon."
Although Avignon did not carry any characteristic of brothels or prostitution, like in Picasso's painting, it was a cute city with an interesting history. It was not too large, and it was a nice quiet getaway in comparison to Lyon, but it still had its considerable amount of tourists.
In the 13th and 14th century Avignon had great importance for it's presence of Popes during the Catholic Schism. They lived in the "Palais des Popes" which is one of the city's main touristic attractions. Connected to the Palais is the famous bridge "Le Point d'Avignon." It is famous because it is actually only half of a bridge. It once connected to the island of Villeneuve-les-Avignon, which lies just on the other side of the Rhone (the same Rhone river that passes through Lyon), but apparently after several floods in the 1600's, it could not stand.
What I found fascinating about the city was that the medieval fortress walls, which once protected the city, were still in tact and beautifully preserved around the entire city center.
Devan and I arrived on the most perfect day : La Nuit des Musées - the night of museums. All museums in the city were free! =) Chez Le Musée Angladon, there was an exhibition on the photographs of Bonnard, Degas and Vuillard . This show was really interesting because these three artists are hardly known for photography, but known rather for their paintings during the post-impressionist period. I remember when studying the works of Degas that he was very much interested in photography and therefore painted in such a way that a camera would capture the scene that he was recreating, but I never imagined seeing an exhibition completely dedicated to his photographs. It was a wonderful idea for an exhibition and it showed the artistic and amicable relations among these three artists.
One of my favorite memories of Avignon was the wonderful smell and taste of lavender everywhere. Yes, I say taste because since the Provencal area in France (including Avignon) is known for their lavender fields, there were so many delicious treats of this aroma - lavender ice cream, lavender cookies, lavender candy, lavender pastis, lavender liqueur, lavender honey, lavender oil, etc... there were also your variety of lavender soaps, perfumes, lotions and cosmetics - I was quiet obsessed.
I was really pleased that I took this trip to Avignon. Because I don't have the largest salary, I hesitate to travel around France in fear of spending too much money, but I find it really important to take advantage of my French residency and visit as many cities as possible while I am here. I see France as a second home to me, who knows, someday I might have duel citizenship ;) and I must know more about the country outside from the knowledge gained from only visiting one or two cities.