Avignon
Walk through Avignon
Visit to the Palais des Papes
Visit to Le Garde Adhemar
Stop at the A. Morin Chocolaterie
Evening Walking tour of Viviers
Roman Temple of Augustus
Visit to the Gallo Roman Museum


All pictures expand when clicked on.

The morning began with a lovely cruise up the Rhone on a beautiful sunny day.
Occasionally the boat would pass some castle sitting along the river. 

The ship docked at Avignon and we walked across the road to the walls of the town.  The walls were impressive in the size, length, and ornament.

Inside the walls is the medieval town with the requisite European squares and cafes.

Finally we come to the Palace of the Popes.

Following the strife between Philip IV of France and Pope Boniface VIII, and the death of his successor Benedict XI after only eight months in office, a deadlocked conclave finally elected Clement V, a Frenchman, as Pope in 1305.

Clement declined to move to Rome, remaining in France, and in 1309 moved his court to the papal enclave at Avignon, where it remained for the next 67 years.  A total of seven popes reigned at Avignon; all were French and they increasingly fell under the influence of the French Crown.

Finally, on September 13, 1376, Gregory XI abandoned Avignon and moved his court to Rome, officially ending the Avignon Papacy.

 This Medici house sits on the square opposite the Palace of the Popes.

 The Palais is actually made up of two buildings connected by this courtyard and a couples of walls.  The old Palais of Benedict XII which sits on the impregnable rock of Doms, and the new Palais of Clement VI, the most extravagant of the Avignon popes. The final combination is the largest Gothic building of the Middle Ages.

 This work of sculpture is on a wall near the papal bed chamber.

In this hall modern abstract art sits in contrast to the spare Gothic architecture. 

 You can climb the battlements for a view of the river and the town.

 Back on the boat we continue crusing up the Rhone. The bridge in this photo is the one memorialized by the children's song, Sur La Pont du Avignon

 

The next morning on the bus we drive by the hilltop fortified village of Viviers, where we had taken a night tie stroll,  to reach the hilltop fortified village of La Garde-Adhemar.

  

 

Perched on a rocky spur overlooking the Rhône valley, La Garde-Adhémar has a lovely view of the plain below. 

La Garde-Adhémar was a fiefdom of the Adhémars in the 12th century and its medieval atmosphere remaines intact.

We toured this herbal garden while we waited for the church to open.

The church of Saint Michel is a marvel of Provençal Romanesque architecture, with an imposing majestic octagonal clocktower, built in the 12th century and provides a panoramic view of the Rhône plain. 

 

 

As you walk through the streets of the village you see many restored houses with garden courtyard entrances.

Next stop was the Chocolaterie A. Morin which as the name says is a chocolate factory specializing in chocolate covered almonds.  We had a demonstration and discussion about chocolate making inside the building.  And we ate chocolate!

 While the chocolate is imported the almonds are grown in local almond groves.

That evening we took a walking tour of Viviers.  Many of the building were lighted.  It was an interesting walk.

 The next morning was a walk through the city of Vienne to view the Roman Temple of August. 

I don't know what one can say about a Roman temple that just sort of sits in the middle of the town square other than its always been there. 

 

We visited the Vienne Cathedral dedicated to Saint Maurice, and a national monument of France.  The Gothic church was built over a long period, between 1052 and 1533.

We bused across the river to the Roman Gallo Museum. 

This museum was very impressive and our guide Laurence provided quite an interesting commentary about many of the pieces.

The massive Lycurgus Mosaic, displayed in a darkened room with continuously changing light, shows the Thracian King Lycurgus at the center of a dark green background interwoven with an intricate gold foliage motif.

The myth told that Lycurgus, for banning the worship of Bacchus, was punished with madness and death. The scene depicted in the mosaic shows Lycurgus slaying his son, Dryas, whom he has mistaken for vine-stock.  This story was told in Homer's epic, Iliad.

 In an alternative version, sometimes shown in art, Lycurgus tries to kill Ambrosia, a follower of Dionysus, who was transformed into a vine that twined around the enraged king and restrained him, eventually killing him.

On our way to Lyon, the tour stops to see the Aqueduct of the Gier.

The Aqueduct of the Gier is an ancient Roman aqueduct probably constructed in the 1st century CE to provide water for Lyon.  Following a sinuous path, at 85 km (53 mi) the aqueduct of the Gier is the longest known of the Roman aqueducts.

Four inverted siphon tunnels cross the river valley of the Durèze, on pipe bridges raised on high arches. In these, water filled a sunken tank tower on the brim of a slope. The tank effected a transition between open channel flow and a lead pipeline. From the castellum water was carried, now pressurized, in a set of airtight lead pipes laid side by side, with soldered joints, down the valley slope, across a bridge spanning the river and up the facing slope, to a tank slightly lower than the head tank, losing just a little hydraulic head in the process.

The inverted siphons obviated the bridging of deep valleys with arcade upon arcade of arches, as at Pont du Gard, which marks the limit of such a system.

 Go to the Lyon Page

 Back to the Beginning Page