We spent the last morning on our own in Provence at Saint-Rémy’s weekly farmer’s market. Since it was the off-season, things were quiet in the village with only a handful of booths open. We thought the markets at home might just be a bit busier then, since this was the day before Thanksgiving. Another location in the village that we walked through going to and from the market was also quiet – the cemetery. On this last morning the light there was so striking:
We took our time packing (which was easier to do with the new suitcase we picked up at the market), checked out of the hotel, and drove back to the Avignon TGV station to drop off our rental car. When we showed our cab driver where we wanted to go to board the Viking Heimdal, he literally said: “Ooooh la la!” That was definitely a first for us. We had thought that phrase wasn’t really used by the French!
We arrived late in the morning, but a few departing passengers were still lingering on the ship, finishing their last breakfast, hanging onto the river cruise experience for as long as possible. We were the first passengers to board for the upcoming cruise, and were one of the few that day who didn’t arrive exhausted from an overnight flight.
The ship would spend the rest of the day and the next docked in Avignon, and would return for the afternoon after that following a brief stay in Arles. In Avignon, we went exploring on our own and took the included Viking outing, which involved a tour of the Papal Palace (which we’ll describe in a separate post). This is how our tour started out:
During our exploration we found Avignon to be a town that was pleasant both in appearance and in size. It was easy to walk from the ship to the main thoroughfares and attractions.
Here are some photos from our walks around Avignon (click on them to enlarge):
We weren’t the only ones taking pictures in Avignon. Some proud parents apparently liked the Place Crillon (seen above at the top of this post) as the backdrop for a photo of their stylin’ daughter:
One of our stops in Avignon was at the covered marketplace, Les Halles. A parking garage is built on top of the market hall, and the ugliness of the garage is disguised by an exterior wall of plants:
We visited a small church (Saint Pierre (“Peter”) Basilica). St. Peter was featured on the facade of the church, clutching the keys to heaven:
Located right next to the ship at the end of the waterfront’s parking area was the gorgeous “Monument du Comtat” featuring Marianne, the national emblem of France:
A short walk upriver from the Heimdal’s docking location was the famous abbreviated Pont d’Avignon:
We had some nice sunsets and sunrises on this, including this shot from our first evening in Avignon:
When we had rain, however, the weather could be dramatic. Here’s a video of a rain storm, complete with thunder and lightning, as the Heimdal departed a lock on the Rhône:
Up next: the Papal Palace.