Saturday May 12
This was an early morning as I had to be ready to leave the ship by 7am for a tour to Avignon and Aix-en-Provence. By 7:15 the tour bus departed the port of Marseille and I was listening to our young friendly French guide named Thibaut and learning the history of Marseille. I find that it is much easier to learn about history through this means instead of a boring class in school. I always hated history.
As we drove towards the medieval city of Avignon I enjoyed the beautiful landscape of the south of France. It is May so the Spanish Broom was blooming in brilliant shades of golden yellow. Also in bloom and dotting the countryside were the valerian plants in shades of lavender. I wish I had some decent photos of this gorgeous countryside but it is not possible to get anything of quality through a bus window. Instead I am posting a photo taken by Marek Gehrmann titled Lavender field in the Provence, France.
Closer to Avignon and Aix once in awhile I could see poppies growing in fields that were colored in brilliant red. Paul Cezanne was born in Aix and I could now understand how he had been inspired to paint in such bright colors. There is a statue of him in the center of Aix.
Avignon looks like something out of a movie or a book as the entire city is surrounded with an ancient wall and inside is a huge palace built by popes. Appropriately this palace is called Palace of the Popes, or Palais des Papes and occupies part of a huge square of the same name.
The streets here are winding and built with cobblestones and I love these kinds of places because around each corner is a surprise.
I found that not only the Italians hang their clothes outside their windows. The French also love flowers and they are everywhere.
There are lots of little shops and restaurants here and naturally I found one where I could buy some wonderful French bread and eat it as I wandered around on my own.
Next post will be about the other half of this day as the tour continues to the town of Aix.