16 Days in France (Day 6)

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Avignon to Chateauneuf du Pape (non Viviers)

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[Ah, Avignon.  Our home away from home.  This would, however, be the first day we would venture out into the city under adult supervision.  Our guide is holding “lollipop” sign “3C” again . . . we were hoping we would finally make the “A” list!]

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[Here we are back at city hall again, a place we know intimately because of several previous visits.  😉  ]

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[This is our guide.  Again I do not remember names.  I need to write stuff down.]

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[The side street where we were all standing in the previous pictures had these “murals” on the wall of what I suspect must have been a theatre or music hall?  I thought they were neat.  Is “neat” still part of the current lexicon?]

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[A ground mosaic in the central square.  It says something that I can’t translate.]

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[Our guide is about to lead into us into an area of first impression, for us.  We’re going to the Palais des Papes, the Palace of the Popes.  Yup, this is where the popes lived in the 14th century.  Of course, the pope residence ultimately moved to Rome when they got a good travel deal through Kayak.com.]

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[Our first sighting of the palace . . .]

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[At least it wasn’t awash in souvenir shops.]

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[We gird ourselves for more stair climbing . . . these palaces always seem to have a dearth of elevators.]

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[The gilded statue of the Virgin Mary on the west tower.]

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[I guess this is officially known as the building across from the Palais des Papes.  The façade is Paul V’s coat-of-arms.]

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[Looking across the square to the “building across from the Palais des Papes.”]

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[The ceiling inside, where of course ceilings should be.  When did ceilings change to plain white plaster?]

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[We are commencing our interior tour.  A neighboring tour group is ceding our spot in the queue.]

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[A modern sculpture (mobile) is under construction in the interior courtyard.]

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[Somehow its modernity is incongruous to the antiquity . . . but that’s what they said about the pyramid at the Louvre.]

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[I still can’t see it?  When our guide was discussing this wall, I couldn’t get a vantage point because of the crush of people.  They would stare at this wall and eventually say, “Now I see it.”  The supervisor seems to recall it was the Eiffel Tower.  I couldn’t see it, so I took a quick photo to catch up with the group.]

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[Anne poses a question concerning the architectural model of the palace.  Possibly something along the line of potential use as a time share?]

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[This may have been the central hall of the palace, as reflected in the following photos.]

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[Some may recall (we can no longer find it?) that on our first day in Avignon the supervisor posted a FB photo of me holding this flyer backed by a large poster of a modern dancer?  I remember thinking at the time that this would be a “unique” art show to have at the pope’s place.]

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[And here is the actual artwork posted on the palace wall.]

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[The Biddies selected those that were photo eligible . . .]

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[No, seriously.]

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[Our guide unabashedly explains the art show.  This was a wood ceiling?]

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[This is the kitchen chimney.  They did some serious cooking here!]

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[Haute cuisine means “high cooking;” does cuisine haute mean “cooking high”?]

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[Kathy and Bert]

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[I was trying to figure out . . .]

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[As The Biddies look on . . .]

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[Why some of the statuary was horizontal.  I finally figured out it was probably to look at the ceiling, often covered with art the equal to or better than that on the walls.]

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[A frieze, and at 100-degree days, a “freeze” would have been welcome.]

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[Please feel free to wander the room; just take care not to bump into each other.]

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[The super found another objet d’art for me.  🙂 ]

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[Kinda Pompeii-ish.]

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[The backlit super.]

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[Stefan Szcsesny is a German artist.  And the large sculpture in the center court is his “The Tree of Life.”]

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[Une toilette medieval.]

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[A view of the Virgin Mary, atop the west tower.]

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[Have you noticed how many of the auditoriums of antiquity are “reconstituted” for use today?  And why not?]

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[Pont d’Avignon, from ground level.]

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[After leaving the Palais, the tour was going on to commercial area.  I decided to head back to the boat, but on the way took about the 1/2 mile stroll down to the bridge.]

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[It was hot, so I was in a bit of a hurry to get back into some air conditioning.]

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[Now heading back to the boat, along the outer wall of the city.]

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[Not corn or soybeans.  On a tour only Bill and I decided to take . . .]

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[It was admittedly over-priced, the only paid tour I took, but we were going to a wine tasting in Chateauneuf du Pape.  How could I pass up Chateauneuf du Pape?  It’s famed in song and story – and in tasting rooms round the world.  😉   ]

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[Bill shoots out the window as we approach the fabled village.]

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[Bill readies to enter the winery . . . we were going to do the tasting, without a net!]

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[Impressive barrels!  Paul Bunyan must be their cooper?]

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[Shooting back into the store.]

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[Where we were.]

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[The wine guy.  Was really good, knew his stuff, spoke gooder English than me, and I believe the ladies would say a handsome young man.  We tasted a white and two reds.  To my surprise, I liked the white best.  Ever the smart a**, I threw “screw top or cork?” at him.  He grinned, knowing where Mr. Smartypants was coming from, and said the cork will probably stay around just because it is so much a part of the wine culture.   Good answer.   But we know screw tops are becoming more and more common because they provide a better seal.]

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[The Grenache grape is the king (or queen) of the Chateauneuf du Pape wine region.  It can be blended with any of the other varietals shown above.]

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[Buy wine, buy wine!  I think I did – I know I did buy a bottle of du Pape, just can’t remember if I bought it here?]

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[Let’s go into town.]

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[Town]

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[Restaurant]

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[Trying to stay in the shade as we walked the narrow streets.]

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[We climbed a hill to a little square – unfortunately, this is the best view I could find of the valley below.]

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[I have no idea what everybody was looking at here.]

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[OK, everybody on 3 . . . the city hall!]

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[Can’t believe I walked up – it was smokin’ hot.]

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[Green, leafy plants – quite possibly grapes.]

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[And when we got back to the boat . . . . OH NO!  We got back in time for dinner and for the second night in a row, the A/C crapped out in the dining room.  Got sweaty uncomfortable.  Then other electrical issues began to happen, so we pulled off on the side of the river.  Three of the 4 generators had failed, overwhelmed by the heat wave.  The captain was not going on with only one generator.  We did not know at the time how long this would last, but at least just sitting still we had A/C in the rooms, water, and toilets.  At first we thought we had just pulled off at any ole spot.  It turns out it was a small town that could handle us and give us an address for repair.  This is looking forward out our window . . . ]

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[This was looking aft.  Now it’s beginning to seem like a serial.  Will they be rescued?  Will everyone survive?  Did we have enough fois gras?  Those, and other stories coming up next!]

Boy, those French! They have a different word for everything.  ~  Steve Martin

Up next:  Stranded!?

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