As I head north out of Avignon on the TGV to Paris, I am reflecting on my couple of days walking around solo in the beautiful southern French town that has stood guard over the Rhone river since the 11th century. It would definitely be a romantic city if you are travelling with a lover or meeting someone new there with the ability to communicate effectively. Not speaking French well at all has somewhat inhibited my ability to socialise and this I find extremely strange. I am a gregarious creature who finds human interaction to be most satisfying. So to remove this is a little difficult, but I am off on my solo adventure for yet another day in Avignon’s city historique.
Sipping my espresso in the forecourt of Le Lutrin Cafe at Hotel Palais de Papes, its 7:30am and I am greeted by the sounds of the morning after. Street cleaners and garbage collectors are walking around preparing for the plethora of festival goers that will reappear again today. The coffee is mild, unburnt and mocha in its aroma and it is delivering vital nutrients right now. Sitting here enjoying this and feeling a little emotional about it is quite the nice way to welcome in my first morning in Avignon. Many years in the making, I take it all in.
Initially I was alone, now there is another couple sitting having an early breakfast quite possibly discussing what they intend to venture upon during the day. The wafting aroma of freshly baked croissants and strong coffee was truly wonderful. A few people beginning to mill around as they prepare for another day. I am not alone for long as the hotel guest start to stroll in. This is quite a nice thing to see. A lovely French woman just walked up to me and said something that sounded beautiful and unfortunately meant nothing to me as I simply don’t understand. I really wish I did.
Having decided to have a quick walk around the southern section the city wall and try to end up across the river to take a couple of photos, I realise that this walk is going to be a long one as the scorching temperatures over the recent days start to really burn at about 8:30am and don’t stop until 8:00pm. I head back to the hotel as soon as my photos and walk across the Pont de Saint Berneze are complete.
I spoilt myself last night with a great meal of Baked Striped Sea Bass with all the trimmings and a half bottle of Chateaunúfe de Pape white, finishing off with Creme Brûlée at La Cintra Bistro. It was divine………..so much so that I am going back again tonight to have the Duck a la Orange, a half of Chateauneúf de Pape red and the Apple Tarte Taitin.
The French do food like no one else………..it should be highly placed on everyone’s bucket list to experience the food, coffee, bread, cheese and most importantly the wine. I would come back in a heart beat just to sample the wines.