France
Arrondissement d’Avignon

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270 travelers at this place

  • Day12

    On Our Bikes at Last

    September 1, 2019 in France ⋅ ☁️ 26 °C

    Although it has been wonderful to spend a restful week recovering from our long flight from Australia, the real reason we cam to France was to cycle, not to rest. For the next 5 weeks that is what we will be doing almost every day. Of course it is neither fun (or very smart) to cycle in extremely hot weather. When I planned this trip I was counting on the fact that the start of September would herald the end of the long hot days of the Provencal summer. It almost worked.

    The local weather experts had been predicting that today would be the final of the almost endless sequence of hot days. From tomorrow onwards they are promising that the temperatures will hover around the mid 20s - absolutely perfect for riding. Unfortunately our first day on the bikes would also be the final day in the mid 30s. It was going to be a challenge, but that is what the life of a cyclist is all about.

    Maggie and I awoke at 6 am to the impatient sound of my phone alarm. Our first night in the confines of our cabin had been a bit of a challenge. It is not easy to sort your gear in a room the size of a small shoebox. It was one of those rooms where you had to go outside into the corridor in order to change your mind, let alone turn around to face the other way.

    The secret of survival is to find a place for everything and then pack away everything you will not be using. It is also a huge test of how well you really get along with your roomate. After all, there is absolutely no place to hide. You even have to take turns in taking a deep breath. Such is life on a river barge.

    After donning our cycling gear and enjoying a lovely breakfast, we each packed our lunch of baguettes, meat and salad. The bikes were unloaded unto the quai, ready for us to get them set up for each rider. Our cycling guy is a retired Dutchman called Arie. He is a 66 year old who has enjoyed a multifaceted career as a lawyer, journalist and diplomat. He now spends 10 weeks a year leading cycling groups in different parts of Europe.

    Arie began with a briefing explaining how the system of pointing the directions at each road junction would work. We then assembled outside for the obligatory group photo. Finally we headed off along the Rhone - our ride had begun.

    The early parts of the ride were along lovely, shaded pathways. The traffic was almost non existent and the temperature was comfortable. It was the perfect way for us to regain our cycling legs. We quickly found that the bikes were ideal for this type of riding. I was intrigued with the infinitely variable gearing. I had never ridden a bike like this before and it was absolutely amazing.

    The first 15 km or so was mostly flat and then we hit the hills. Arie explained that every other cycling group avoided this section, but they had heard that the Ghostriders were no ordinary group and thought that we would enjoy the challenge. They were partly correct. The seven riders on ebikes certainly had fun, myself - not so much.

    As the road headed up to the skies the ebike riders sailed past with huge smiles on their faces. The rest of us suffered in the hot sun. Soon I was off the bike and walking (and so was just about everyone else). In spite of this, we were all having huge fun. This was what we had come so far to do. Life can not get any better than this.

    At Pujaut we stopped to enjoy our baguettes and have a coffee. The afternoon tea stop was at the even more delightful town of Villeneuve les Avignon. This place was the home of the cardinals when the Popes were ruling from Avignon. The narrow streets and stone buildings were breathtakingly beautiful, as were the cakes from the boulangerie. It was a shame that the iced coffee was dreadful, but maybe you can't have everything.

    We completed the day's ride by about 4 pm and discovered that the group of American riders on our sister boat had only ridden about half the distance we had. That was the icing on a most delicious first day. Australians One - Americans - zero.
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  • Day3

    The City of the Popes

    August 23, 2019 in France ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

    After the gruelling flight from Melbourne, it was glorious to finally lie horizontal, even if it was only for a few short hours. The Ibis Budget Roissy is hardly a luxury hotel, but it certainly was a welcome refuge, albeit if only temporary.

    By 6 am I was wide awake and gazing out the window at the slowly lightening sky. It looked like we would be in for another warm and cloudless day in Paris and the advance weather forecasts were promising that it would only get hotter in the week ahead.
    The breakfast at the Ibis was surprisingly good for a budget hotel, but maybe that was because the price of the breakfast was almost as much as the price for the room. After savouring my first French baguettes of the trip I returned to the room to “pack” my bag. How could the contents have swollen so much since I left Melbourne ? That was a mystery I would have to solve some other time, I was happy to just cram everything back in, and then give thanks when the zipper finally closed.

    Our original plan was to catch the shuttle back to the airport, then catch another complex sequence of trains to get us to Gare de Lyon station in Paris. It not only sounded very complicated, it was also going to take nearly two hours and cost over 10 Euros per person. There had to be a better way, and there was. When I asked the concierge about the price of a personal mini bus to take us direct to the station, he replied that it would cost about 60 Euros. When we divided that cost between 5 people, it actually worked out cheaper than the horrible alternative.

    By 9 am we were all comfortably seated in the luxury mini bus and speeding our way towards central Paris. Not only was this the perfect means of travel, but it also meant that we arrived in plenty of time to sit outside the magnificent Gare de Lyon Station and enjoy a coffee while we watched the Parisians go about their business. We had about 90 minutes before we needed to board our train and somehow I managed to spend about half of that time looking for the toilets in the station. When I eventually found them I figured that I had walked about halfway back from Paris to the airport. The relief that I experienced at the end also cost me 90 cents.

    Unfortunately Gordon and Sue had made a “small error” in their hotel bookings and had managed to find themselves in the “wrong” Ibis hotel at the airport. Considering that there are Ibis hotels on just about every street corner, it is not too hard to get them mixed up. This also meant that they could not join us in the luxury mini bus and therefore had to take the longer and much more expensive train option instead. They finally arrived at the Gare de Lyon with only a few minutes to spare. In the meantime the rest of us had enjoyed a lovely time soaking up the atmosphere and savouring our coffees.

    The high speed train from Paris to Avignon takes a little over 3 hours and spends much of that time silently moving along at between 250 to 300 kph. We sat in the comfortable first class seats and watched the beautiful French countryside fly by outside the window.

    The train pulled into the impressive Avignon Centre Gare at around 3.30 pm. We stepped out of the air conditioned carriage into a blazing 34C. It was quite a contrast to the Melbourne winter we had left about 48 hours earlier. Fortunately I had skilfully booked another Ibis Hotel just next door to the station, so we only had a short walk to transport our luggage.

    It was only when we went to check in that we discovered that Gordon and Sue had once again somehow managed to book the “wrong” Ibis. That would not have been so bad if it had not been on the other side of the city. We last saw them forlornly dragging their bags out into the sun for the long walk to the “other Ibis”.

    Later in the afternoon our group met together for a walk through the lovely historic old city centre of Avignon. The history of this place is extraordinary and between 1309 and 1376 it was actually the seat of power for the entire Catholic Church. It is still referred to as the “City of the Popes” and the huge Palace of the Popes dominates the centre of the city.

    Maggie and I had briefly visited this city in an earlier trip, but had very little time to look around. We had enjoyed a delightful al fresco meal near the Hotel de Ville and looked for the same place to introduce it to the rest of the group. Once the sun had lowered in the sky, the temperature moderated and it was a perfect ending to another eventful day.

    Although the few hours of sleep I had enjoyed the previous evening had rejuvenated me a little, by this time my batteries were quickly starting to run down and I was glad to be able to return to our hotel for some more sleep. Tomorrow we will have more time to explore Avignon, before we head out of town to a small nearby village called Caumont Sur Durance. That will be our home for the next 7 days.
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  • Day45

    ca roule, ca marche

    September 6, 2019 in France ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    am morgen früh sind wir aus dem verschlafenen nest gestartet. kaum waren wir in pont esprit, haben wir das unglaublich schöne alte waschhaus des städtchens gesehen. unsere jungs haben natürlich schon wieder ans baden gedacht. ich habe ihnen aber gesagt, dass wir eher ca marche machen müssen, damit wir noch ans ziel kommen. anstelle der viarhona sind wir auf der vallée de rhone gefahren. dies hat uns durch kleine dörfer und etliche weinberge gebracht. die viarhona führt - wahrscheinlich durch finanzielle beteiligung - direkt durch das prestige-trächtige haupt-weingut châteauneuf-du-pape. auch der camping hier ist könglich - des preises wegen. während der tour war der mistral so stark, dass unsere leichtgewichte nik und lino einmal im graben verschwunden sind. wir haben sie dann wieder rausgefischt.Read more

  • Day16

    Avignon

    August 11 in France ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    Onze laatste dag hier op de camping hebben we besteed aan het bezoeken van de stad Avignon op 45 min rijden bij ons vandaan! Avignon is een grote, mooie en drukke stad. Mondkapje was daarom helaas ook de realiteit.. al zagen we dat heel veel Fransen hier helemaal niet mee bezig waren.. Morgen rijden we weer een stuk richting huis, maar gunnen we onszelf nog 2 nachten wat luxe door in een hotel in Metz te overnachten.Read more

  • Day440

    Avignon

    June 6 in France ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Nice easy day yesterday only 15km and we have arrived in Avignon, we plan to stay for a few days to visit some of the nearby historic sites as there are good transport connections here. Had our first meal out in two months, last night delicious. Doing some local sightseeing today and maybe some laundry, the excitement of it all. The river is very quiet saw one commercial barge yesterday and we were the first visitors to the Aramon pontoon and the only transit boat here in Avignon. More photos later on there are lots of historic buildings here.Read more

  • Day447

    Best laid plans...

    June 13 in France ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    Well it’s been an interesting few days. Sadly our night at Roquemaure was cut short, John awoke just before 1am to the boat rocking around a lot, ‘ it’s just a passing barge’ he mumbles, I point out that it’s been getting steadily worse for the last hour and is nothing to do with passing traffic but the rising wind. He has a look around and decides that we had better move, luckily we should be able OK across the river on the ‘passenger boat quay’.
    It was a bit scary crossing in the dark and trying to tie to something we hadn’t seen before but we got there, it was still bumpy but better.
    In the morning we decided to set of earlyish to Saint-Etienne-des-Sorts passing through one lock on the way, it was wind against current for the whole trip and not pleasant. Who would have thought I would have had to worry about seasickness on a river!
    Fortunately and unfortunately the pontoon that supposed to be at Saint Etienne wasn’t there, even if it had been it would have been very untenable. New plan either travel a further 37km to next probable pontoon in Viviers or try anchoring in the mouth of the Old Rhône 2km along. We decided to try anchoring and see how things went. This was a good choice the anchorage was lovely, swans and herons, the downside was the very noisy trains, they sounded like fighter jets but at least it was sheltered. With nothing to do I started another knitting project, we spent the night there the trains stopped and wind died so it was a quiet night.
    This morning we headed towards Viviers things were going well, we passed through the Bollène lock rising 23m, a double barge pusher, came out just before we went in and another 120m 2302ton barge was waiting to enter when we exited. The canal was bordered by lots of industry and a nuclear plant. Just as we reached the scenic Donzère gorge there was a huge storm, thunder, lightning, hail, rain and wind. Incredible!
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  • Day18

    Acrobranch in Cormatin, France

    September 15, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Today we went to an aerial park and went flying through the trees on zip lines and climbing through large tunnels. Geoff Chloë and our friend Yohann (Who also went around the world on his bike with his partner Clara) went on the adult course and Malcolm Dale and Lara went on the kids course. There were 5 levels of courses, yellow (test), green (easy), blue(medium), red(hard) and black(extreme)! Yohann Geoff and Chloë did part of the adult black and Chloë also did the kids black! Malcolm did the kids black 3 times! Talk to you soon,
    Cheers Malcolm
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  • Day42

    Avignon- the cycling begins

    September 1, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Avignon was once the home of the Catholic Church. It has the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) adjacent to the cathedral, Notre Dame des Doms d'Avignon. The entire city is a mix of original or restored buildings and some newer ones. It has the wall all around though the gates remain open and a few more access points cut through.

    The city lies adjacent to the River Rhone which we followed all the way down from Lyon. On the northern side of the city lies another and most recognizable landmark, the Pont d'Avignon, a bridge now only reaching 2/3 across the River.

    The day started with our cycling group collecting and adjusting our bikes, then setting off on a leisurely ride on mostly secluded roads through farmland. We passed through a number of villages before returning to Avignon. Most notable of these was Villeneuve Les Avignon, famous for its cake shop. It also has a cathedral Notre Dame du val de Benediction and the castle Fort Saint Andre, which was the home of the Cardinals.
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  • Day50

    Sur le Pont d'Avignon

    October 17, 2018 in France ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    In Avignon, we found a beautiful garden inside the medieval walls of the city, and Chloë and I danced and sang on the Avignon bridge (much to her hidden delight which looked a lot like embarrassment...). In fact, the original 16th century tune is quite different than the one we learn in Canada as children, but we stuck to our own version. We also came across a teenaged basketball tournament in front of the Palais des Papes, in the center of town. I really do love how Europe uses its public spaces!Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Arrondissement d’Avignon, Arrondissement d'Avignon

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