We made it to the city without mishap, and managed to find parking along the city’s old walls without too much trouble. Our first stop (after the tourist information center to get the free discount pass) was at a museum hosting an exhibit of photographs by Lartigue—unfortunately, our assumption that all museums are open in the morning was not correct, and so we had to plan to come back after lunch.
Our next stop was the large indoor market. Set up like the outdoor market we had been to where each vendor has a stall, this one give the feel of half supermarket half farmers market. It is open every morning, but closes in the afternoon so Alan hadn’t been able to see it last time he was in town.
|A "complet" or whole wheat French bread|
|In the market|
|Alan listening to the audio tour|
|Courtyard with the golden statue of Mary above|
We went back now to the Lartigue exhibit, which was very nice. He was a child protégé at the turn of the century, who announced he was going to be a photographer at the age of seven. His family was rich, and he took photos of high society, as well as lots of photos experimenting with movement. He is famous for his racecar photos, as well as other things. We also got to see the only Van Gogh in Provence (he worked here for a while) as well as painting by Cezanne, Manet, and a few other big names.
We headed back across town to what is left of the Pont St-Benezet, a bridge built in the 1100s that crossed two branches of the Rhone and the island in-between, coming to a length of 2,953 feet long with 22 arches. Legend has it that a young shepherd boy (named Benezet) had a vision that a bridge was to be built on this spot, but nobody believed him. So he picked up a huge bolder that should have been impossible to lift and threw it in the river. That showed ‘em! The Bridge Brotherhood was formed of volunteers, and money flooded in. Only four arches are left today.
|Street with plane trees, which line many streets |
and were supposedly planed all over France
by Napoleon to shade his troops as they marched.
After walking along the river, crossing the modern bridge to the island for a better view back of the ancient bridge and the city, and walking back again, we climbed the ramparts of the city wall to the Rocher des Doms, the garden next to the Palais des Papes that has a fine view across the river and of the city. We stopped in a quite café for some ice cream (for me) and a crepe (for Dad) before taking one last look at the city in the evening light, and heading home.
|Mom and Dad on the rampart, dangling above the river|
|Me and Alan with the Palais des Papes|
|I love how ice cream flavors are slightly different everywhere.|