Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard

Between the cities of Avignon and Nimes in France is an aqueduct that was built by the Romans to bring water to the city of Nimes.  The Pont du Gard is the highest elevated Roman aqueduct and one of the best preserved. Therefore one of the most well known.

Pont du Gare , France

Pont du Gard , France

From Avignon 25 KM. From Nimes 25 KM.

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It is a scenic drive.

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

There is a tent camping ground near by.

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Google satellite view

The pictures below were taken from the right bank  near the pin drop on the satellite view above.

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France Looking to Les Perrières.

Pont du Gare, France

Les Perrières from Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

In addition to carrying water in the upper level, the bridge also served as a toll bridge  across the Gare River.

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

Flat stones were used at the top to cover the water channel to keep out seeds, dropped by birds, from growing in the aqueduct.

Pont du Gare , France

Pont du Gard , France

The construction is believed to be from 19 BC. The sign above is in French and describes  the restoration dates. Only the numbers are Roman.

Learn more from Wikipedia :  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pont_du_Gard

Pont du Gare, France

Pont du Gard, France

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOyuFF7Xwk4&feature=youtu.be

 – Where do you want to go today? –

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Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

 

What have you heard about Châteauneuf du Pape? It has been described as a commune and as a medieval village. With a population of a little over 2000, it is located on a hill about 18 kilometers north of Avignon.  On the top of the hill stands the remains of an ancient medieval castle. You may associate the name with a very nice bottle of wine.

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After our visit to the Palace of the Popes, we checked into the Avignon Grand Hotel. It is located just outside the south wall of the town. We had an appointment for an evening tour of the Fines Roche winery in the Châteauneuf du Pape region.

Old Castle, new chariot

Old Castle, new chariot

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img_2279-1280x634The cypress trees are planted to moderate the winds coming off of the Rhone river and the Mediterranean Sea which is about 80 kilometers to the south. The soil around the vines is covered with limestone to moderate the heat of the soil; gathering warmth from the sun during the day and keeping the soil warm during the cooler evenings.
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After sampling several vines and a little food, we returned to our hotel in Avignon with a few bottles of the region’s finest wines.
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– Where do you want to go today? –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teauneuf-du-Pape

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Inside Palace of Popes

Inside the Palace of Popes

Inside the walls of the Palace are two main courtyards. The first and largest is used for concerts and other events. The stage is still set up. In July Avignon hosts the Avignon festival of the arts.

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the main courtyard

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The main courtyard

courtyard in front of Palace of the Popes

Rose Exhibition

Palace of the Popes church courtyard

Palace of the Popes church courtyard

BENOÎT XII CLOISTER is being set up for a rose growers convention and exhibition. It is the smaller of the two courtyards.

Palace of the Popes church courtyard

Palace of the Popes church courtyard

Palace of the Popes Church courtyard

Palace of the Popes Church courtyard

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes ongoing restoration

Palace of the Popes ongoing restoration

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

The hall above is called the Grand Tinel. It is often used to host banquets.

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

The tour includes viewing more than 20 rooms. Many of the rooms are decorated with frescoes, however, photographs are not allowed in these rooms.

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes door to Pope's Quarters

Palace of the Popes door to Pope’s Quarters

Palace of the Popes door to Pope's Quarters

Palace of the Popes door to Pope’s Quarters

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

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Palace of the Popes 1

Palace of the Popes 1

Is it the largest gothic palace in Europe, or in the world? It’s construction began in 1316 under Pope John XXII and continued under Pope Benedict XII and Pope Clement VI. It is built less like a palace and more like a fortress because of disagreements about who would be the pope of the realm. After the Great Schism was over in the early 1400s the Pope’s residence was re-established in Rome. After the French Revolution it became a barracks until the early 1900s when it was opened to the public.

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes

This is one of the first views I saw when I walked out of the narrow street into the great square in front ot the palace.

Palace of the Popes

Palace of the Popes – Pope’s Quarters

The picture above is from the right side of the Palace where the Pope’s residence  and viewing chamber were built by the later two popes.

The picture below is from the left part and is the chapel tower which was built first.

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palace of the popes

Palace of the Popes in Avignon, Provence, France

I took the tour inside the Palace and will share those pictures in the next post.

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

 

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Avignon

Avignon, Provence, France

Avignon is a very special city in Southern France. It is ancient, enclosed within a wall, and is home to the Palace of the Popes. In the 1300’s there was more than one Pope, one in Rome and one here in France. It is also home to a unique relaxed French way of life.

the Pont d'Avignon

the Pont d’Avignon

You have probably heard of the French song “sur le pont d’Avignon”. Well this is what it looks like now. High water flooding caused part of it to break away. Other bridges are nearby so it was not rebuilt.

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The old city is enclosed in walls and some of the entrance routes are narrow.

narrow winding streets

narrow winding streets

niche art

niche art

Early May of the streets of Avignon

Early May on the streets of Avignon

Inside the city walls are many courtyards and squares with a feeling of isolation from the hussle and bussle of the modern world.

Hotel de Ville, Avignon, Provence, France

Hotel de Ville, Avignon, Provence, France

Theatre - Opera

Theatre – Opera

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clock tower

clock tower

courtyard in front of Palace of the Popes

courtyard in front of Palace of the Popes

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This looks like a good place for lunch.

small tapistry in hotel restaurant

small tapestry in hotel restaurant

Avignon, Provence, France

Avignon, Provence, France

such a variety of street scenes

such a variety of street scenes

Avignon en Provences

Avignon en Provence

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– Where do you want to go today? –

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TGV

TGV – Paris to Avignon

TGV means the train goes very fast. In France it is the “Train a Grande Vitesse”. It travels the 600 (as the crow flies) kilometer distance in less than 3 hours. That is an average speed of 200 kilometers per hour. Since it has to travel slower in the city and at some other places, and it makes a stop for a few minutes in the Lyon Station to let passengers on and off, I could be traveling up to 300 Km per hour.

Historic restauarant of Paris.

Historic restaurant of Paris.

Before saying goodbye to Paris we drove by the famous restaurant where the who’s who of history sat at the tables of the sidewalk cafe. We were too early in the morning for them to be open, so we just continued on to the station so we would not be late for our train.

Paris Gare Lyon Station

Paris Gare Lyon Station

Although the station was first built for the 1900 World Exposition, it has been updated to accommodate the TGV.

Paris Gare Lyon Train Station

Paris Gare Lyon Train Station

TGV

TGV

There is the train.

Paris Gare Lyon Train Station

Paris Gare Lyon Train Station

And there it isn’t. The train is powered by electricity and is so quiet, that it left while were standing and talking, and we did not even notice. No sound of big diesel engines revving up.

this is not Paris

this is not Paris

Our train was the next to leave, and here are a few pictures of what I saw through the window. I had to make a few adjustments to get better pictures.

less than 30 minutes from the center of Paris

less than 30 minutes from the center of Paris

one hour South of Paris

one hour South of Paris

After two hours we stopped at Lyon for a few minutes, then we were off again. If there was something interesting to take a picture of, there was not enough time to point the camera at it and take a picture. Even when the camera was pointing out the window, by the time the brains thought a picture was there, it was gone by the time the finger had time to push the button.

To get a better sense of the view through the window, watch the video clips at the end.

South of Lyon, 20 minutes to Avignon

South of Lyon, 20 minutes to Avignon

It was interesting to see the landscape change as we travelled south. At first we spent some time getting settled into the coach and examining our new surroundings. Before we know it we were out of the city and into the flat farmland. There were many fields of bright yellow flowers of the rapeseed plants that are used to produce canola oil.

South of Lyon, 20 minutes to Avignon

South of Lyon, 20 minutes to Avignon

As we moved farther south, the terrain started to rise and fall more and soon we were seeing the Rhone-Alps mountains south of Lyon.

Gare d' Avignon TGV

Gare d’Avignon TGV

In some places the high speed rail stations could not be built in the center of the city or town. Avignon is an example of the station being build a safe distance away from the city center. Not unlike airports being built at some distance from the city. However it is not long before businesses build up near the new center to sell their services. This is then followed by homes for the business owner’s family.

Gare d'Avignon TGV bus terminal

Gare d’Avignon TGV bus terminal

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

the short clip;
https://youtu.be/upVHKxUOuTk

A longer clip:
https://youtu.be/j0b54_11vvI

There is no sound at the beginning but it is on for the last few seconds

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Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

The Gardens of Versailles are as impressive as the Palace. Like the Palace, many people are employed in maintaining the property. And they are doing a beautiful job. Water is a major focus of the gardens and several fountains add to the splendour.

Palace of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Fountains of Versailles

Statues are located all around the pathways, and stand watch over the pools, fountains, corners, and corridors.

Palace of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

Gardens of Versailles

For a better view of the symmetry and expanse of the garden, watch the video clips.

https://youtu.be/OL3yFwaicGI

 

 

https://youtu.be/6ZlsRkYzy-E

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Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

No visit to Paris is complete without a visit to the Palace of Versailles. It began as a hunting lodge, then grew into a magnificent palace. Now it is as much a museum to the art and splendour of the French aristocracy.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

When you leave the parking lot you are greeted by polite young men (on the right) working hard to sell you souvenirs of Paris. On the left is the line up to enter and buy tickets. Fortunately out tour has prearranged tickets and a tour guide for a specific time. We still have to follow the line through the security check at the gate. Fortunately the rain has stopped and the skies have cleared.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

The amount of gold, leaf or paint, is impressive and the ongoing maintenance require to keep this show piece in excellent condition is soon appreciated.

The main buildings in front of the palace, which is at the back, are the horse stables, administration buildings, staff lodging and kitchens. From the outside, it is difficult to tell which is which. The horses were treated well.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

A wide angled lens is useful to capture the wide eyed views in the Palace.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Not all of the art is hanging on the walls.

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles a Royal bedroom.

 

The most spectacular room is the hall of mirrors which stretches along the back of the palace and overlooks the symmetrically planned gardens. The following two pictures are taken from the center of the hall, one looking in each direction.

Windows on the right, mirrors on the left.

Windows on the right, mirrors on the left.

Palace of Versailles

Windows on the left, mirrors on the right.

At night the mirrors would not only help brighten the room, but the candles lighting the room would reflect out into the garden.

Would you like to go for a walk in the garden?

Would you like to go for a walk in the garden?

– Where would you like to go today? –

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Versailles

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Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

Construction began in 1163 and continued until 1345. It is still one of France’s most famous churches and another of the famous icons of Paris.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Front doors of Notre Dame Cathedral

Front doors of Notre Dame Cathedral

Detailed carvings

Detailed carvings

detail of doors

detail of doors

 

Organ and choir pews

Organ and choir pews

 

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

 

Notre Dame Rose Window

Notre Dame Rose Window

 

detail of Rose Window

detail of Rose Window

A statue of Joan of Arc is prominently displayed in the cathedral. She was declared a saint in 1920.

Sainte Jeanne D'Arc 1412-1431

Sainte Jeanne D’Arc 1412-1431

Notre Dame from Seine River

Notre Dame from Seine River

Notre Dame Rose Window from Seine River

Notre Dame Rose Window from Seine River

Statue of Pope Paul II in side garden

Statue of Pope Paul II in side garden

There is a large “parvis” (courtyard) in the front of the church.

Follow the Link to video clip of courtyard in front of cathedral.

https://youtu.be/jPGp48Atj7c  

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre_Dame_de_Paris

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Seine River Cruise

Seine River Cruise

An excellent way to feel the life of Paris is to take a cruise along the Seine River. You can start at the base of the Eiffel Tower, pass the Grand Palais, the Louvre, and loop around the Ile de la Cite to see all sides of the Notre Dame Cathedral. If this is not interesting enough, you can count the number of bridges you pass under, and try to remember their names.

Parisiena Cruise on the Seine

Parisiena Cruise on the Seine

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A sunny day in a cool spring

A sunny day in a cool spring

Base of Tower

Base of Tower

A great place to begin a cruise because you don’t mind waiting when there is so much to see all around and above.

La Grande Palais

La Grande Palais

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

From the rear of the cathedral you can see the architect’s use of “flying buttresses” to support the structure.

boats of all shapes and sizes

boats of all shapes and sizes

on the Seine

on the Seine

Le Paris on the Seine River

Le Paris on the Seine River

Seine River beside Notre Dame Cathedral

Seine River beside Notre Dame Cathedral

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The modern city is near by but the center, Ile de Paris, still has a character of earlier times.

La Tour d'Argent Restaurant

La Tour d’Argent Restaurant

One example of earlier times that still live on is the restaurant at the top of this building.

apartment overlooking the Seine

apartment overlooking the Seine

Or maybe you are fortunate enough to have an apartment with a balcony overlooking the coming and going on the Seine River in the heart of old Paris.

– Where do you want to go today? –

 

 

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