Musing with Max

Musing with Max

September 20, 2014

Two towns in Provence - Avignon

Once we had rearranged our trip and included a two and a half day stay in Marseilles we started to do a little Provence planning. Frank came up with a day in Avignon which would include one of our "musts" any time we go to Europe --- a train ride. We booked a trip through EuropeRail on the Avignon TVG,

which is the high speed train, it goes 185 miles an hour and gets you to Avignon in 30 minutes where the regular train takes a couple of hours. (Paul Theroux hates these trains because the scenery becomes a blur (until you eyes adjust) but he's a travel writer and has all the time in the world, we don't). Another "must", if possible, in Europe is riding the Metro. So this was a double whammy because we had to take the Metro from our hotel in Marseilles to the stunningly beautiful Gare St. Charles, where the views of Marseilles were magnificent.

Avignon is a walled city

and what I always imagined a town in Provence would look like. (except for one of the first things we encountered, an Irish pub)

There are beautiful cobblestone streets and passageways

and charming shops selling Provencal linens (where I went nuts but didn't take pictures) and soaps and herbs de Provence (nuts again).

Gardens and flowers,

yummy window displays,

and the Palais de Papes, where popes lived before the Vatican even existed,

where we climbed all the way to the top and took in the views of Avignon.

We had dinner in one of their very charming restaurants where we practiced this motto.

Then took the train back to Marseilles where the next morning at 5:30 AM we raced to the airport in a terrifying taxi ride that made driving through the Corsican mountains a leisure drive, boarded our plane to Amsterdam, where our 3 hour and 55 minute layover wasn't long enough to take the shuttle into the city but was long enough to buy some tulip bulbs from the tulip capital of the world and go through the most strenuous security check ever, fly home to Newark and go through the most excruciating customs line ever (1 and a half hours, ugh) which meant we had to wait until the next day to get this,

which was the only reason I wanted to get home.

Vacation over :(


  1. What a great idea--that high speed train sounds amazing. You guys really figured out ways to make the most of your time. I've never been to Provence. Your pictures are beautiful. One day…

    1. We’ve taken the high speed train before, first from Madrid to Seville, over 200 mph, a trip that would normally take about 5 hours or more took two, and then again in Portugal. They have different degrees of speed  I had never been to Provence either so this turned out to be a great opportunity which I am very happy about. Just goes to show how travel is always an adventure! Thank you for the compliment on the photography, however the scenery had everything to do with it; I just pointed and clicked.

  2. Qué envidia!!!
    Estuve en Avignon hace unos veinte años o más. Participé en un workcamp en la Provenza. teníamos que arreglar un muro, en un pueblo cerca de Manosque. Era julio así que lo que más recuerdo es el olor de la lavanda y las placitas con fuentes de los pueblos.

  3. Look at you going supersonic all over the place Mrs. Looks like a fabulous trip. Max must have been so pleased to see you when you returned though.