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Avignon the Ancient

Posted by on Sep 23, 04:12 PM
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My companion showed me all of the nooks and crannies where the best of puppet masters, musicians, magicians and all other sorts of fabulous street performers displayed their talents.

BanetteChurchSunday morning, the 25th of July: More sunshine and lazy-hot weather was in store for the day. I arrived at the walled city and attended the mass at a most beautifully inspiring little church, the high walls covered with paintings that were framed in the classic gold leaf and none would have been out of place in the Louvre. There was not a free seat in the pews and many a devoted soul stood on the runners or leaned against the wall for the whole of la messe chant grégorien.

MagicianNot having discovered a way to stay in town for free I made the decision to stay at the hostel, again my sunburned, haggard person in desperate need of a wash and some regular rest. The hostel lies without Nightthe walls and across the bridge but within walking distance to the compact city of Avignon. All of the narrow streets were plastered with posters advertising live theater shows (there was a festival in Play postersession for the week) and it was difficult to navigate through the groups of tanned and beautiful French strolling the avenues. This festival of players had drawn crowds from all over the country and beyond. Unfortunately my language proficiency was (and is) far from proficient for the appreciation of such pleasures! However, I made friends with a Dutchman whose first name I share and we had a more than enjoyable time wearing ourselves out walking through the narrow streets and mysterious alleyways of this enchanting city. Andre had been there a few days already and had learned much about the history and attractions of Avignon. It had been the surrogate home of the (anti) pope during the Western Schism and one of these (anti) pontiffs had built a massive and decadent Papal Palace that is now a museum. I didn’t visit it.

Troops of five to ten actors could very often be witnessed in full dress, singing and making merry as they paraded through the streets that were filled with pedestrians. My companion showed me all of the nooks and crannies where the best of puppet masters, musicians, magicians and all other sorts of fabulous street performers displayed their talents. Andre and I developed a one of those unique and Churchmeaningful friendships over the two days that he remained in the city. I hope we will get a chance to meet again in Holland or elsewhere.

My trip back to Paris was completed in a short time aboard an overpriced TGV train. I found that if one is persistent with the ticket agent it is possible to find a train that takes bicycles, and mine departed at the fresh hour of five o’clock in the morning. The endearing smile of Randall met me at the station and we dodged our way back into the lovely whirling maze that is Paris.


  1. What a delightful narrative!

    Rachel W. · Sep 26, 03:10 PM · #

  2. Andrew, I’m sure the Dutchman knew a kindred spirit when he spied that one of your sponsors was a Dutch store! The Dutch are known for their gracious hospitality either in the Netherlands or the crannies of France. lol.
    I’m glad you gained another kind host and I am amazed and relieved that you both continue to find such good souls who are eager to allow you to stay with them. God continue to bless you in your travels.
    Misty from A Touch of Dutch

    Misty and Virgil · Sep 27, 01:59 PM · #

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