Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Zen Barge Moored Opposite Avignon's Palais des Papes

This will be my last report for a while on places to stay in Avignon but I did want to post on the bizarre and rather amazing Zen barge we stayed on when we visited the Papal City again last month. Click here to read more. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Stay in the Shadow of Avignon's Palais des Papes

While we were still in the area of the Popes' Palace, I took a quick tour of the Hotel du Palais des Papes, whose self-explanatory name indicates that it's one of the most central spots to stay in Avignon. Formerly the Spanish consulate, this building dates back in parts to the 15th century and still boasts stacks of atmosphere. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tea and Tranquility in Avignon's Petit Palais

I stumbled across the rather whimsically named Autour d'un Thé, un Voyage in Avignon recently while visiting the superb collection of Italian art in the Musée du Petit Palais. This gorgeous little tea-room is tucked away in a 15th century chapel and its garden (you don't have to stump up the museum admission charge to get in) and is a marvellous sea of tranquility a stone's throw from the tourist crowds. Click here to read more.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In the Footsteps of Napoleon in Avignon

The Hotel d'Europe in Avignon has a superbly romantic history. Napoleon Bonaparte (who lobbied to have this lovely old 16th century house converted into a hotel in the first place) stayed here. So did Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her brand-new husband Robert B, having just eloped together. Salvador Dali was here, as was Picasso and Jackie Kennedy. And, at these prices, you could be too. Click here to read more.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mad About Fou de Fafa

In Avignon recently we thought we'd try a restaurant going by the curious name of Fou de Fafa that had been highly recommended on travel forums. The meal was, indeed, superb, and the bill reassuringly reasonable. But what surprised us was the fact that one of the best eateries in a town not short of excellent restaurants is run single- (or rather, double-) handedly by a British couple. Click here to read more.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Wheat of Saint Barbara

If you're in Provence at this time of year, you might be surprised at all the little saucers of green shoots that suddenly appear, today, 4th December, on shop counters and in people's homes. Well, this is the wheat of Saint Barbara (for today is her feast day) and it signals the beginning of the long Christmas season in the South of France. If the shoots thrive, it's an auspicious sign for a prosperous New Year (and don't we all need that right now?) And this is just one of many strange and beautiful Christmas traditions unique to Provence. Click here to read more.