We couldn’t find the supposed aire at Avignon after a good bit of driving around, and so decided to spend the night at the nearest campsite across the river from the old walled city.
I must say, when we were driving along the approach road to Avignon, we were both impressed at how extensive the city wall was. We have driven by Avignon before, but just fleetingly, enough to take a passing photo of the bridge really, and one modest section of wall with arched gateway, but had not appreciated from that position by any means, the full extent of Avignon’s impressive, well preserved wall.
So click, click, click as we were driving along!
We paid our overnight stay fee for the campsite, and pulled in to our allotted space – it was functional and fine, but nothing fancy visually pitch wise. We were paying the basic price (no electricity or water needed) ie we weren’t their best paying customers so not given prime position.
Still, it did us as a base, and our neighbour vans were all quiet, and the campsite provided a useful secure place from which to explore Avignon. We only do campsites if there’s absolutely nothing else to be had (which is pretty much unheard of), or, if we were visiting a city and wanted to take no chances on the van being secure.
The next day we headed across the modern day bridge (thankfully no extreme wind, so no need to hold our specs!) and walked across to the ticket office for THE old bridge of Avignon. Michael thought it would be good to actually walk on it – it has after all, to all of us, been a name spanning back to our early years having all sang the nursery rhyme! We paid our entry fee and walked up and onto the old bridge which spans out half way across the river – the rest of the bridge lost over time I think due to damage from wars and it’s vulnerability to the strong river current making it difficult to repair in those ages past (but don’t quote me!). Now it is half length with a nice neat cut off point!
After the bridge we headed on into the town itself and initially were rather disappointed in what we saw architecturally after the magnificent wall. However, some short while of meandering, we reached the gardens located at the highest point (a fair number of steps to get there mind! – puff puff!), but with superb views across the river.
Beyond these gardens with their panoramic view over to Villeneuve les Avignon and broader still, following a winding promenade down, we were brought into the rather lovely square of the Pope’s palace with its charming character buildings and open space.
Having then explored as much as we felt we wanted to see we crossed back over the bridge back to the campsite and continued our journey, driving by Villeneuve les Avignon, but not stopping as again, no overly easy to park and we were pretty jaded from our hike around Avignon.
Date of Visit: 13/03/2016