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One of the most impressive sights in the whole of France, in my opinion, awaits the unsuspecting tourist in Avignon.

It was a surprise to me on my first ever visit to this major city in Provence, and it never fails to impress me whenever I make return visits there.

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No, this "impressive sight" isn't the Bridge made for ever famous in the childrens rhyme "Sous le pont d'Avignon", nor is it the fortified walls completely surrounding the main town (although they are impressive enough).

When you walk up the rue de la République from the railway station and reach the Place de l'Horloge, signs proliferate for all the major sights. The narrow rue Mons is to your right, lined with several restaurants and souvenir shops. It appears you are going nowhere in particular!
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Walk just a few metres up this narrow street and there it is - truly an impressive sight. To your right is the massive, imposing "Palais des Papes" (Pope's Palace). It is of such different proportions to anything else that you have seen on the walk from the station that it almost defies written description. I just wanted to applaud!

The actual building is deserving of a guided tour and the history of the place is fascinating (check out the City's website), but to just sit in the large square in front of it, admiring its imposing grandeur, makes a visit to Avignon well worth the time and effort.

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A most enjoyable diversion is to walk past the Palais and up a steep climb to the Roches des Doms - a pretty wooded park with great views to the east and west of the majestic Rhône river. And below you to the left is that famous Bridge (Pont St-Bénézet).

Avignon is more, though, than the Palais, the Bridge and the Festival (a world-famous annual event). It confirms your arrival in Provence - a varied and fabulous part of the South of France. It has an ambience that is only found in the south of "La Belle France" and it wears its charms well. Mature, comfortable, confident Avignon - a city which presents itself in the proper manner - and to top it all, it has that awe-inspiring Palais des Papes.

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Click on above image for more information on Avignon (on-line web page)


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Hotel Blauvac The Blauvac was recommended to me by the Paris Tourist Office in the Champs Elysées, no less!

I wanted a central hotel but one which was relatively quiet and inexpensive. Again, the Blauvac came up trumps (Have you ever suffered a poor hotel in France? I hear you cry! Well, yes I have - more about that in the Côte D'Azure page).

Hotel de Blauvac is my type of hotel. Small, old in style, different and very friendly indeed. It's situated in a quiet street which runs parallel to the main rue de la République, just 5 minutes walk from the city centre, but it is quiet and it is very attractive. No major features to comment on but it is just about perfect for a city centre hotel.

The Blauvac is highly recommended.

Hotel Blauvac

Click on above image for more information on Hotel de Blauvac (on-line web page)






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