November 2016 France Short Trip Diary 1: Avignon Avignon, papal palace and restaurants

11 May France short-term travel diary 2016
11 May France short-term travel diary 2016

Visit Date: November 24, 2016

Provence is one of my favorite areas in France because of its warmth, calmness, openness, and abundance of tourist resources. There are also many beautiful villages. So, for me, Provence is one of the most frequently visited cities in France.

Stayed for the first time after 4 visits.


Well, we rented a car of course to visit beautiful villages. The place where we rented a car was the TGV station in Avignon (around the lower left of the map). It is quite far from the center of the city, isn’t it?

I think it was 10 minutes away by car. But I accidentally returned the car at the same TGV station. So we had to go all the way back to the old town.

The Angladon Art Gallery is closed until March!

Although I’ve visited Avignon four times, I haven’t actually visited many places in Avignon because I always came during the peak season. It would have been nice to just walk around the city, but it would have been cold (actually, it wasn’t so cold), so I decided to go to Musée Angladon first, which has a good collection of modern and contemporary art. Fortunately, it was very close to the hotel.

However, to our surprise, the museum is closed for construction until next March. Too bad!

By the way, the website is below, and it said it all over the top screen!

I should have done my homework.

Avignon Vatican

So we had a lot of time to kill, even so, we didn’t have much time since it was about 4pm when we entered the city in the first place. The last place I chose this day was the papal palace. I knew it was here. This is the third time for me to visit here. There were almost no tourists in the papal palace near the closing time when it was raining, so thanks to that, I could appreciate it slowly.

As usual, I visit this place every time without understanding the background of the Avignon imprisonment well, but I think that the inside is full of hollows for a splendid building no matter how many times I visit.

Why was the Pope imprisoned and came to spend time here? We found a panel that explains it well.

Now I can read it a little, but it is still difficult. It seems that the authority of the papal court had been lost at that time, and the papal court was dissolved by the king of France, but a few years after the papal court was moved to Avignon in 1308, Rome was occupied by the Holy Roman Empire, and the papal court could not return. It seems to be a historical fact that he could not return to Rome.

Well, the Pope’s room was very beautiful. I felt a kind of oriental atmosphere, unfortunately, photography is prohibitedé

But I didn’t remember it at all even though I visited there three times. There are many things that I don’t remember, for example, this chapel under renovation.

Have you ever seen it? It is the evidence of how they usually do sightseeing in a lax manner.

By the way, Avignon, which is now a bustling tourist spot, was quite far from Rome in those days, in the countryside in the west. To be honest, the town was not clean and unsanitary.

I don’t think there was a video about the history of the papacy and its development. It made me realize that I had really only done some random sightseeing.

Visit one of Avignon’s best restaurants

After the papal visit, we bought a few daily necessities nearby and then came back to the hotel. We had booked a restaurant for this evening. This restaurant was the best rated in the city on TripAdvisor.

I like that I can book in advance by email. I was a little worried because I didn’t receive a reply within 24 hours, but I received a polite reply 2 days later.

Well, we booked it at 8pm, and since we had a bit of time before our appointment after returning from the papal palace, we slept for about an hour at the hotel before heading over. It’s located behind the Angladon Museum, which I couldn’t get into earlier due to construction. So it was very close.

We arrived at the restaurant at 8:00 p.m., almost exactly at the time of our appointment, in the middle of a rather heavy rain. We were welcomed by the madam, who would be called « okami-san » in Japan.

Inside the restaurant, the tables are apparently almost full with reservations, but when we first arrived, the seats weren’t so full. There were about two Asian women, each of whom seemed to have come alone. They did not seem to be Japanese.

We had the orthodox course of choosing a starter and a main course. However, this is a bistro in a small town, so it’s not like a starred restaurant where the food is luxurious and artistic.

まず前菜ですが、「ブルー・ドーヴェルニュとくるみを添えたビート(てんさい)のカルパッチョ、フランボワーズドレッシングで」「carpaccio de betterave, bleu d’Auvergne et noix servis avec vinaigrette à la framboise」

I didn’t know what beet was, but I thought it might be a vegetable. It’s a strange texture and taste. It was a new experience for me. The balance between the blue cheese, walnuts and raspberry dressing was perfect. However, the sweetness of the raspberries and beets was a bit strong.

そしてメイン。こちらは「マグレ・ド・カナール、りんごとシードルのソース」 「magret de canard aux pommes et cidre, légumes poêle, écrasé de pommes de terre」 を選びました。

Again from a different angle.

It tasted great and was very refreshing despite its volume. I always associate magret de canard with red wine sauce, but it was unexpected that it was made mainly of apples, and it was also my first experience.

Well, we had a pitcher of local wine (50cl). The wine was explained in French, but as far as I could understand, this wine was made in a place about 50km from Avignon.

Grenache main wine. Grenache has a taste of berries and a hint of raspberry. To be honest, I preferred Syrah, but after the wine I drank at Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the wine I drank at this restaurant, I think I started to notice the goodness of Grenache. It is one of the most popular varieties in the Code du Rhône. I would like to learn more about the wines of this region.

Finally, dessert. I made fromage. This is also a very solid dish.

もしかしたら聞き間違えたのかもしれませんが、一番上のハードタイプのフロマージュは、どうやらロックフォール産だということです。ロックフォールといえばブルーチーズで特に有名ですがハードタイプのものも生産している、ということでしょうか。しかし、フランス語でハードタイプのチーズのことを fromage à pâte pressée cuite というのですが、「fromage à pâte pressée cuite Roquefort」とググってもなかなか該当するものにヒットせず。やはり聞き間違えだったのでしょう。では普通のブルー、いやしかしロックフォールなら食べたらわかるはず。いずれにせよ本件は謎ですが、フロマージュとても美味しかったです。

This is the menu for the day. Excellent food, very reasonable prices, and friendly service.

We said thanks and left the restaurant. After all, the restaurant became the main sightseeing in Avignon, wasn’t it?