♫♫ Sur le Pont d’Avignon, on y danse, on y danse ♫♫
Remember this song from school? For those who didn’t take french – “on the bridge of Avignon, we all dance there, we all dance there.”
The Pont d’Avignon is areal bridge. It was originally built across the Rhone river by a shepard, who was told by God in a dream to build the bridge – and he DID. When he died, they built a chapel on the side of the bridge – buried him in it, and he was sainted. The bridge is officially named after him… but everyone calls it the Pont d’Avignon.
Now… funny thing. This bridge was wiped out by a flood in the 1600s.. So it actually does not GO anywhere.
Behind the Pont here is the Papal Palace. You see – there was a French pope – and he didnt feel safe in Rome – so he moved the Papacy to Avignon. There were a bunch of popes who ruled in Avignon – and after a while there was a competing pope in Rome. (That’s the simple layman’s history lesson) Anyway – the pope basically bought AVignon, built lots of big mansions for his Cardinals, and lots of great squares and churches everywhere.
The Rhone from the bridge. I was dancing. I promise.
The chapel on the bridge. Upstairs is for St Nicholas (patron saint of sailors) Downstairs is St Benezet – the shepherd who built the original bridge.
Drawbridge access on the Avignon side. On the other side is another fortress – controlled back in the day by the French. Popes on one side. French on the other.
There is a free ferry across the river (halfway, I guess) to this huge Island. we did this twice – once we rented bikes and rode and rode – probably 5-10 miles, but we kind of got lost ,and dead cell phones. Luckily – we were on an island, and we followed the river back to a bridge 🙂
We had excellent GF ice cream in one of the cute squares with restaurant atbls scattered about. Galleries in old churches, the University of Avignon (which I found on the way to the organic market). The U of A is so old, it has its own gate in the walled city. Founded in the 14th century…..
Twisting streets – great shops to peek into. We loved it here!
Last nigh, I crept into the room I am sharing with 2 of the kids,and R was singing the Pont d’Avignon in his sleep.
today we took a day trip to the Pont Du Gard and the city Uzes. That will be a 2nd post (once my photos are uploaded). Tomorrow – we head to Nice for a few days.