Villeneuve les Avignon
May 3, 2015
|Sunday May 3rd.
Monday we took the bridge to the other side of the Island to explore Villeneuve les Avignon. (It was a 10 minute drive uphill) Explore it we did. Always concerned for places to park our camper car we chose the first one we came to that had room. Mistake. Although we had a great close up view of the town the Old Fort Saint-Andre was perched on a hill – bless their ingenuity, above the town. We walked over 7 miles that day. I felt like they were ALL up hill.
The first stop before visiting the town is the Tower of Phillip the Fair. It was built in 1307, shortly after the pope and his gang arrived in Avignon to protect access to St Benezet Bridge (Pont du Avignon). The French side of the River. Another turret to climb. I counted this time. Between each landing or floor there were 40 steps. A total of 120. Very methodical they were. The views back across the Rhone were well worth the climb (I think).
Most interesting were the explanations of the types of research that were involved in the recreating of the bridge. Similar to the other side’s tower St. Benezet. The Popes side.
Check it out @ www.villeneuvelezavignon.fr
We found a delightful charming town between the tower and the fort. Very few tourists and other than the climb, an enjoyable walk through time.
King Philip the Fair ( Philippe le Bel) must have been somewhat threatened having the Papal See so close to France, just across the Rhone. He built Fort St.-Andre with 2m thick walls. We were able to gain access to the fort through it’s impressive entrance and explore it’s ramparts and towers (more turrets and stairs). Again the views back over Avignon were spectacular.
Also of note were the beautiful gardens, classed as one of France’s top 100 and privately owned. We had lunch here on a little patio surrounded by hanging Wisteria and served by 2 young teens who were not intimidated by foreigners who tried to speak their language. Lots of giggling.
I was relieved to see our camper car sitting at the end of the street after trekking up and down hills, across quaint bridges all on cobblestone streets.