Hotel de l'Horloge - Avignon
After your half day in Avignon, you certainly deverve a break and a good night rest!
Because I always stayed at my parents' place or rented a house in the region, I never had to think about where to stay in Avignon...
However, as a guideline, I like to use the "Best Western" hotels, as they are usually well established, family run businesses who have joined the franchise in a bid to become more global. They usually have retained the charm of yesteryear with all the trimmings that modern travellers expect, including our mandatory WiFi connexion!
So, checking our trusted TripAdvisor, I would recommend either Hotel de l'Horloge in the city centre, or Hotel du Lavardin a little ouside of the city, and reportedly "pet-friendly", but I gather this is probably not a major requirement from our international visitors...
In the morning, after a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, you might want to spend more time in Avignon before heading to Noves for lunch - and there is no better place than L'Auberge de Noves. My grand-parents use to invite us there, and this was the place of one of our last family lunches before my beloved father passed away...
So, it is very dear to me indeed! In recent times, the menu has been modernised for the better and as there are only about 35kms to your final destination for the day, I would recommend sitting outside if the weather permits, and stroll through the beautiful gardens after indulging in all the goodies on the menu and the wine list!
Just a note that this is also a hotel, just in case you are not in a condition to drive any further...
You can find the menu degustation here: http://www.aubergedenoves.com/maj/pdf/0413DECOUVERTE.pdf
Tomorrow, we will let you into all the secrets of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and La Fontaine de Vaucluse. A bientot!
The striking TGV station in Avignon
The trip from Paris to Avignon takes only 2 hours and 40mns at aboput 300km/h on average, which means travelling one kilometre in about 5 seconds! o much time to enjoy the scenery and barely enough to enjoy the goodies at the bar - if you can get there in time before they have sold everything!
Don't worry, though, there are plenty good restaurants in Avignon, and even if you have not taken the earliest train, you will be there in time for lunch and still have time to visit Avignon before driving to our next destination and our first hotel stay.
Avis and SNCF have a very good deal for renting a car, so if you are staying in France less than 3 weeks, this is your best option.
If you plan to stay 3 weeks or more, both Renault and Peugeot have very good deals to buy a brand new car for the duration of your stay and then sell it back to them at an agreed price. The deal includes full insurance and turn out to be cheaper than renting providing you stay long enough. You can pick up the car in Avignon (or at most TGV stations/Airports) and give it back in Paris CDG when you are ready to leave for another country or coming back home.
I found this video that shows you highlights of the trip and I have also added my own...
When in Avignon, you will have to go and visit Le Palais des Papes - the Popes Residence - and the famous "Pont d'Avignon" or more to the point, what is left of it. Electronic guided tours will ensure that even our youngest travellers are kept entertained. I will leave you with these beautiful sights and will meet you tomorrow at our (still secret...) next destination!
And talking about lunch, why not "L'Essentiel" as recommended by TripAdvisor? Bon appetit and keep a little space for dessert!
Photo by Gregoire LIERE
One of the first challenges is to find my original photos...
The last time I went to Provence was in 2009, and I was not doing digital photography just yet, and was still content to use my Nikon F60.
So, I had to spend some time shiffling through quite a large collection of prints and CDs...and that involves a big trip down "memory lane"...
Why taking this challenge now? Well, it was triggered by an article in our local newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald and it is thirty days to my birthday, so it will give you a chance to save for a gift! Just kidding...
Episode 1 - Our journey starts in Paris
The TGV station at CDG airport
Chances are that wherever you are reading my prose, a trip to France will certainly either arriving or departing from Paris, and frankly who would miss the pleasure of spending a few days there when coming all the way from across the World?
And if you are on your way to the South of France, then you will take the TGV from Gare de Lyon in the 12th arrondissement and debark 2h40mm later in Avignon.
So, it might be a good idea to stay near by and stay for instance at
Pavillon Saint Louis Bastille.
It is close to the station, the Opera Bastille, the Marais is not far away
and there are many buses and metro stations within walking distance.
After a night at the Opera, it might be a good idea to dine in style at the station, at Le Train Bleu restaurant.
There are dozens of more affordable options around - just open your eyes and be prepared for a good time!
Stay tuned for Episode 2 tomorrow Paris to Avignon!
You may remember my account of being presented with a beautiful bottle of Chateau Haut-Marbuzet 2006. Well, it was time to retaliate!
So I invited my generous client and friend to dinner together with my sister-in-law, also an architect in WA, her husband and another couple of friends who are living a long distance romance between Sydney and Khartoum and were home together at the time.
So, the occasion was deemed to warrant a trip to Ultimo Wine Centre, not knowing that it would be my last purchase under this reverred name...
As usual, Jon Osbeiston was of good counsel and pointed me towards a wine I didn't know: Le Petit Caillou
Well, in fact, it is a new label owned by no other than the famous Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, my favourite wine ever, and my favourite St Julien as a consequence.
Built in 1720, Ducru-Beaucaillou has been in the hands of only five families, the current one being the Borie family, in charge since 1862, and now in their third generation with Bruno Borie at the helm since 2003.
I first discovered it in a famous restaurant near Montparnasse called "Josephine - Chez Dumonet"" still in operation.
I would usually have lunch there on a Tuesday, as it was the day when the older Mr Dumonet would come and cut the "gigot d'agneau" at your table, and I would have a half-bottle of Ducru Beaucaillou with it.
Soon, they ran out of half-bottles and I started to invite friends and clients for that Tuesday lunch...
The story ends with a memorable dinner for one of my sister's birthdays and we had to have a Magnum of it!
Altough its past owner, Jon Osbeiston, will remain involved, there is no assurances from the giant Westfarmers/Coles Group that this shop will remain the go to place for fine imported wines from France, Italy and the US of A primarily and also some of the top Australian drops.
Since moving to Sydney, I have spend many hours just admiring the huge collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy wines, most of them beyond my means, but I have managed to spend an unreasonable amount of hard earned cash on these treasures for special occasions, like birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Christmas and New Year, and any occasion deemed to warrant such an expense any time in between! It is called in marketing terms rationalising the emotional purchase...and I have been quite famous for that!
Let's hope that the speadsheet managers at Vintage Cellars will not apply their standard equations to a unique business in Australia, but instead will try to expand the concept nationally, hopefully emulating the very successful French retailer NICOLAS which combines a range of entry level wines with a collection of upmarket and rare wines. I will be watching...
We thought we would update our look for our third birthday (see previous post)
Our website building tool has released a hip of new cool features and we thought we would take advantage of some of them.
We will investigate some new changes over the coming weeks in order to streamline our site and help you find the information you are looking for quicker.
These enhancements should also improve our search engine ranking as a side effect, although it seems we are not doing too badly without trying very hard...
Keep coming back for more and thank you again for your continuing interest.
If you have been searching for the perfect place to stay in France during the European Summer, you may want to explore "Coin Secret", a French website here people rent their own properties.
We stayed in one of them in Maussane in July 2009 and you may have read about it here on our "Travel"page, where you will find our own account and photos of the great time we had there. Up until recently, it was a bit convoluted to recommend the place, but now it is easy, just a few clicks away.
Obviously, this site is also full of other great places around France and even some in Italy.
The site is in French, English, Dutch and German, so, no excuses...
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
A link here for our non-metric readers: