We learn that popes resided in Avignon in the 14th century because of political unrest in Rome. The Palace of the Popes is one of the most important buildings in Europe. Our wine tour brings us to Château-du-Pape, the popes’ former summer residence.
The Château-du-Pape wine region is renowned for its centuries-old vineyards. The inherent warmth of the region coupled with a unique landscape – the soil is covered in big rocks, larger than gravel but smaller than boulders, known locally as galet or pudding stones – helps control moisture evaporation from the soil. Additionally, the rocks absorb heat during the day and radiate that stored warmth back to the grapes after the sun sets, further ripening them and instilling them with the soft richness the finished wine is renowned for.
And we thought we were visiting Avignon for its St.Bénezet bridge… As the song goes…
Sur le pont d’Avignon, On y danse, on y danse,
Sur le pont d’Avignon, On y danse tout en rond!
Did I mention that Daniele, our onboard musician is quite talented? Actually, so talented that every night, tired or not, we visit the lounge to hear him sing and play the piano:)
In Avignon, we are also entertained by ‘The Gitans Concert’. Excellent. Even our captain Frédéric is up and dancing..
We do not get to visit Arles on foot for obvious reasons. We can always look at Van Gogh’s art. During his fifteenth month stay in Arles, he created 300 paintings that are now considered to be some of his most inspired work!
We do relax, read and knit… Great way to spend an afternoon.