Day 9 - The Portions of a Woman
A lot of excitement was buzzing in the van today as we drove out the gate this morning on our way towards La Motte Du Rhone. The ladies were all very excited about participating in our perfume creation class where we would learn all about our noses’ ability to instinctively pick fragrances’ (essences) based on who we are that reflect our personalities.
I must say there were those that were sceptical on the way there however I am sure they were firm believers after the class. Based on the fragrances we choose each and every one of us was given a summary of who we are and what our essences say about our personalities.
It truly is an amazing class to participate in as even though we have only been together for eight days everyone was in agreement that Jean’s reflection of our personalities were spot on, most of all by the person they were directed at, a truly unique experience and so very interesting. Apparently I am an iron hand covered in a velvet glove…. a truly lovely way of saying I’m a determined little miss but can do it all so very tactfully.
We all walked away raving about how much fun we had and not to mention being the proud owner of a bottle of our very own French perfume designed especially for each of us complete with an inscription of our name on the bottle.
The chatter certainly made the trip to Avignon pass in a hurry and it was no time before we entered the ancient walls of the old town. Avignon is a colourful, culturally rich, artistic and architectural delight hooped by 4.3 km of superbly preserved stone ramparts considered to be the gateway to Provence.
I have been told stories by people in the know who have said travellers not knowing Avignon is ‘inside’ the old town walls have driven miles to see the town only to turn around before getting there thinking that Avignon is the dirty outside city full of gypsies and beggars trying to wash your windows and becoming quite cranky if you don’t pay them money when they go ahead even when you say no.
Let me tell you, you are missing out on a truly magnificent experience if you don’t find your way through the archways allowing entry to the old town and up to the Palais du Papes (Palace of the Popes). This truly amazing architectural work of brilliance was the seat of papal power for some 70 odd years. The enormous scale, cavernous stone halls and vast courtyards all testify to the papacy’s wealth, whilst three metre thick walls attest to their insecurity. If you happen to park in the Palais carpark (and I suggest you do) walking out of the carpark in to the bright sunlight and seeing the Palais looming over you is an experience you will never forget. It is so unexpected and so awe inspiring it takes your breath away and you continue to stare open mouthed for some time before realising people are staring at you.
The train ride around the old town is something I recommend to most visitors as it does give an insight in to the historical significance of many of the buildings including the famous and fabled bridge named after Point Saint-Benezet the local shepherd boy who was told by an angel to construct a bridge here and is rather famous not only in Avignon but around the world. Built in the 12th century the bridge was an important strategic crossing between Lyon and the Mediterranean Sea however frequently collapsed and had to be reconstructed multiple times.
Today only a few of the bridges 22 arches remain but nonetheless it still makes for a spectacular sight. After all of the sightseeing and history lessons we were all ready for lunch and headed to our favourite spot ‘The Opera Café’ at Place de l’Horloge the bustling square in the centre of the town. This Café has to be seen to be believed with all of its ornate fixtures, superb artwork, chandeliers and not to mention the toilets which also deserved a photograph. If you are passing by and don’t have time for lunch, do make sure you have a coffee just to see this exquisite example of the inside of an opera house.
A spot of retail therapy prior to heading home was a great finish to yet another simply divine day and another scrumptious meal served by Joelle. She did mention she tried a few new recipes tonight due to the dietary requirements of our guests but I do so wonder what she put in the meals given the conversation that took place around the dinner table tonight….. A vibrant bunch we did have with much to say, even A.A.Milne got a look in and it was no Winnie the Pooh conversation I can assure you!! Great times, great food, great company…. ooh la lah, living the dream. Bonne Nuit.