Visit Avignon by Mouse
is on the border of Provence
, only 22 miles from Arles
and near the mouth of the Rhone river. It is about 400
miles south south east of Paris and 50 miles north north west of Marseilles. Like Arles it is an ancient city but really did not become
very important until the Roman Catholic Papacy established itself in the city in the early 1300's when it left Rome for political
reasons. Before the Papacy went back to Rome, seven Popes
had ruled from there. One of the key landmarks in the city is the Palace
of the Popes, a huge structure dominating a wide square.
Another of the city's landmarks is the bridge, or rather a part of a bridge, that reaches out from the bank of the river and ends
abruptly about a third of the way across the Rhone. This is the famous "pont d'Avignon" made famous in the song "Sur le pont d'Avignon"
although we were told that the title of the song really is "sou le pont..." because the dancing referred to in the song took place
under, not on the bridge. The reason the bridge does not span the whole river is that it was destroyed in a storm and never rebuilt.
We visited Avignon twice. The second time we needed to shop for food. Many cities in France have commercial zones just outside the
city very like the shopping malls in the United States. These commercial zones have many large retail stores. There are two major
supermarket chains--hypermarche in French--that we always look for--Auchan
. These are like super WalMarts in that they
sell all manor of goods besides food--hardware, furniture, clothes, etc. But they are a lot better than any WalMart we have ever shopped
in. The quality and variety of the foodstuffs is superb. You can judge for yourself after seeing some of the photos Ron took inside
some of them. The Auchan in Avignon was huge. Look at the number of check-out counters--we think the manager told us that there were
61 of them. And the Auchen in Avignon had a bonus. Just outside the entrance to the Auchan, a woodworker had set up a display of his
craftmanship that was astonishing. Take a look.
If you travel in Europe you could do worse than visiting either an Auchen
or a Carrefoure just to look around and compare with the best supermarket you know. After all, travel is broadening, isn't it.
For example, in the Auchan photos, notice that the cashier in the center picture is sitting, not standing as they do in the
U.S. We have never been in a supermarket in Europe where the cashiers were standing.