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Splendour Oct. 23 share excursion to Avignon etc.



Hi everyone,
My wife and I are still searching for another couple or so to join us for a private tour of provence including Avignon, Pont du Gard, and Villeneuve-les-Avignon for the Marseille port on Sunday Oct 24 off the Splendour of the Seas. We cannot afford to do it on our own, and so are hoping there is another couple who likes the idea so that we can book before it is too late. The cost will depend on the number of people who join, but if there is one other couple it will be 100E per person for the day. From my research this seems quite reasonable for a private day tour. For those of you who may be interested I have included info below, with websites. If interested or have questions please do not hesitate to contact me at dkhilton@hotmail.com

1. AVIGNON: (Some of the places of interest) (www.ot-avignon.fr)

Lonely Planet guide says: "Avignon continues its traditional role as a patron of the arts...The medieval city's other attractions include a palace fit for a pope or two, fine cote du rhone wines, a nursery rhyme bridge, a historic walled city- a pocket of which is under Unesco World Heritage protection- and a clutch of interesting museums, including some across the River Rhone in the town of Villeneuve-les-Avignon."

* Sunday market (Place des Carmes, a pretty square near a 14th century church and cloisters (once a convent.)

* 14th century Palais des Papes (www.palais-des-papes.com): Europes largest Gothic palace was built as a fortified palace for the pontifical court. Has a Great Chapel, where art exhibitions are held and a Bouteillerie for wine tasting if you are interested (my wife and I aren't big wine drinkers).

* Pont St. Benezet (from the nursury rhyme "sur le pont d'Avignon") built between 1177 and 1185

* Quartier des Teinturiers (dyer's quarter) Stone-paved road follows the course of the old dyers district with some of the water wheels still turning. Beneath the plane trees lining the narrow street is the 16th century Chapelle des Penitents Gris, and the Couvent des Cordeliers, Avignon's largest convent when it was founded in 1226, with only the bell tower remaining today. Chapell st-Clare is the church where the poet Petrarch first cast eyes on Laura, his muse.

* Jardins des Doms, a delightful bluff-top gardens affording wonderful views of the Rhone, Pont St-Benezet, Villeneuve, and the Alpilles. The limestone rock was inhabited by prehistoric folk.

2) VILLENEUVE-LES-AVIGNON (www.villeneuvelesavignon.fr)

Lonely Planet says it is: "...across the Rhone from Avignon, and founded in the late 13th century. It became known as the City of Cardinals because many primates affiliated with the papal court built large residences in the town."

* Fort St-Andre: This fortress built in the 14th century on Mont Andaon by Phillipe le Bel has superb view over Avignon and the Rhone valley. The Saint Andre Abbey, inside the walls of the Fort Saint André, was built at the beginning of the 11th century near the tomb of Saint Casarie. Italian style gardens surround 17th century buildings .

PONT DU GARD (www.cdt-gard.fr)

* The Romans chose wisely when deciding that the source of the Eure at Uzès would supply Nîmes with water. In capturing these pure well-springs, were they not also capturing something of the calm contentedness that runs over this land? All that remained to be done was build 50 km of aqueduct and a Bridge. Built in 18bc, it is one of the best preserved Roman aqueducts in the world and spans the river Gard, with three tiers of stone arches rising 135 feet above its elegant reflection in the water. The highest bridge the Romans ever built is now only open to pedestrian traffic.