We left Paris on the slow train to Dijon. We camped in Dijon, though there were cold showers at the camp site and still that cold wind from the north. We still can’t find any fuel for our trangia so we had salad and wine in our tent. Actually it was such a fantastic meal. Really fresh lettuce, a tin of tuna, good tomatoes, some artichoke, goats cheese, and a lemon to squeeze over.
After a walking tour around a very quiet Dijon on Sunday we took the tgv to Avignon on Monday. I knew nothing really of Avignon before arriving and was completely bowled over by the Palace of the Popes and the beauty of this walled city. We’re staying in a campsite across the Rhone from the palace and have great views of it. The pope moved to Avignon in the 14 Century because of political problems in Rome and built a big fortress which still stands. We were in the Pope’s bedroom yesterday, which still has the same frescos on the wall which would have been there when he actually slept there.
There’s also a room in the palace, formerly the library I think, where they sell wine and the same cost they buy from the vinyards. So, we bought a Chateauneuf-du-Pape (thanks for the tip Mike and Catherine) and had a picnic by the Rhone last night.
We stayed at a great campsite in Avignon – Pont d’Avignon. They’re really helpful and friendly and you wake up to a lovely view from your tent. If you fancy a camping trip in France I’d recommend it.
Today we went to Arles, which if possible is even more beautiful than Avignon. There’s Roman history, including a big amphitheatre, Van Gogh lived there for 15 months and painted a lot while living there and also there are amazing churches, such as the Church of St Trophime, where there are hundreds of relics of lots of saints – including thigh bones, skulls, kind of creepy.
Tomorrow we head to Marseille, on the slow train once again.
Dijon, Avignon and Arles. I’ve heard of them I guess but I’ve not thought much about them before… Lovely places the lot of them. I enjoyed wandering around Dijon on a Sunday arvo. Avignon made a big impression right from the start. And Arles is just lovely – I can see why Van Gogh decided to live there for a while.
But enough of that… I’ve just eaten a great meal.
Before I get on to what it was I just want to say, for anyone that’s googling something along the lines of “trouble finding trangia fuel france europe” they should go straight away to this page on the trangia website and download the document containing the different names of fuels that can be used in different countries. With any luck you’ll do that and save yourself a few frustrating hours or so and instead go straight into a supermarket and buy a bottle of alcool a bruleur.
Our dinner was a humble stew. But it was – even if I do say so myself – awesome nonetheless. I can’t really take the credit for it even though I cooked it. So credit where credit is due: Thanks to the butcher in Arles who sold us two sausages that imparted a finely balanced flavour all the way through our stew. Thanks to the girl in the marche in Arles that not only put up with my terribly pronounced three words of French but also sold us very flavoursome tomatoes, carrots and leeks – and she even chose us a cheese for the starter. Thanks to the baker for providing a fine baguette. Thanks to the villages of Cotes du Rhone for making excellent wine. And while I’m at it, thanks to Mike for letting Lucy know that you can’t go wrong with a Cotes du Rhone and to Lucy for passing that little gem of knowledge on.