Images of Avignon

Avignon's Palace of the Popes, the 14th-century seat of the Roman papacy

Wrapped in ancient walls, I was surprised to find that the old city of Avignon, France is a surprisingly busy metropolis in Provence, a region best known for its vineyards and sun-drenched fields of lavender.

But here in the rural heart of the South of France, Avignon provided me with a cultured escape, and a romantic, delicious trip back in time. 

A trip by train or car, that is — no time machine required. 

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Hotel d’Europe: A Sure Thing

Ever been semi-lost and increasingly late on unfamiliar roads in a foreign country in the dead of night, then taken a random turn into the walls of an ancient city, found yourself warmly welcomed at the vine-draped former residence of a marquis (while, by this time, you’d be more than content with a ratty roadside motel), and were simply agog at how sumptuous the place is before you’d even seen your room?

No?

Well, then — welcome to the Hotel d’Europe.

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Over the Mountains and Through Moutarde, to Avignon We Go

Behold, the moutarde (well, mustard) of northern France

I’ve recently returned from just about the longest trip I’ve ever taken, encompassing five weeks and three countries  in Europe! An unhealthy dose of lingering illness aside, I’m finally ready to start telling the tale(s).

Let’s start with an epic, not-at-all-advised, mildly exhausting and yet ultimately wonderful 14-hour drive from Paris to Avignon, shall we?

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Off to France, Italy and Croatia

Le Petit Hôpital near Avignon, France, one of my (delightful) European destinations

 

Bon voyage — to me!

I’m off to Europe for a month, and to say I’m excited would be a hilarious understatement.

This trip will take me to France for two weeks, Italy for eight days and Croatia for nine days.

This is the longest trip I’ve taken since about 1985 — and here’s how it’ll all play out:

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