Day 5: Avignon

The key to our hotel room in Arles!

The key to our hotel room in Arles!

We woke up early to check out of our hotel in Arles and get to Avignon with plenty  time to eat breakfast and explore the Palais de Papes as soon as it opened. We only had until my train left at 1:00 PM, so we picked the Palais as our main focus for the few morning hours we would have in Avignon.

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The Palais was much bigger in person than I thought it would be.

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The building itself is basically a giant, empty stone palace. To make it more of a tourist attraction, they have filled it with screens showing little videos explaining the history of each room and its purpose. All of the rooms with intact frescoes were not allowed to be photographed, so most of the photos I have are of empty stone rooms. Still, it was awesome how much of it was original. Some of the wood beams in the ceilings were still there; that’s wood from the 14th century!

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They also have some artifacts relating to the Palais and events that happened inside of it. I thought this was pretty cool.


“Skull of a man killed by a crossbow bolt.”

There was also a room that only the popes could access where they kept their money under secret stones in the floor. They are now covered in glass, but there’s an empty space in the side and people have thrown in lots of their own money:


More of the Palais:

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The kitchen:


It was really difficult to accurately depict what this is, but in the kitchen they have this giant tower that they would build fires under. It was huge!


The view out one of the windows:


There were also some rooms housing sculptures and religious art from the time:

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The next rooms were all being used to house a contemporary art exhibition titles “Les Papesses” featuring work from female artists Camille Claudel, Louise Bourgeois, Kiki Smith, Jana Sterbak, and Berlinde de Bruyckere. The sculptural pieces were beautifully interwoven within the large, stone palace and spread throughout the rest of our tour until the end. There was also a very excellent documentary featuring Louise Bourgeois that we sat and watched for quite a while.

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Berlinde de Bruyckere

Camile Claudel

Camile Claudel

One of the largest spaces for the exhibition.

One of the largest spaces for the exhibition.


Berlinde de Bruyckere

Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois


Kiki Smith




After several hours at the Palais, it was time for me to head back to Paris. I had an amazing few days in Provence and I am so glad I had this opportunity! My favorite city by far was Arles. I would love to go back there if I have the chance. I definitely recommend it, though I would like to go back to all the places that I visited!

Day 4: Arles, Part I

Our hotel lobby in the morning.

Our hotel lobby in the morning.IMG_20130822_223915We started the day early with breakfast at the hotel, then headed across the river into town.

Crossing the bridge again.

Crossing the bridge again.Arles2_3smallGraffiti on the bridgeGraffiti on the bridge

We followed our maps and our noses through the streets.

The old buildings are so amazing. It’s crazy to me that these are part of people’s every day lives, and they’re older than most structures in the US!

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There are also a ton of incredible doors.

There are also a ton of incredible doors.


We then arrived at the Place de la Republique, which joins the Obelisque d’Arles, Arles town hall, Chapelle Sainte-Anne, and St. Trophime.

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We then entered St. Trophime, which was absolutely amazing. I think I have a thing for cathedrals, seeing as one of my favorite things I saw in Germany was the Kölner Dom.


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After St. Trophime, we went across the Place to Chapelle Saint-Anne, inside of which was part of the current-running photography festival. This yearly festival turns the entire city into a gallery. Each space features a different photographer. Since we were only there for one day, we decided to just go into this exhibition. It was an excellent show featuring Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain. We also bought some merchandise for the festival; I got two posters.


The exhibition space.

One of the posters I got.

One of the posters I got.

We then headed outside across the Place again, this time to the St. Trophime Cloister. You have to buy a ticket to see it, but it’s worth it because the proceeds go towards the intense restoration they are currently doing!

This guy was out on the Place playing stereotypical French songs on the accordion for quite a while!

This guy was out on the Place playing stereotypical French songs on the accordion for quite a while!

Passed while entering the cloister.

Passed while entering the cloister.The cloisterThe cloisterArles2_37smallA beautiful stained glass window in the cloister.A beautiful stained glass window in the cloister.Arles2_39smallArles2_41small

Now I realize this is an incredibly long, image-heavy post, but I’m only half way through our day! So, I’m going to split it into two posts. Yeah, it was a really long day. I also didn’t put all of my photos up on here, so I think I’ll put them on Facebook, too! Arles, Part II will be coming soon.