Saturday, 6 February 2016
So then there's the getting from the Gare du Nord to the Gare Lyon, which is a simple thing: just catch the D line of the RER from downstairs, but be sure to check it's actually going in the direction of Gare Lyon and not, say, the one whose destination is Creil. Ahem...
I got to the Gare Lyon with plenty of time anyway and a nice helpful man pointed out which train I needed for Avignon Center and then, whoosh, a simple three hours or so – in first class, I might add, since for some reason is was only £4 more than standard – and I was there. Or should that be here.
Avignon by night is pretty impressive: all that crenalated castle-wall stuff, with square towers and bastions every so often, uplit so you get the full effect.
My hosts kindly met me and brought me back to quite possibly the most ridiculously pretty town in France. It's mostly 16th century and all constructed from the same slightly yellowed stone, all with complementary-coloured doors and shutters. Verdigris is almost de rigueur, but there are also some very nice greys and blues and even browns.
Happily, I woke to market day, which takes over the central square, along with the side streets and the main circular road – which, my hosts have told me – is where the town walls used to be. Uzès is a duchy and the duke still comes down from Paris to stay in his castle/fortified mansion.
The dogs I'm looking after couldn't be sweeter. I know you're thinking I have to say that, but it's actually true. They have heaps of personality and the sort of eyes that make you go, "Ohhh! Sooooo cute!" If you didn't know I was American already, that one word will have given the game away....